On Monday, Luke Fickell made his first appearance in front of the media and opened himself up to a barrage of questions related to the recent issues for the program. He handled himself well I must say and spoke with great poise and purpose. His key point from the speech was that the 2011 buckeyes will focus on respect, toughness and being men of action. He only spoke for a few minutes and then opened himself up to the media’s questions. Sure enough, first question asked to him was about his knowledge of any violations of NCAA rules by past or current players. He said he didn’t know of any information until it became public knowledge, but it kind of reminded me of the episode of Seinfeld when Jerry says “Oh, it’s a must lie situation.” Think about it. Even if he knew that half of the team was receiving benefits, it’s human instinct to claim that you didn’t know. If he cares about Ohio State as much as he says he does, then he would never say anything anyways. The program has already endured enough scrutiny as it is. Here’s the video below if you haven’t seen it yet.
After viewing the press conference though, my gut is telling me that this whole situation seems very fluid. I want to root for Fickell this year, I really do. He is a natural candidate for the position and clearly gets how important buckeye football is to the state of Ohio. He’s likable, reasonably good-looking, and speaks well. I just worry that he will never get a fair chance to keep the position long-term. If Ohio State loses a few games this year which is certainly reasonable to expect, I just don’t see him coming back next year. Ohio State has cemented itself in the past decade as a power to be reckoned with in college football on the field and in recruiting as well. The pressure may be too great for the program not to open up a full search for a new head coach after the season in the hopes of landing a big name such as Urban Meyer or Bob Stoops. Is Luke Fickell going to be able to go into Florida and land kids like Mike Brewster and Santonio Holmes? I don’t know. Jim Tressel was an excellent recruiter and consistently stacked the roster with talent all across the board. I would hate to see the whole coaching staff blown up, but it might be necessary if Ohio State has a down year this year.