ONE of the former Kardiac Kids immortalized in the song, "12 Days of Cleveland Browns Christmas," will be on the field at the 'Shoe Saturday but the Ohio State Buckeyes hope the former Brown, now an assistant coach for the San Diego Aztecs, will be ready to sing the blues at game's end.
Brian Sipe, now in his fifth season as the Aztecs' assistant quarterbacks coach, earned league Most Valuable Player honors and was named first team all-pro, leading the Browns to an 11-5 record in 1980.
The song lists the 12 things "that Art Modell gave to me," and one of them is "Brian Sipe a-passing."
In the NFL, Sipe was among the top three quarterbacks in passing yards three times and was among the top six in touchdown strikes on five occasions. He was named to the Cleveland Browns' Hall of Fame in 2002.
Sipe, a graduate of San Diego State, is listed in the Aztecs media guide as "one of the greatest players in program history."
Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer when this week's press conference focused on Sipe, the Kardiac Kids and quarterbacks replied that he thinks "the most important thing for a quarterback is the competitive spirit ... The best ones I've ever been around are the ones that refuse to lose in checkers or Ping-Pong ... or anything.
"I say this quite often, unlike, really, unlike most any position in all of sports, the quarterback has more of a pulse; they are who your team is, usually and that's why I like the energetic quarterbacks and (am) really working on with Braxton (Miller) - he came out pretty energetic and we had a lot of enthusiasm going. We just need to sustain that."
San Diego is a long way from Cleveland, the home of the Kardiac Kids, but Sipe undoubtedly is doing his best to impart their enthusiasm and know-how to the Aztecs.
SDSU head football coach Rocky Long said it's obvious that the Aztecs will be playing a great football team Saturday. Asked about slowing down OSU running back Jordan Hall, who was named by Meyer Monday as "Offensive Player of the Week," and quarterback Braxton Miller, Long said, "I've watched all of their film from last year and their one game this year, and there's a whole bunch of good players on that team. There's so many that the only one everyone knows the name of is their quarterback (Miller). They put two freshmen in there that were as fast or faster than anybody I've seen on a football team. They have too many good players for us to do anything but try to put our players in the best position against their offense. It has nothing to do with who the players are because every one of them is good."
This marks the fourth time that the Buckeyes have faced the Aztecs, and OSU won all three games in Columbus - in 2001, 2003 and 2005. The Buckeyes are 7-1 all-time in games with current members of the Mountain West Conference.
San Diego lost last week to Eastern Illinois, and the score was 40-19. The Aztecs were 13-7 after the first quarter of that game, but were outscored 33-6 for the remainder of the match-up.
SDSU, however, was 9-4 last season and won a share of the Mountain West championship, tying with Boise State and Fresno State with a 7-1 record in conference play. The team lost 23-6 to BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl.
OSU assistant head coach for offense and running backs coach Stan Drayton, noted the Aztecs "lost a tough one this past week against Eastern Illinois, but I'm going to tell you, they bring some speed to the table defensively. I think they have a disruptive nose. They like to play similar to what Buffalo plays in their defensive scheme as far as some odd fronts, some three do you know fronts. They are a 3-3 mentality football team, and they just do some things from a blitz standpoint that can cause some problems if we are not up on our game.
"But the one thing I can see on film is that they are well-coached, they get off blocks on defense, they run around and they are always around the football. So we have got to be very, very tight with our game plan so that our players can play extremely fast against all the different looks that San Diego State will present."
Meyer had some complimentary things to say about coach Long, who replaced Brady Hoke when he went on to become the Michigan coach. Noting he had coached against Long previously, Meyer said he's an "excellent football coach, tough, guys play real hard. And they won, I believe, nine games last year which is not surprising for his coached teams."
While coaching at Utah, Meyer lost two games, one of which was against the New Mexico team whose head coach was Long.
Long, who praised Meyer as "one of the top five coaches in the country," was asked about the Utah-New Mexico game, and he replied, "That's a fallacy we (at New Mexico) out-schemed Meyer before. I have yet to see a coach win a football game. I've seen players win football games. It doesn't matter what the scheme is, players have to execute the scheme. It's all about players. I didn't have anything to do with beating Urban Meyer that day. It was the players."
OSU will attempt Saturday to continue the nation's longest winning streak now at 13 games.
Saturday's game, which will be aired by ABC/ESPN2, is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Pokas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.