Ok, I'll admit it, Luke Fickell looked a wee little bit nervous today during his introductory press conference. Not that I can blame him, especially considering how him taking "the big chair" came about. But really, who among us wouldn't be a bit nervous given that same situation?
Put yourself in Fickell's shoes for a moment. Think back to something that you truly loved as a child. Something that you aspired to be a part of since your earliest childhood memories. Throw in the fact that the dream lives in your backyard, literally, as you grow up mere miles from where it all takes place. Every day, even when you don't want it to be, it's there, teasing you. Imagine in high school you realize that dream and have said dream come to you and offer to have you take part in it on their dime.
Imagine, if you will, after giving your heart and soul to that dream, when it concludes you establish a new goal. Except this goal is to fulfill a bigger purpose. This goal is to give back to the institution (or in your case, maybe, profession) that as a kid you dreamed about and longed to be a part of. You start working your way up the ladder toward reaching the ultimate goal, the seat at the head of the table. Imagine your working hard and feel like you're on the cusp of being ready... when suddenly it's thrown into your lap without warning, and everyone turns their heads collectively and looks to you to be its savior. That's Luke Fickell these days.
Can't blame him for feeling a little jittery on the stage today.
What do we know?
First question is, what do we know about Luke Fickell? For starters we know he's going to work hard. Nobody starts 50 games at nose tackle in the Big Ten, quickly rises through the coaching ranks in the competitive world that is college football that isn't a hard worker.
We know he's got fire. I stand by my assertion a few years back that the difference in the Laurinaitis led defenses and the changeover to Ross Homan/Brian Rolle led defenses was the move made that put Luke Fickell back on the sideline and Jim Heacock into the press box. The attitude changed. The intensity on the field and camaraderie seemed to be back after disappearing (or at least getting stale) for a few seasons after the Hawk-Carpenter-Schlegel trio left campus. The Silver Bullets clearly had their mojo back back, and it just so happened to coincide with Luke returning to the field.
We know he's a Buckeye through and through. Columbus kid, Buckeye starter for four years, Buckeye assistant coach, married and raising his family in Columbus. And that should mean and count for something. It does to me. I like knowing that if my team falls, the head coach is going to take it harder than me. You don't always see that in sports, especially when it comes to professional players.
Though many will say Fickell is set up to fail, I feel differently. Only time will tell, but I can see Luke making things really difficult on the search committee when looking for Jim Tressel's full time replacement. Their is talent on the roster, loads of it. Their is determination and a sense of "us against the world" that can drive people (especially young people) to incredible heights. I can make a strong case, and will in future writings, on how I can see the 2011 Buckeyes starting the season 5-0 heading to Lincoln, Nebraska for a good old fashioned showdown at an historic venue in a match-up 55 years in the making. Think TNT knows drama? They got nothing on that!
So, did you hear that the Buckeyes are going to get a 6 year bowl ban and lose 83 scholarships? Or did you hear that they are going to get a 4 year bowl ban, but still be allowed to play in the Big Ten title game IF it falls on an even numbered date? Maybe you heard about the more tame ruling of a two year bowl ban and the loss of some scholarships but vacate the 54 title since those guys are getting up there in age anyway? Regardless of what you have heard or who may be telling you, nobody has any idea what the sanctions are going to be after the hearing. Nobody.
Let's make this clear: On August 12th, Ohio State and Jim Tressel will meet with the review board of the NCAA to discuss and answer to the findings by the NCAA's investigation. They will have the charges brought before them, be shown the evidence and have a chance to explain how or why it happened. When that hearing convenes, it will likely be a minimum of another month to six weeks before a ruling is announced on sanctions.
All we can do is go by is past precedence and try to make a guess at what the ruling may be. Come to think of it, that's all anyone can do. So these guys going on the radio and scaring you with comments like "The NCAA is going to come down much harder on Ohio State than it did USC!" are simply blowing hot air. Take that sentence right there, and I'll give you two good reason's why it's garbage: 1. Ohio State self reported, USC did not. In past cases, schools that self report are typically given lesser punishment. 2. Ohio State can claim it has done everything in its power to begin eliminating the "problems", starting with the removal of Jim Tressel, despite his resignation. That's right boys and girls, ol' JT may win one more for us by falling on the sword and taking all the blame in front of the committee. Was Peter Carroll around to do such a thing for USC?
If you take one thing with you tonight, make it this: Nobody has any inside tip or knowledge or access to what the ruling is going to be after the August 12th hearing. Anyone claiming to provide you with "inside knowledge" or "so and so who's so and so said" is merely a false prophet. Tell'em I said so, because their guess as to what will happen is just as good as mine.
Just when you think someone couldn't be any dumber or ignorant, they open their mouth and remove any doubt that it is indeed possible.
“All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they have to get back to the real world at some point.”
Mr. Quitter: As one of the people rooting for you to fail, let me just say that your comment provides no shock or sting to my psyche. I'll continue to work harder and longer than necessary at my job to earn my paycheck. Will you? I'm sure you'll continue the same selfish lifestyle you've grown accustomed to, off of the money that those people with "real lives" spent on you. Yep, I have the same personal problems today that I had yesterday and will have tomorrow. But, ironically, so do you... you still have no ring.
You stay classy, LeBron.
Metallica track of the day/week/whenever
In keeping with the LeBron theme, I'd likely suggest "King Nothing". However, that's too easy, so what about "Waste My Hate", since we've all wasted a lot of hate and anger toward a guy who could truly care less about any of us? Forget them both! Todays recommended Metallica selection is "Holier Than Thou". The line "Point the finger, slow to understand. Arrogance and ignorance go hand and hand" amongst many lines in that track, sum up LeBron quite well.
"It's not you are it's who you know
Others lives are the basis of your own
Burn your bridges and build them back with wealth
Judge not l'est ye be judged yourself"