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How should Ohio State handle the defensive coordinator situation?



Poison nuts's picture

Oh boy, this should get interesting...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

airbuckeye's picture

I wanted to vote Demote Fickle and hire a new coordinator but i went another way with with Retain and hire a co-defensive coordinator. I think that is what UFM is going to do only because i believe his does not want to upset people by firing Fickle.
Most people i know who are life long fans want Fickle out and i think there are a good % of Buckeye fans who feel the same way. It's not because they dis-like Fickle most can see he is not ready for the job and the fact he has to much Tressel in him when it comes to the players.
Hell when my mother who is 72 started bitching about Fickle needed to go i knew then there had to be more than a few others who felt that way. Now my mother is a HUGE HUGE fan dating back to 1950 and use to go to Woody's with her Mother from time to time for dinner.
My Grandmother was close friend with Woody as well as Governor Jim Rhodes just to name a few people she knew she never know a stranger. For some of the old timer on here that remember that far back my remember the Paul Dixon show? For those who do the women who use to serve coffee to the guest and from time to time Paul would ask her to preform the dance The Charleston that was my grandmother.
God do i really miss her but she is why i grew up a HUGE Buckeye fan and i THANK her for that and will always love her for who she was and what she instilled in me.

buckifishr's picture

How can having too much tressel in you be a bad thing?

TMac's picture

UFM hasn't called me yet for my input, maybe that will be later this afternoon. 

ONE Not Done!

InvertMyVeer's picture

People actually want to keep Fickell as dc? That's either a veeeery silent minority of Buckeye fans or there's more TTUN readers on here than I thought...

Football is complicated...

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Just like I haven't given up on Armani Reeves, I haven't given up on Luke yet.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

InvertMyVeer's picture

I don't want to say I've given up on him but I would welcome a change (demotion from dc to lb coach would be okay with me although that's unlikely to happen). As Luke said 'it is what it is' and what it is to me is the worst OSU defense I've ever seen. No excuse for that with the talent we bring in yearly.

Football is complicated...

cajunbuckeye's picture

Winners never quit and quitters never win. Vince Lombardi made that statement just for this situation. Give the reins to Luke and let's see what happens.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

poop's picture

As disgusted as I was with the defense this season, I voted to give him the reigns for another year. If the defense isn't up to our standard next season then we'll know who to blame. It's just strange that Withers was encouraged to leave (I assume since he took a large pay cut to take the other job) and Luke is still here. He gets a year to turn it around or he can hit the bricks.

BenArazi4's picture

You must be a Mic*igan fan




captain obvious's picture

I think you *ean *ichigan

I'm a friend of thunder is it any wonder lightning strikes me

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Is that directed towards me?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

MichaelJ721984's picture

I clicked the wrong button and voted to keep him and bring another co-Dcoordinator. Fail!

Michigan sucks.

BenArazi4's picture

Don't give up on him and let teams run rampant on the withered silver bullets again next season?  Sounds like a great idea.




allinosu's picture

It's just some people know there is more to it than just to fire someone when things go wrong. I have listened to stuff like the defensive  line improvement was Vrabel and when the defensive backs screw up it was Fickell, when he coaches LB(s). Double standard. We missed on a few LB recruits, some got in trouble and left and we red shirted our depth so when injuries occurred we were pathetic. I said this before that if the experience,depth and talent had been reversed from defense to offense this would be about Herman. But every time we give an opinion the down votes and insults start.

Ethos's picture

It's been 3 years if poor defense not just one. If the area you are responsible for in your job has a poor performance for 3 years you better spruce up that resume. Football or otherwise. 

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

BenArazi4's picture

He's the DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR.  Meaning he coaches the whole defense as a whole and calls the plays on the sidelines.  It is his responsibility to get them as many game reps as possible and make them a COHESIVE unit.  Just because a TE runs a seam, past the LB's and smokes a safety is more Fickell's problem than it was Withers because of the lack of cohesiveness, Fickell needs to point that out in practice.  It is obvious this defense has lacked game reps as a whole, individual coaches coach techniques, how to use your hands, how to backpedal, use your hips and turn, etc.  The D-coordinator puts it all together, how some people do not know this nor understand this and want to continually defend Fickell is beyond me.  D-coordinator should by far be the most knowledgeable and have the most ability to coach more than any position coach.  Our talent was superior to every team we played this season and there has been absolutely no excuse for the abominable play of the defense the past three seasons, especially with such a cupcake schedule.




