Fickell Presser Notes: Miami (FL) Week

By DJ Byrnes on September 13, 2011 at 12:55p
It won't matter anyway.OSU will be without Boom's 113 yards of total offense.

On September 13th, 2011, Luke Fickell, head coach of the #17 Ohio State Buckeyes, took questions from assembled media in the Alumni Lounge of Ohio State's Fawcett Center.

The Miami game was inked with the intent it would be a key out-of-conference clash for both teams' national title hopes. While it is still a big game for both teams, it probably won't have the national impact that the history of these two programs would have you believe.

Still, the Buckeyes are 2-0, and despite the week-two turbulence, this season is unfolding as many have come to in recent years for Ohio State. So, with the national media sharpening their battle-axes of of wit, ready to unleash witty puns on names for this game, what was on the mind of the media this week?

... Coach Fickell was under the impression Corey Brown, Jordan Hall, and Travis Howard would be available for the Toledo game. Unfortunately, that never came to pass. He couldn't comment on their status this week and mentioned that it was "part of the game" in dealing with this dragged-on process. (Earl Bruce surmised earlier in the week that the NCAA won't be satisfied until Ohio State loses a game).

... There are "no regrets" with not playing Braxton Miller, who Fickell said was "dinged up" a little bit. (Later clarified that his health didn't affect him not playing). He said he wants to make sure both his quarterbacks have "their minds right" going into the Miami game and don't dwell on the past.

... Nate Williams' status appears to still be up in the air. It's "too early to tell." Corey Linsley, however, is back in the mix. Fickell hopes this creates "competition" on the offensive line.

... Fickell said that they have to get better in all facets of the rushing game, but he did mention as an aside that there were "ten men up there [in the box]", alluding to Toledo wanting the arms of Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller to beat them.

... The QB plans remain the same, but Fickell mentioned that a lot of it depends on the flow of the game. This is what I suspected with the Toledo game... that it unfolded in a way where Fickell simply didn't feel comfortable putting a true freshman in to marshall the troops.

... Fickell refuses to take any bait on the suspensions being a distraction. In fact, he seems to think the adversity is good for the team.

... Joe Bauserman, Fickell said, "may have to do a few more things... take a couple more shots", but he says "throwing the ball into the sixth row of the stands isn't always that bad of a decision." He said Bauserman did a lot of things the coaches wanted him to do and that he took care of the ball well.

... Fickell said they'll have to "do their best" given the limited tape on Miami. He mentioned they could look at spring tape, or "where some of their guys come from and what they do," but he says they have "a plan" and "an idea" of what they will do against the Hurricanes.

... The more Jaamal Berry does during kick-offs and returns will dictate the chances he gets at running back. This has been a thread in all of Fickell's conferences... whoever is making the most of their chances (in all facets of the game) will get their chances toting the rock.

... Fickell seems pleased with the progress of Braxton Miller, although he admitted his "opportunities didn't arise" during the Toledo game.

... Nobody was hanging their head after the Toledo game.

... When asked how he might alter the road-game routine for Ohio State, Fickell again brought up "focus." Mentioning how the hotels, restaurants, or routine may be different--they can't allow those things to affect their focus on the goals of the week.  When specifically asked if he'd alter any of Tressel's traditions, while he joked he couldn't re-upholster the plane, there may be "some little things" altered. There will be no "Fickell Stamp", which Fickell has avoided on placing anything on in the wake of Tressel.

... With giving up two punt returns to Miami last year (and one to Toledo last week), it was asked how much emphasis will be brought to special teams. "We put emphasis on special teams every week," Fickell said.

... No status update on Philly Brown. "He doesn't look great," Fickell said. As for the young receivers, Fickell says there's little things--which he constantly harps on--they're getting better at every week. He says they'll continue to get better, and as a young team, that's what you need to see: improvement every week.

... Jacory Harris "can do it all," says Fickell. He has the athletic ability to run and "spin the football." Fickell noted his down-the-field ability. "There's a lot of positives he brings to the table." ("For both teams," Fickell failed to add).

