Nick O’Leary isn’t your ordinary tight end.
He’s a freshman that is making an impact on the offense at Florida State, a school that hasn’t taken much stock in tight ends that can catch the ball in the past. But O’Leary was a sought-after recruit that has already made a couple of big catches this season.
Apparently those catches haven’t been enough to impress O’Leary’s grandfather, Jack Nicklaus.
You see, Nicklaus is like every other grandparent out there — he wants to see his grandson do the best he can on the football field and make a difference for his team. Of course, what sets him apart is that Nicklaus is a beloved man and one of the greatest golfers ever. So wherever he goes, people listen.
And that’s why Nicklaus should be choosing his words more carefully.
He has been on radio stations and even the FSU Football broadcast on ESPNU in the last week. Every time he is asked about his grandson, Nicklaus takes a rather bitter edge, like he did on television during the Seminoles’ game against NC State last Saturday when he said:
“Throw the ball more to Nick. I mean, they’ve thrown it to him twice in the last four games. It’s just … I don’t know.”
And this is true — O’Leary has caught two passes in the last four games after catching a combined five passes in the two games before that, against Clemson and Oklahoma (he has a total of nine catches for 77 yards and a touchdown; not shockingly low numbers for an FSU tight end). But while he may be a great tight end one day, O’Leary is not Tony Gonzalez. He’s a freshman who isn’t good enough to have plays designed for him.
I know that may come as a shock to his grandfather, but it’s the truth.
Nicklaus still wasn’t done, when he said later in the interview:
“He has a sense of getting open and he does a really good job of it. It’s just they play basically a four wide receiver offense and the tight end doesn’t get a lot of action.”
It sounds like you just figured it out, Jack.
I know Jack wants the best for his grandson, and that’s perfectly normal. But to go on tv and radio and call out his grandson’s coach and demand that his favorite player get more catches is a little off-putting. It’s probably not being taken well in the locker room, either.
Hopefully Nicklaus will back off and let Jimbo Fisher do his job, and he can go back to being a family member who goes to Doak on Saturdays to watch his grandson play, not to take to the microphone and let the world know his relative is being wronged.
Two years ago, FSU got rid of its bitter old man when they forced him out of the head coaching job. Let’s not start this game over with a new bitter old man, Jack.