buckeyedude's picture

Again, no mention of Coombs?
Why does he get a free pass? Is it because he's a great motivational speaker? I think most of the problems with the OSU defense starts with the secondary.



bdegroff's picture

I agree. The db's look lost most of the time. They do not play man coverage well. The Bucks have recruited very well in the secondary, however I think coaching and play calling is holding them back

BenArazi4's picture

Coombs coaches the corners and special teams, both of which have been very, very good this season.  When someone on this D looks lost it is as much if not more Fickell's problem.  I didn't see us getting burned because of lack of talent, I saw us getting burned because the guys just look lost and the LB's bite on every play action.  That's lack of communication and lack of game reps between the LB's and safeties, corners and LB's and corners and safeties and that's all Fickell buddy.  If you wanna talk about safeties getting burned that's all Withers.  Otherwise, Coombs has shown nothing to suggest that he is a bad coach and as a former high school player, motivation is half the battle.  I think he's a very good coach




kmp10's picture

Wait... what??? The "corners have been very, very good this year"? No position group on that defense has been "very, very good" the past two years. Were the corners better than the safeties? Yes... and that's not saying much. The best group, by far, was the D-line and they were inconsistent with pressure and containment. Coombs gets a pass around here for some reason, and I don't understand why. The corner play in the TTUN and B1G title games was bad. The entire back seven was dysfunctional and Coombs was as big a part of that mess as Withers. I'm not saying Coombs is or isn't a "very good coach," but if he is he has yet to show it at Ohio State. 

Earle's picture

Amused that FIRE FICKELL!!! is not an option.

Your Noble Savage is a Straw Yeti.

Nicholas Jervey's picture

Technically speaking, a firing is a demotion from Employed to Unemployed. :-)

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

BuckTheWorld's picture

Um no. Not even technically speaking. 

An Angry Fan

OSU1995's picture

Yes, there should be a 4th option.

“You have to make decisions, ... I've never pretended that every decision I've made was right. And I've been reminded of that.” 

     - James Patrick Tressel

BuckeyeBred's picture

Aka, the "nuclear option"

kmp10's picture

When TTUN's offense under Hoke/Borges was horrible the past two years everyone on here laughed and laughed. There were a bunch of "I hope Borges stays forever" comments from posters who enjoyed watching an obviously terrible TTUN offense (despite its 4 and 5 start talent) continue to flounder under Borges. Everyone but Hoke, it seemed, could see that Borges and that offense wasn't working, and many of us hope it would continue on forever... and now the shoe is on the other foot.
Most can see that Ohio State's defense under Fickell isn't working. I wish it was... but it is not. It isn't working to the point of embarrassment. The Orange Bowl was sad from a defensive standpoint. Just like the B1G title game was sad, and the TTUN game was sad and much of 2013 and 2012 before that. For those who say "OSU is undefeated, how bad could it have been?", we have a philosophical difference and we'll never agree. I say, Imagine how dominating this team could have been if the defense was just solid. Not Pagac/Dantonio/Heacock good to great... just solid. When Saban casts off Nussmeier and hires Kiffin to improve an already good Alabama offense, well, Ohio State's defensive issues become that much more maddening. Go get a superstar coordinator who will take advantage of this talent and return the Silver Bullets to their once lofty position in the college football world.

Doc's picture

My thoughts exactly.   I would have voted for let Fickell go and replace Coombs as well. The defense is broken and needs fixing quick. AACC has shown it ain't playing with their new hire. Sparty ain't playing either. It's time to nut up or shut up. 

I'm hiding baby and I'm dreaming
I'm riding down your moonlight mile

HotSauceCommittee's picture

Great comparison KMP. Maybe even sucked in the Lukebots a bit in the opening paragraph.

lamplighter's picture

really?  asked and answered ad nauseum

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

Either A or B in my opinion, but I voted A to give Fickell one more shot.  The co-DC idea is what seemed to not work; two different philosophies going at the same time didn't work.  With one philosophy (cover-2 man, or cover-3 zone, etc.) instead, the defense will be simpler and defensive players will do less thinking and more read and reacting.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

KingsRite's picture

Looks like we have a consensus. Did we win....Did we win...?

