New Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell is not one to mix words. In his inaugural press conference on Monday, Coach Fickell said the things that the embattled Buckeye Nation needed to hear. His words were succinct, direct, and unassuming. However, it was the words he didn’t speak that resonated the loudest.
When asked if he had any contact with exiled quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Fickell was very matter of fact. If he could have said what was on his mind, I believe his answer would have been something like this. “I’m glad Pryor decided to leave the program. Good riddance. Don’t let the doorknob hit you on the way out!”
Truer words were never spoken. To paraphrase Fickell, “We’re excited about having four good quarterbacks to compete this fall.” Most coaches would have had a little compassion about losing your 31 wins versus 4 losses, three year starter. I imagine that considering the circus Pryor’s dubious escapades have created, Fickell considers this equation addition by subtraction.
Luke has been groomed well by his former boss. He was humble, yet authoritative. Unlike his predecessor, he did not dance around the hard questions. He clearly stated that the 2011 version of the Buckeye football team would lead the nation in “Effort, Turnovers, and Toughness”. What else would you expect a former nose guard who started 50 consecutive games to say?
Being a teammate of Luke’s, I know that he knows what it takes to win at The Ohio State University. Consider his tenure as a player and coach as a dress rehearsal for his current assignment. He won’t be outworked. He has a wealth of experience to draw from as he battles the competition on the field and in the recruiting battle.
Despite the recent stain on the program, the brand shines bright even when the light seems dim. The coach is the leader of The Ohio State Buckeyes. No tattoo, dealer tag, or signed memorabilia can knock down the structure of The Shoe. So for all foes who think that The Buckeyes are wounded, keep on thinking that’s the case. I think they’ll leave disappointed and beaten.