24.11.11

Day 327. The Interim One.

With apologies to non-college football fans....Let's get the basics out of the way.
  1. This is the final regular season game of Ohio State College Football
  2. This is MICHIGAN Week. (only the most storied rivalry in college football history)
  3. Rumors are seemingly now fact that Urban Meyer will be taking over as OSU head coach
  4. You're all shocked that I have posted three times in two weeks ;)

So who do I write about today? Its Mr. Luke Fickell. Again, down to brass tacks. Clearly, Luke is not yet 100% ready to coach a perennial BCS contending, Big Ten team. And, not only to satiate the rabid Buckeye fans around the nation, but also to satisfy promises made to 18 year olds who are convinced they will play in the NFL, Mr. Fickell seemingly is not the long term solution right now for the Ohio State program.

But here's what I know. Luke stepped up to a job that was not all that attractive. The program was in turmoil, players were decommitting, our integrity was shattered and we had all of a matter of weeks to name a head coach before the business of the season was at hand. As an alumni, a former player, and a guy who gets what Buckeye football is supposed to be about, Luke Fickell stepped up to the job. He was the easy out for the administration, I don't doubt he knew it, and he stepped up.

Those who know him say he knew he didn't have the talent of previous years. And he knew he didn't have head coaching experience (duh!). But he walked into the fire willingly. He stayed with the program, took a humbling tag of "interim head coach" (i.e. dead man walking) and did what he could with a team that didn't necessarily sign on to play for him. He took the job with the skill set that he had available. While the Buckeye's record this year isn't one of our best, Luke has been a good face of the program. He's matured in his role, he's grabbed the responsibility with both hands, and, again by all accounts, remained a man of character and integrity.

So now, on Thursday of Michigan week, when Mirror Lake jumps, and gold pants get the occasional mention, all the talk is about Urban Meyer.

To the Urban-ites I say be quiet. If just for three days. Win or lose, Luke Fickell has earned the right to live out this week as Head Coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. He knows what this means - he's lived it. Give him this moment. Respect that he stepped up when the pickings were slim and he did so with the honor and integrity that this Ohio State program so desperately needed.

Let us celebrate the new head coach deservedly (if and when it happens) but let it wait till Sunday.

Because this is Ohio State Football. And this season, win or lose, Luke Fickell did all he could to try and live up to what that is supposed to mean. And for that, sir, you deserve our thanks and appreciation.

Go Bucks! Beat Blue!

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