“I have yet to be in a game where luck was involved. Well-prepared players make plays. I have yet to be in a game where the most prepared team didn't win.” -Urban Meyer-

Bradyhokescholesterol's picture

Give the man the reins. Poor dude hasn't yet had the opportunity to put his stamp on the D. He's had less than ideal situations over the past three years. Let's see what he can do with sole ownership of the defensive schematics. I would imagine we'd see a lot of Heacock in him.

BenArazi4's picture

He's had the reins, Withers had the co-coordinator so we could justify paying him more....




dytbuckeye's picture

What are some realistic d-line or safeties coaches out there that could step in and take over as DC?

cal3713's picture

We do have Heacock on staff, right?  I wouldn't mind seeing him step back into the role...

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Move Fickell to DL.  Give the whole secondary to Coombs, and bring in a DC who works with LBs.  That would be my ideal situation. 

cplunk's picture

I would take this but with one change- move Coombs to special teams and also bring in a new secondary coach, preferably Vance Joseph.

ChazBuckeye's picture

I personally think it will be option 3. I like option 2 myself.

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

DefendYoungstown's picture

Unless we can secure a proven defensive genius in the next few days,  I said keep him as sole DC, reasons being:

  • Give him a shot, Fickell is a smart guy (football intelligence), we get to see what he's really got
  • If he falls short, we know it's him, the responsibility is on his shoulders 
  • Heacock is within arms reach, UFM can ask him to sit up in the booth if things aren't progressing 

I know a lot are saying Heacock would be the choice, another poster posted something about wins and losses when Heacock was on board and it make sense, he wasn't really able to defend against the big schools (Florida, LSU, Texas, USC).  If we're not going to go with an internal candidate for DC we need a fresh start, somebody that is up and coming and thinks outside the box.  We should be able to excel on the defensive side of the ball on athleticism alone given all the talent we're pulling in.

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

Idaho Helga's picture

I going to trust that Urban will do whatever is necessary to right the ship.  All the folks who want to fire Fickle and Coombs...who exactly would you replace them with?
Scores are going up all across the country; defense is a tougher game than it used to be.
I will say if Heacock is on staff a bigger role would be a good move.

3cent's picture

I going to trust that Urban will do whatever is necessary to right the ship.  All the folks who want to fire Fickle and Coombs...who exactly would you replace them with?


WildMan Leather and Lace's picture

We can replace Luke Fickell as D-coordinator but it won't matter as long Kerry Coombs is the D-backs coach.  Dude can't coach.

jamesrbrown322's picture

I agree 100%.
I think Fickell deserves one more year as DC to try and develop the young depth. DBs were the obvious weakness last year. They lack depth at LB due to attrition, not poor coaching.
Can they not do what Saban does? Have 3-4 guys that are "coaches" in the sense that the school pays them, but they are actually just consultants who spend most of their time working recruits. Sounds like a perfect fit for Coombs...

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

I agree on Coombs. Give Fickell one year without Coombs coaching db's and see what happens. IMO Coombs is the issue. Just an opinion though.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

BenArazi4's picture

Youre clueless




cajunbuckeye's picture

No need for name calling or derogatory comments. Of course, your opinion is special and will be held in higher regard.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Knarcisi's picture

I'd really like to have a conversation with the 10% of you that want Fickell as the sole defensive coordinator. 

OSUNEA1986's picture

Any time. But be prepared with evidence to support your choices.

Knarcisi's picture

Our defensive statistics this year and last aren't enough for you?

OSUNEA1986's picture

Nope. There's a lot more to performance than statistics.

Knarcisi's picture

What specifically then about our defense performance have you been pleased with?  Where's your evidence that you demanded from me?  Here's a stat that matters for performance ... Points. We gave up 40,34, and 40 in the last 3 games. 

poop's picture

Why is Withers gone (at a much lower paying job) and Luke still here? It will be clear next season, if Luke is the only defensive coordinator, where the blame lies.

BlockO's picture

No Fire Fickell option?

"faith seeking understanding” (fides quaerens intellectum)

BeijingBucks's picture

I must admit I was surprised a year ago when I realized Coombs was the DB coach.  For some reason I thought he was the special teams coach (something about haranguing a kicker comes to mind).  
Defense any more is not about having the best scheme going into the game I don't believe.  Seems more about having a strong core that can cover new wrinkles in the opposing attack with minimal adjustments.  This keeps the game simpler for the defensive players to understand their role, allows better disguising of tendencies, blitzes and coverages.
Players are important but, looking at our incoming roster, that's not our issue.  developing a cohesive unit is.
case in point.  the dreaded 'tunnel screen'.  That should be the test for vetting candidates.  If you can't fix that we don't want you.  simple.