... Fickell would be more concerned about Drew Basil if he "wasn't handling it right." (Though he did mention, "it would be nice to get him one"). "His mind is right," Fickell said, "it's just a matter of time." When asked about Basil's technical approach, Fickell declined to comment on it, but did say, "He knows what he needs to do."

... Fickell admitted he "liked to watch" Miami in their hey-day. He liked the "uniqueness" of some of the things they did in the 80's and 90's.

... Does Fickell empathize with Al Golden, since both are first-year coaches at programs with NCAA troubles? He admits if they sat down, they probably would, but "we have to take care of our own programs."

... Fickell admitted last week the OSU defense couldn't do some of the things they wanted to do with Tyler Moeller, but said "he's on the right track." He again took time to mention "the little things" which Moeller is still doing.

... Fickell says they're not holding things back on offense. "That's not who we are," he said. (No clue if he was saying this simply to be ironic).

... Fickell says they'll see "bigger guys up front... more speed at wide out... and some more depth" than they have the last two weeks. Fickell specifically pointed to Miami's offensive line, "which may be the strength of their team."

... When asked about the lack of turnover creation, Fickell seemed to think it was more of not seizing opportunities than it was anything dealing with schemes.


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Matt's picture

Fick's idea that Jamaal Berry hasn't made the most of his chances so as to surpass Rod Smith on the depth chart, he of multiple fumbles in key situations, makes no sense.  I for one hope that the Florida tandem of Hyde and Berry play out of their minds in front of their home state crowd, and that Rod Smith watches from the bench.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

If/when Berry gets touches at rb during the Miami game, I have no doubt he'll make some fireworks. Someone give this kid steel hamstrings so he can be on the field more.

btalbert25's picture

Perhaps there's an herbal treatment Berry can use to heal his hammy.  I know he's quite the herbalist already.

buckeyedude's picture

Stretch, stretch, stretch. Once you pull a hamstring, it is difficult to get back to normal.   I'm sure the OSU trainers know this.  My daughter ran track in high school, and always had hamstring issues. You have to make sure you get plenty of water, and adequate protein is necessary.  Her 4X4 track team that she was on made it to the Ohio finals in C-bus, BTW.




NYC Buckeye's picture

Couldn't agree more, Rod Smith does NOT PLAY ANYMORE.

He runs standing straight up, until he learns to put that ball in his stomach and cover it with his body when running through traffic he should not be playing meaningful minutes...

tampa buckeye's picture

I picture you saying the same things when eddie george had two fumbles against the Illini.  Rod Smith will be just fine. 

Matt's picture

If an OSU RB fumbling in successive games makes him the next Eddie George, Lydell Loss of 3 Ross got completely hosed on that deal (see Marshall and NCSU 2004).

btalbert25's picture

I too am growing tired of the Rod Smith/Eddie George comparisons.  Can we let the guy actually do something first.  Right now he's being completely outplayed by an RB people seem to not like very much for some reason, despite how much better he's been on the field.

tampa buckeye's picture

Ya it probably isn't fair to compare Smith to George seeing how Smith has much better speed then eddie ever had.  

btalbert25's picture

Because every guy who Ohio State ever recruited that was really fast panned out to be a great running back?  It's not only the fumbles that have me down on the guy, it's the fact that he's been outproduced significantly by another RB in 2 games, plus the fumbles.  Right now, I wouldn't put him in unless it's garbage time.

By the way, that doesn't mean I think he won't be good, just right now he's not playing better than the other guy who is seeing the filed too.  Plus, there was only 1 Eddie George.  Maybe when it's all said and done we may be saying Rod Smith was the greatest RB ever at Ohio State or he could be a guy we all say wow, did we really think he was going to be great?  I'm just not ready to annoint him the next great Ohio State RB, until he shows he's worthy of that on the field.

AltaBuck's picture

With Hall's availability in doubt, I really hope berry and miller are working together with the 1st team running different zone-read packages.  I just don't think hyde or smith have the vision to work in a spread type offense. I don't get Fickell's comment about berry either. The guy has proven he is a very good rb, just not great durability.

