Last week Tommy Tuberville "resigned" from the head coaching position at the University of Cincinnati. I wrote an article about how Urban Meyer should come coach at UC (https://www.theodysseyonline.com/8-reasons-urban-m...), and while we didn't get Urban Meyer, perhaps we got the next best thing; Luke Fickell. Luke Fickell is the defensive coordinator for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and as soon as their season ends he'll be coming to Cincinnati to start his coaching career here in the 513. So we know who's replacing Tuberville, what now? Well lets take a look at Fickell's past and a little look into the future and what we can expect in the next season and beyond.
Essentially Fickell's entire career has been in Columbus. He played high school football there (at DeSales High School), and went to OSU for football where he played nose guard on the defensive line. After a nice career with the Buckeyes, he would go on to sign with the New Orleans Saints of the NFL, but he tore an ACL and never really saw the field. He was soon released and his playing career had come to a quick close.
From there he would start his coaching career with the Buckeyes as an assistant, then being hired by University of Akron for a short two year stint, and then was back with the Buckeyes up til this point. He made his way from special-teams coordinator all the way to assistant coach, where he earned Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010. When OSU coach Jim Tressel was suspended for five game in 2011 following a team scandal, he would decide to resign, making Fickell the interim head coach of the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes had a mediocre season by their standards, going 6-6 and losing to the Florida Gators, coached by the one and only Urban Meyer, in the 2012 Gator Bowl. Once Meyer left Florida and came to Columbus as the next head coach, Fickell was deemed defensive coordinator and worked alongside Meyer ever since.
In the five years Fickell has been defensive coordinator under Meyer's tenure the Buckeyes have gone 61-5 along with winning a National Championship, and going onto to try and win another one this season in the College Football Playoffs. Throughout these past five seasons the Buckeye's defense has been spectacular producing many NFL draftee's such as Joey Bosa, Eli Apple, and many many more.
So if anything, Fickell has the experience and the resume. Although he didn't do too well with his one season of head coaching, it wasn't planned and he wasn't prepared for such a job at the time. He's a true Ohio-guy, and understands the football culture here. He understands the high school football power here in Ohio and especially in Cincinnati, and hopefully he'll be able to tap into that when it comes to recruiting new exciting players. He also has a defensive mind set, and defense wins championships. This past season the Bearcats weren't really good at anything, just pretty mediocre at everything. If we can at least get a solid, formidable defense going, we can at least depend on one phase of the game going well.
Who knows how well Fickell's first season will be. We can't expect ten wins the first season, but a winning record and a step in the right direction is what Cincinnati desperately needs. I don't think were in full on rebuild-the-program mode, but we should afford Fickell the time to settle in, get the staff he wants, and put together his own football program for the first time. UC's entire schedule isn't filled out yet, but they do have a game against Michigan at Ann Arbor early in the season. While asking for a team good enough to beat the Wolverines two weeks into a coaches first season is a lot to ask, it would certainly be a great time to prove that the Bearcats can hang with the best and perhaps even upset a giant, giving Fickell a great start to his first season.
It's all very far off and the man still has a National Championship to win with his Buckeyes, of which we should all cheer on come January. But Cincinnati students and fans alike should look forward to what Fickell can bring to the Nati. I for one am optimistic and hopeful that he'll be the jumpstart that this program has badly needed. And hopefully he's here for good. (I'm looking at you Brian Kelly).