None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

HotSauceCommittee's picture

Folks Jim Heacock isn't going Benjamin Button anytime soon. He is not going Back to the Future. No flux compasitor is in his clip board. He is getting older, the game is getting younger. His principles define Fickell. Poor defensive production unfortunately define the past 3 to 4 Fickell years. The game has changed. Heacock himself had issues scheming for spread offenses. He is quoted as saying so.

No disrespect to either coach and great Buckeyes but we need to move in a new direction and aggressively so. Look at the poll results. One more year of let Fickell roll could set us back two or three years. The over loyal Fickell followers need to open there eyes and look at the statistics. This year's and really the past three seasons have been some of the worst ever in school history. Ever! Ever! Ever!

I voted to demote and retain. He simply can't handle it and can't make crucial in game adjustments. However he is a great recruiter, a good football educator and has the workings of a solid mid-major coach someday.

Sorry to say it, but we should be thinking with our heads not our hearts on this one.

Knarcisi's picture

Kudos. This pretty much sums it up. 

Mush's picture

I will stand by Urban on how he wants to handle this. I do know we might not be having this retain Fickell conversation if it wasn't for a failed 2 point conversion by our rivals.

cajunbuckeye's picture

Now that's an interesting point, Mush. I've been on the "save Fickell" side of the argument, but I've not put it into that perspective. I've always been a "it is, what it is" guy, but that would be a tough pill to swallow. I like continuity and think that it is a key to success in all things. That being said, I still say, keep it like it is. He coaches the linebackers and they are coming in droves. There has to be some connection. Thanks, I'll play "what if" with that scUM game for the rest of the day!

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Mush's picture

Cajun, most knew what this defense was all year. With that in mind football is a team sport and our talented offense needed to bail out our D in those last two games. We just didn't step up and now an overhaul is necessary. We will be better in the long run. Meyer must get this hire right or we can easily miss the 4 team playoff in most years.

JKH1232's picture

Well, here's the way I see it, not that my opinion matters all that much.
1) Without being involved in practice, film review sessions and all the other study of the game, it's hard to know exactly what the problem is.  That said, I'm pretty sure the "Co-DC" thing *is* a problem.  Two quarterbacks are none, there's only one captain on the ship, and only one dick in the mashed potatoes.  It strikes me that, the first thing to do, is have just one DC, who's responsible for organizing everything, calling the shots, and making it run.
2) You can't demote Fickle.  He's a coordinator, and if you demote him out of that spot to a positions coach, you have the potential to embitter him, and make a soft spot in the organization.  Maybe Fickell's a better man than that, but it's also unfair to him.  If he won't have the opportunity to make it here, and everyone knows it, he should get the chance to go elsewhere- he's given a lot to the team, and he is owed that much.
So, I see two options: A) Fire him, run a search for a new DC, and takes your chances with a new guy. B) Make Fickell the full DC, no if ands or buts, and give him the run on it- playcalling, coaches, scheme.  If he doesn't cut it, fire him.  If not, well, you've got the DC issue solved.
Which you select depends on A) what you think of Fickell, given his work during the week (Something we don't get to see) and B) who you could replace him with this year.  If you don't know who you would replace him with, it's probably better to keep him, see if he pans out, and start putting out feelers for plan B.

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

.....You had me at dick in mashed potatoes.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

another-navy-buckeye's picture

So tired of the Co-Defensive Coordinator idea, don't like it.  Granted my opinion means nothing I admit. Still, just one guy calling all the shots and being solely responsible for the Defense is just the way to go...


Brutus1972's picture

He will keep his title as Co DC but they will hire someone as a Co DC who will actually call the shots and run the show. Urban wont hurt Fick's career and pocket by demoting him but he will lessen his actual responsibilities. Head Coaches want their assistants to go on to positions of greater responsibility even if they have to leave in order to do it. It makes it easy to hire the next up and coming assistant if you can show him a track record of all of your assistants getting promoted. That's the kind of guy I would want to work for.

Bamabucknut's picture

People who don't perform should not be retained.Would you keep a VP who failed to deliver on his job responsibilities ...but you kept him to not jeopardize his career ?
i thought the team...players  and school came first.

smartfootballrankings's picture

No option to fire him.  Reminds me of Colbert- 
"George W Bush - Great President, or Greatest President?"