November 15, 2007

Earle knows this rivalry

Few people understand the meaning of the Ohio State/Michigan rivalry the way that former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce does. The College Football Hall of Fame inductee played football under Woody Hayes, was an assistant coach under Hayes and ultimately succeeded him as head coach of the Ohio State University.

"This is The Game and you all know that," Bruce said. "That's what it's all about and that's what makes it nice because everybody knows now that is the game and the one that means everything."

Bruce has seen more than a handful of Michigan games in his tenure and each year he spends time with the current team to discuss what they are gearing up for and what makes the rivalry what it is. The former head coach met with the team on Monday of this week and it is one of the favorite events of the week for the team.

"Coach Bruce is a great personality, we're always excited when he comes around and tells us a couple of stories and a couple of jokes about Michigan," tackle Kirk Barton said. "He's a special guy. I'm going to be kind of sad it's going to be my last Earle Bruce talk because he's really done a great job the last five years giving us some good talks about what it means to play in this game and how important it is and the importance of winning the game, to be honest."

"It means if you walk the alleys or you walk the main streets of Columbus, Ohio," Bruce said. "It means a good bit to the players. It means bragging rights and everything else. In Columbus (Ohio) if you win all of them and lose to Michigan then you are nothing. And now you introduced a new one in Columbus (Ohio), if you beat Michigan and go to the national title game and you lose you are nothing again (laugh)."

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