Also, I'm very curious how Miami plays their safeties in this game. In years past, they were always well off the LOS. I doubt that will be the case this game. Fickell needs to throw over the top and spead out their D. Create some running lanes for miller and berry.  

I am Groot - Groot

jenks's picture

While I'm a fan of "the little things," I'm also a fan of "the big things."

Also, I don't like the negativity surrounding Basil. I know he's not producing, but, the kid has a phenomenal leg. Once he gets it under control, he will be a huge weapon. Dear Woody, with how little this offense moves, hopefully that week comes sooner rather than later.

DJ Byrnes's picture

You could argue it was the little things that cost Toledo their biggest win ever, though.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

jenks's picture

Fair. And I do think that if you take care of the smaller things, the bigger success will come. My complaint, though, is I keep hearing about these little things, but I'm not necessarily seeing them or the greater success they should lead to (still getting punts blocked, not getting off screen blocks, missed open field tackels, lack of dline pressure, etc)

slippy's picture

RBs combined for 26 carries for 73 yards last year against Miami.  Being able to stack the box on running downs and not worry about a QB spy (or 3) on passing downs is not going to be good for our offense.


I feel like this is the USC game of '08.  Bauserman will be the guy.  If we win or if it's close, he's our QB for the year.  If we're down by 4 TDs at halftime welcome our new QB of the future.

Matt's picture

Agreed, we won last year's game based on great field position off four interceptions and TP's 113 yards of scrambling, especially his 56 yards on third down scrambles.  Miami's defense had no answer for TP's mobility.  I'd like to see more of the same with Braxton on the field, but I don't think Fick has the stomach to let it all ride on #5.  Maybe if Fick had the security of a long term deal he'd feel otherwise, but he's going to hold fast to Tresselball and hope the philosophy carries him on through from an interim coach to a long-term coach.  If that's his play, methinks it will not.

Buckeyejason's picture

Bingo! You guessed it.Although Miami is a middle of the pack team and looked like shit against the Terps, they will play us very well!


Bucks43201's picture

Earl the Pearl Bruce is the man!

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Matt's picture

Reports are that NCAA docks Boise State only 3 schollies for 3 years re: Lack of Institutional Control. 

RBuck's picture

Pretty hard to give the tennis and track team a bowl ban.

Long live the southend.

theDuke's picture

just saying, again, Baus was just not the same last week. he missed a lot of yards on plays that should have been keepers to open spaces and totally ducked the check down for the 6th row bleachers.


biggy84's picture

Fickell doesn't seem to have a plan. He is looking like he is in way over his head here. I would hope that he is smart enough to realize that sticking by Baus will ensure that he is head coach at Ball St next year.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

Although I'm willing to see how this season plays out, I kind of agree with your statement. Even though Tressel was maddeningly vague, you still got the sense that there was a precise method to his madness.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

Who else misses Boom? At the beginning of last year, I never thought I'd say that. This makes me optimistic for Hyde and Smith - there's no doubt in my mind that both will grow throughout the season. 

btalbert25's picture

I think Hyde is already pretty darn good.  He's just going to get better and better.  I never have been impressed with Boom until about the last 5 games of the season, so he'll be joining the team right around the time he normally hits his stride anyway.  I think a duo of Boom with a chip on his shoulder and Hyde could be pretty nasty for the conference season.

Matt M.'s picture

Players reinstated. Let's go.

Buckeyebrowny919's picture


To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

party on


To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

Menexenus's picture

Now I'm even more psyched for Saturday's game!

Real fans stay for Carmen.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Just saw R. Miller tweet this. Good news indeed!!

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

you know what i miss? as i stated earlier...just...a big time playmaker...someone who can make something happen at anytime..i was legitimately drooling w/ an inappropriate chub while watching that Ted Ginn youtube video in the skull session. We just don't have someone for that

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

BrewstersMillions's picture

Can we stop the comparisons all together? Ohio State has had arguably more great players through its program than any other school and will continue to do so. No sense comparing those that were great to those that will be.