Ahead of even health and maintaining focus, Urban Meyer’s top priority during Ohio State’s off-week is to eliminate the threat of any unnecessary distractions that could potentially derail the Buckeyes’ quest for a second consecutive undefeated season.
And not just the kind that could come from his players.
Despite a report from Dieter Kurtenbach of The Sun Sentinel that stated otherwise, Meyer said that Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell has not interviewed for the vacant head coaching position at Florida Atlantic. And until the Buckeyes’ season comes to a close, Meyer insists that Fickell’s focus will remain on the team that he’s currently coaching.
“He did not interview,” Meyer stated, matter of factly. “He better not have.”
Since Carl Pelini stepped down as the head coach at FAU a week ago amongst allegations of illegal drug use, Fickell has reportedly been Owls' athletic director Patrick Chun’s top choice for the job. Prior to taking over the FAU athletic department, Chun spent 15 years at Ohio State as an administrator.
But despite Chun’s apparent interest in Fickell, who guided the Buckeyes to a 6-7 season as an interim head coach in 2011, Meyer said that none of his assistants are allowed to interview for other positions until after the season. The second-year OSU head coach detailed the process that would lead to another school hiring one of his employees, which ideally would not occur with three games remaining in the regular season.
“The AD calls the head football coach. The assistant comes in and says, ‘They have an interest in me, what would be the right time?’” Meyer detailed. “My answer is, ‘Do not disrupt this team.'
"There’s absolutely no interviewing going on during this time. No chance.”
Meyer has previously stated that he requests a two-year commitment from his assistant coaches, and each coach on the OSU staff is currently in his second season under Meyer. With the Buckeyes’ recent string of success, Meyer knows that losing assistants after this season is likely -- if not inevitable -- but his preference remains to keep this season distraction-free, even in the off-weeks.