**Fickellball… The last year has been quite the whirlwind for Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. He was the Buckeyes’ interim head coach in 2011 and kept his cool throughout the tumultuous season, right up until the press conference following OSU’s 40-34 loss to UM. Fickell was emotional when asked about his future and pounded the table in the interview room at Michigan Stadium.
Why is this guy a priority?
Following the Buckeyes’ 26-21 victory over the Wolverines on Saturday, Fickell was asked – for the first time to our knowledge – what he recalls from that short press conference at the Big House.
“Not too much,” he said, laughing. “After we had senior tackle last Thursday, I came home for Thanksgiving Day and my wife and I were talking and I said, ‘You know what, I don’t think I even remember last year’s senior tackle.' Whether it was just because of everything that went on, whether it was just a blur, I don’t know. It’s hard to remember.
“But I do remember the feeling we had after losing to them last year and there’s no feeling like that.”
Thanks to Fickell’s defense pitching a second-half shutout against UM, he didn’t have to worry about having that feeling again this year. A reporter asked Fickell what adjustments he made at halftime and the usually-buttoned-down Fickell decided to joke around.
“We went in at halftime, we took our shoulder pads off and we started working on form tackling,” he said. “So, it was a great coaching change; a great coaching effort.”
Later, we wondered aloud what adjustments the Buckeyes actually made at the break and Fickell gave a serious response. Were they more aggressive?
“Yeah, we were a little more aggressive,” Fickell said. “But you know what, we didn’t panic. And we didn’t give up big plays in the second half and that’s the key. Really, if you think about the first half, we give up a long pass for a touchdown and we give up a long run for a touchdown. Other than that, I know after the turnover they scored on us, but really we had a third down when we thought we were off the field. I’m not making excuses, but we had a third down where we got roughing-the-passer and I never complain and Nathan (Williams) probably has more roughing-the-passer than anyone in the country, but for the first time, I don’t think that was. (The call was actually on Noah Spence.)
“So, we couldn’t panic, we couldn’t change up exactly everything we’re doing just because of the fact that they had two plays. So, we just went back to basics and just made sure guys knew exactly what they were supposed to do.”
After all the hand-wringing about the defense, the Buckeyes ended their season ranked No. 34 in the country in total defense (359.5 yards-allowed per game) and No. 33 in scoring defense (22.8 points-allowed per game).
**One-On-One With Urb … Following Urban Meyer’s press conference Monday, our Dave Biddle was able to pull the Ohio State head coach aside and have a quick chat about recruiting. The only bright spot in terms of the Buckeyes’ postseason ban is it allows Meyer and his staff to focus even more on recruiting.
*Dave. Urb. What went down?
*Emotional locker room?
*Offensive recruiting outlook?