Darrell Hazell spent 7 seasons as an assistant at Ohio State (2004-2010). He helped the Buckeyes capture Big Ten championships and go to BCS bowl games. He worked with receivers Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn, Jr., and Anthony Gonzalez.
And Saturday, he’d be really, really happy if OSU loses.
Hazell is now Purdue’s head coach, and even though his team is just 1-6 this season, he takes heart in the fact that the Buckeyes have lost in 3 of their last 4 trips to West Lafayette.
“I was part of two of those games, ’04 and ’09, I was part of two of those losses,” Hazell notes. “It was one of those things where we turned the ball over early in the game, and then the Purdue teams got hot that day; and all of a sudden you’re in a battle and you couldn’t get out of that down slide offensively or defensively. And they made enough plays to beat us back then.”
He also hopes his familiarity with the Buckeye roster helps, pointing out that he recruited many of those players. “Now they have gotten a lot better,” he adds, “just watching them on film, from the time that I left.”
One of Hazell’s assistants is even more closely associated with the Scarlet and Gray. Linebackers coach Marcus Freeman played for the Buckeyes, graduated from OSU in 2007, and started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the school in 2010.
“I love Ohio State and I love the school, I love the people, I love the athletic department and I love everything about Ohio State,” Freeman says, “But on Saturday, it’s about doing what it takes to win.”
He admits that figuring out a way to do so, however, has been a “headache.”
“The more you watch [the Buckeye offense], the more you get aggravated at it and frustrated,” he says.