I was just about to lump Luke Fickell into a category with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, until his 4pm press conference today took place. I realize that The university probably wanted to put a little distance between Tressel’s resignation and the introduction of the new (interim) head coach, but two weeks in between these events seemed like an eternity. There are hundreds of questions on the minds of Buckeye Nation at this time, so what did we learn from Fickell’s press conference today…
Why is he the right guy for the job?
He knows what it means to be a Buckeye, understands the traditions, the city, the university, and the players. He has been around Columbus and OSU for nearly his entire life. In fact, former OSU football legend, John Hicks, coached Fickell in youth football and took him to his first OSU game when he was 10 years old. (Hopefully the NCAA doesn’t look into this and find it to be a future player receiving improper benefits) He made it crystal clear that he was ready for the challenge and that he would accept this role no matter how it came to him, be it in controversy or not.
In regards to the current NCAA investigations, Coach Fickell will continue to search for the best practices when it comes to keeping the players educated on the system in place. Having respect for each other and the school will play a major part in keeping his current team out of trouble and out of the media spotlight. As you would guess, Coach shied away from going into depth on these issues, instead focusing on the players. He said that communicating to them that he was here for them was his main concern. As a lifelong Buckeye, he let on that the media scrutiny is painful at times, but that everyone must focus on what they can control.
3 qualities that Fickell and the coaching staff hope to instill in the players:
- Respect – Something lacking from many college-aged students and student-athletes, and something that we hope to show on and off the field as well as command from others.
- Toughness – If attitude reflects leadership (as Julius Campbell suggested to Gerry Bertier), then the players simply need to look at their coach. Fickell started in an OSU record 50 games and was a state wrestling champion in high school.
- Men of Action – I don’t want to put words into the coach’s mouth, but this phrase makes me think that he wants the players to let their play do the talking and be leaders.
Fickell plans to lay out any additions or changes to the current lineup within the next couple of weeks. He stressed that Jim Bollman would remain the play caller on offense. Therefore, I can only hope that Tressel was the one making all of the calls and holding Bollman back so that we can break out of the rut and see some exciting plays this year. The only indication that he gave at his press conference about his style of offense was that the team would “play to its strengths.” We do know that there is an open coaching position, and Fickell said that it would be filled on the defensive side of the ball.
- Lead the nation in:
That Team Up North:
When asked if the game against M*chigan was just another Big Ten game on the schedule, Fickell gave the reporter a slight smirk, hesitated, and then said “Our guys will know about November 26th, I promise you that.” = Coach speak for Muck Fichigan.
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