Sorry, kind of had to take a “if you go near the computer I will kill you” day on orders from the wife. Something about the way I have ignored everyone and everything since Wednesday. Has it really only been since Wednesday around noon when all this craziness started? Seems so much longer.
Anyways, by all accounts Mario Cristobal is anywhere from the leading candidate to a done deal (h/t to Scott and several others) — but for the bowl game.
We have learned that Pitt offered the job to Mario Cristobal last night. Cristobal, we are told, asked that they pause the discussions until after FIU’s bowl game (Tuesday night). Class move.
Yes, see how well that worked out for John L. Smith and Louisville when the ESPN crawl announced he was leaving for Michigan St. during the Cards bowl game.
Of course, on Friday many had Luke Fickell the interim HC of Ohio State — also their once and maybe future DC — as being the leader in the clubhouse.
Fickell has interviewed, and just seems to be trying to keep all bridges intact.
Unless he takes the Pitt job, Fickell will return to being a Buckeyes assistant coach. Meyer said this week that Fickell will call the defensive signals, though there has not been a formal announcement that Fickell will be the defensive coordinator.
Fickell said that the last few days have been a blur and that a timetable for resolution is unclear.
“A lot of things going on,” Fickell said. “I don’t know anything more than that. I don’t know where they are or what they want to do. They’ve at least mentioned (the job) and reached out a little bit.
“But I don’t know what the situation really is. I’m not sure where they want to go yet. I don’t know what their timetable is.”
Fickell acknowledged that he spoke with Pederson “maybe Thursday.”
On Friday, Fickell was in Hershey, Pa., along with Meyer and OSU linebackers coach Mike Vrabel to see elite prospect Noah Spence play in his high school state championship game.
When Fickell accepted Meyer’s offer to be on his staff, he said he hadn’t given up on his goal to be a head coach again someday.
Noah Spence, by the way, just committed to the Buckeyes.
Paul Chryst the Wisconsin OC is known to have interviewed but went with the standard “no comment.” Chryst seems to be the distant third choice based on the buzz. That makes sense. Chryst has a lot of support from Wisconsin folks to get the job — but they would also be happy to keep him. Chryst, though, has absolutely zero reputation with recruiting. With some reports suggesting a disdain for it.
I sympathize, because recruiting does seem like an absolutely miserable thing. But it is absolutely what a head coach must do, and want to do. Luke Fickell is a really good recruiter, as is Mario Cristobal who gets labeled as “relentless” and “tireless” even by the AD at rival FAU.
Cristobal would be my first choice. He’s done a good job winning at FIU — where no one had before. He has a solid resume as an assistant and as a recruiter. He has recruited for Miami and he’s recruited for Rutgers. Plus, with Pitt’s looming move to the ACC, hiring a coach that has stronger recruiting ties in the southeast seems more logical.
Fickell wouldn’t be bad in my mind either. No question he would help in the local recruiting battles (see, Noah Spence), and he would keep Ohio State a little off-balance. When Urban Meyer came to Florida there was one assistant he held over from the Ron Zook era. A defensive coach who was considered the best recruiter on the staff — Charlie Strong.
You always worry about stepping stones but the same could be said for Luke Fickell if another Big 10 job opened up in a few years. The fact is, Pitt can’t let the fear of a coach leaving for another job be an overriding concern. There has to be some sort of faith.