31 May 2011
I came out strongly yesterday in favor of Luke Fickell being the next Buckeye coach. I think Fickell will get the job. We all remember how the offense got better when Hazel started getting more input. We are giving Heacock alot of credit for the defense, and he probably deserves it, but we are forgetting that Fickell was given more say in the defense after we went out on the coast and got waxed by USC. The defense became more aggressive from that point forward. I see a deep football team. I see the three toughest games as Nebraska, Michigan State and Wisconsin. Two of those are at home. What is an Ohio State coach supposed to do? An Ohio State coach is supposed to win those kinds of games. If he does that, why wait to name him head coach? As I said yesterday the naming of a new coach is so much about recruiting. The sooner we get a coach in place the better for recruiting. Fickell as a recruiter is second to none. I have faith that he will get it done. I have far less confidence that Urban Meyer will be able to take the reins.
I want to be clear. I am not anti-Urban Meyer. In fact, if we are going to wait until seasons end to name a coach I would prefer a coach who has won two national championships already. The amount of venom I have heard from Buckeye fans about Meyer leaves me scratching my head. I have yet to see a basis for it. My problem with Meyer is with the two straight years of resigning. That makes me ask why? I am not seeing enough questioning of why he resigned two years in a row. The I want Urban club could help me out greatly by at least trying to offer an explanation. Without more answers I can only jump to two possible conclusions. Either he has health problems or he burned out. Both take him off the board as far as I'm concerned. If he has health problems he could be forced to leave the job before he gets started real good. I would argue he never takes the job in the first place. If burn out is the problem we have to be concerned about that happening again. He has only been in a stressful job for about 5 years. He has only been a head coach for about ten years. He is going to burn out that quickly? I fear we will be right back here, looking for a head coach again, in about 5 years, with 10 looking like a maximum.
One huge advantage with Meyer. He has such cache that if we wait until after the season to make a hire, Meyer can draw players to Ohio State who were leaning elsewhere, maybe even some committed elsewhere. So many of the top players are in no hurry to make a decision. If we get a coach in place soon enough we can still mine the rich vein of talent that the state of Ohio has produced for the class of 2012.
I don't want to wait. I think getting settled is so much more important. Maybe that is because I have more faith that Fickell is going to impress than some fans do. I just don't see how you take an Ohio born kid who played at Ohio State and coached at Ohio State who happens to be a monster recruiter out of the job should he go 10-2, 11-1 or even 12-0, which I think is highly likely. The talent is there for a quality coach to bring in that kind of record. The argument is he is not proven. If he can get this team to 10-2, 11-1 or 12-0 his first year as head coach you have to think he is only going to get better.
What needs to happen now is Fickell needs to continue to sell recruits on the Ohio State University. That is what should happen anyway. Kids commit to coaches. They should be committing to schools. Coaches get fired. Coaches take other jobs. Coaches retire. Tyvis Powell is going forward with his commitment. He is doing it the right way. He is committing to Ohio State. You can find his comments about how the coaching change has little impact on his decision over on Buckeye Planet.
Another thing Fickell needs to do is strongly encourage players to wait. To take their visits. Time is the enemy he needs to focus on. The attack by other schools has to change now. Other schools are telling recruits that Ohio State is going to be penalized. That will take care of itself on August 12th, plenty of time for players to process the penalties. Other schools were also telling recruits that Jim Tressel was not going to keep his job. Now that has happened. It is behind us. Other schools have lost that stick to crack our heads with. They will still talk about the instability but with Fickell being an obvious candidate for the job, if he is winning football games and players like what they see, that negative recruiting tactic can be neutralized.
Time, time, time. Fickell needs to be very aware of it and the impact it will have on his future and that of the Ohio State University.