Ohio State: One on One with Buckeye Great Joe Staysniak

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Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; General view of an Ohio State Buckeyes helmet prior to the 2015 Sugar Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

What Was It Like Playing With Jim Harbaugh? What Was It Like Having Him In The Huddle?

“It’s funny because he was a hated guy. He was the guy that declared he was going to beat Ohio State and did it in the Shoe. Mike Tomczak actually brought him to campus just a few months after the game and was yucking it up with him. We weren’t sure how to react because we were still pissed. It was way too soon.  But when Harbaugh got to Indianapolis to play quarterback for the Colts, we got on Jim pretty good about things which helped heal some of the wounds.

I brought up some things that happened in college and what not. It’s funny when you find out that rival from the high school or college who you thought was a jerk is really a decent guy.  Jim was easy to like and you loved having him on your team.

Jim was a competitor, still is a competitor. As a player, he was one of the most refreshing guys. In this day and age of the million dollar quarterbacks, Jim couldn’t care less about the money. Harbaugh played football for fame and pride.  The same feelings you got from playing in an Ohio State/Michigan game and winning it.

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Jim loved to do interviews and loved to have people come and talk to him. Jim loved to be the center of attention like that. He had great stories and he was great at it and that’s what fueled him. That was refreshing. All these other guys were selfish and all about the almighty dollar. Jim was all about being popular around people and being loved. He was good at it.

On the field, Harbaugh would come up to the line of scrimmage and the way we were coached, everybody knew the blitz reads and when we needed to change the play. So when we would get up to the line of scrimmage and see a blitz coming, we would tell Jim before he even had a chance to look over the defense.  He would get so pissed he would yell at us right before the play to “Shut up, I see it. I know what I’m doing”. Kirk Lowdermilk was our center and also a Buckeye who told him we were just making sure because he went to Michigan. But it was great that way. He got the name “Captain Comeback” from games he wouldn’t start, but would come in and lead us to victory.

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Jim was great at being able to scramble, find a lane, and deliver the ball, and pretty much strikes wherever he threw it. He was someone that would make something out of nothing. It was really fun to be around a guy like that. He would take some shots, but he would always pop right back up and he was always a positive guy. He was the first one to jump up in your arms and celebrate. He was a real team player. Jim was very kind, very thoughtful, very appreciative of the guys around him. I couldn’t be happier for him when he got in the Colts Ring of Honor after only four years in Indianapolis.

He still coaches the same way (that he played). Still a rah rah, yell, scream kind guy on the sideline. But still a guy that at practice that if he doesn’t like the way you’re doing something, he’ll take the ball and show you the right way. Because he does that kind of stuff, the guys love it. I go back to what he did in San Francisco. Mike Singletary couldn’t get that team to win. Jim Harbaugh made Vernon Davis a perennial Pro Bowl player just by the way he handled him. There’s something special about Jim that other players appreciate. I’m not surprised he’s had success at Michigan. It’s going to be an exciting game on Saturday.”

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