Luke Fickell has settled back into his role of an assistant coach at Ohio State after a tumultuous one-year stint as the head man.
FILE - This Aug. 7, 2012 file photo shows Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell during practice in Columbus, Ohio. Now that more than a year has passed since Fickell was dropped into an almost unwinnable season of controversy, frustration and transition at Ohio State, he's able to see it as a life lesson.(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)
Fickell, who was the team’s interim coach last year after Jim Tressel departed in the wake of the tattoo scandal, was one of three coaches retained by Urban Meyer and serves as co-defensive coordinator with Everett Withers.
The Buckeyes struggled to a 6-7 record last year under Fickell, but he looked back at the experience in a positive way this week.
“It was a great experience,” said Fickell, a former standout defensive lineman for the Buckeyes. “You learn a lot about yourself and you learn a lot about others. You know who has your back and how people react and respond to situations.”
Fickell inherited a mess when Tressel was forced out for committing NCAA violations. He had several players suspended for various amounts of time and he had to break in a true freshman at quarterback (Braxton Miller) when Joe Bauserman struggled mightily early in the season.
Ohio State suffered its first losing season since 1988.
To Fickell’s credit, though, he never once complained about the adversity he had to deal with. Instead he believes everything he dealt with will pay off down the line.
“You can’t get that experience just any place,” he said of his time as the Buckeyes’ leader. “You try to talk to those guys that were in situations that they took over in and all the advice they gave you, but to actually do it is 10-fold. Some day that will pay off.”
While he has been a dedicated and loyal employee for the Buckeyes, Fickell deserves to be a head coach somewhere in the future. Hopefully, it will be under better circumstances.