17 May 2011
Yesterday, Dave "D-Bidds" Biddle, truly a god-like individual, posted his argument against Luke Fickell being the next head coach at Ohio State. Actually, I agree with his thinking, that you don't start your head coaching career at Ohio State. This is an extreme circumstance. That is why I think Fickell is a viable alternative. Very viable.
Fickell is going to have some experience. He will have five games to show he can handle being the man. If Fickell comes out dynamic in those five games it is going to make a statement. He can't just win. I said on Front Row Radio that this team should go 3-2 even with the captains calling the game. Fickell has to look like he can make a difference.
Fickell is a dynamic recruiter, the best on the staff and one of the best in the country. There is an argument that is just as important, if not more so, than being a great coach. Hiring great coaches around him could make up for lack of experience at the helm.
He is bluest of blue blood Buckeyes in the fact that he was born in Ohio, played at Ohio State and learned to coach at Ohio State.
In the end it comes down to one thing. The former Buckeye player that I watch games with always brings this up when I am unhappy about the offense or that we are once again waiting on the other team to lose the game to us. Who that we would want would come here? Right or wrong Ohio State fans are going to want someone with Buckeye roots.That reduces the talent pool so very dramatically. Tressel has not created a coaching tree. About half the staff has been with him since he arrived. John Cooper did not create a coaching tree either. I can't think of a coach from his tenure that is a coordinator right let alone a head coach other than Lee Owens. There is Bo Pelini, there is Mark Dantonio, there is Darrell Hazel and there is Luke Fickell. Are there others out there in the coaching profession with an Ohio State pedigree? Those are the ones that come to mind. Don't mention Meyer. If you sit down and think it through logically that is just wishful thinking. He resigned two years in a row. His health may not allow him to coach anymore. Until that is cleared up Meyer is a moot point.
I think opening up to the possibility of someone with no connection to the program should be strongly considered. No coach that would be in a position to be considered for the Ohio State job would not understand the tradition of Ohio State and the importance of The Rivalry. Maybe if John Cooper had done better in The Rivalry more fans would be open to looking at one of the outstanding young guys out there like Gary Patterson from TCU and Chris Peterson from Boise State. The stronger argument against an "outsider" is that a coach without Buckeye roots is not going to understand recruiting here. I would argue that the SEC has won 7 of the 13 championships in the BCS era, including the last 5 in a row. The fact is 10 of the 13 national champions of the BCS era had coaches with no connection to the state, let alone the school that they won a national championship at, with Jim Tressel, Phil Fulmer and Pete Carroll being the exceptions. I would point out that all of them have recruited extremely well. Mack Brown has locked down the state of Texas. In Florida's class of 2010 Urban Meyer had one of the great classes of my time following recruiting.
If there is a name out there that I am unaware of I would like to hear it. As far as I can see there are only the four names above who have the prerequisite Buckeye pedigree and head coaching experience. It would be nice if the situation was different and we could wait on Hazel to show he is up to the job or Fickell is given a head coaching opportunity and shows he has the goods. Unfortunately, we are in a situation where we have to have think about this now as the odds of the powers that be deciding to make a change seems to be growing every day. We do not have the luxury of time. If Jim Tressel resigns, or is relieved of his duties, and Buckeye Nation refuses to consider anyone who does not have a Buckeye pedigree, we are left we a very small pool to choose from. Within the parameters we are working with Luke Fickell is a very viable candidate to take the head coaching job.
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