Undoubtedly one of the most intense individuals I have ever met, Fickell seemed perfect as an assistant coach but I wondered if his head might not explode (literally not figuratively) if he was ever assigned the top job. I was afraid the meltdown had already begun during Fickell's earliest appearances after being named the 23rd head coach in Ohio State football history.
At his introductory news conference June 13, Fickell seemed uncharacteristically nervous. You could forgive a case of the jitters giving the circumstances, but the new coach seemed overly uneasy especially for someone who had been fairly used to the white, hot television lights during nine seasons on Jim Tressel's coaching staff, the last six as co-defensive coordinator.
But even if you could chalk that first news conference up to a case of the nerves, there was the grimace-inducing appearance six weeks later at the annual Big Ten Media Days when Fickell admitted confusion about the format and exactly what was expected of him in Chicago.
He seemed more than a little ill at ease while reporters fired question after question after question – often times repeating the same question someone had asked only a few minutes earlier – and developed what someone described as "a thousand-yard stare," a piercing, far-off glare that seemed to indicate the new coach was thinking of about a million other places he would rather be.
Since then, however, Fickell has slowly but surely become more comfortable as he faces the daily grind of his new position, especially the constant demands of dealing with the media.
Read the rest by clicking on this link: Rea's Day Blog: Sept. 9.