‘Not about me’: Fickell desires focus on UW-OSU

Oct 23, 2023, 03:28 PM ET

MADISON, Wis.– Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell wants to keep the focus off himself as the previous Ohio State nose guard and interim head coach leads the Badgers against his alma mater.

“It’s not about me,” Fickell said at his Monday news conference. “I understand we have some guys on our staff– myself consisted of– that have some obvious history there, whether they went to school there or played there. But that’s not what it’s about.”

But after going through comparable scenarios a few times currently, Fickell understands the concerns will come as the Badgers (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) prepare to host the No. 3 Buckeyes (7-0, 4-0) on Saturday night.Editor’s Picks 2 Associated Fickell was born in Columbus,

Ohio, the site of Ohio State’s campus. He began 50 straight games for Ohio State from 1994-96. He invested the 1999 season there as a graduate assistant and was an assistant for the Buckeyes from 2002-16, making him a part of two championship game teams.He worked as an assistant coach on Jim Tressel’s personnel, posted a 6-7

record as interim head coach in 2011 following Tressel’s resignation and remained on a co-defensive organizer on Urban Meyer’s staff for five seasons.Fickell is barely the only Wisconsin coach with ties to Ohio State.Defensive coordinator Mike Tressel, who worked as a

Buckeyes graduate assistant from 2002-03, is Jim Tressel’s nephew.

Cornerbacks coach Paul Haynes was an assistant coach at Ohio State from 2005-11. Fickell has faced his university two times in the past. He was Akron’s protective line coach in 2001 when the Zips lost 28-14 at Ohio State.

He was head coach at Cincinnati in 2019 when the Bearcats checked out Ohio State and fell 42-0. He says those experiences taught him the attention need to go to the players instead of to any coaches who might have connections to both schools.

“It’s about our team,”Fickell stated. “It has to do with our program. It has to do with the journey we’re on and the procedure we remain in, not the specifics of, ‘Hey, you

went to school there. Hey, you played there. Hey, you’ve got guys on your personnel from there.’When the ball’s started, that will have absolutely no effect on anything that occurs on that field. So we try to just focus on the things that will have the greatest effect on Saturday night.”Wisconsin’s focus will be stopping Ohio State’s recent dominance of this series.The Buckeyes have actually won their last nine conferences with Wisconsin, including a 52-21 blowout last season. Wisconsin’s last triumph came in 2010, when the 18th-ranked Badgers beat a top-ranked Ohio State group 31-18 in Madison.Wisconsin enters this game with some momentum after removing a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit Saturday in a 25-21 success at Illinois. That marked the first time given that 2018 that the Badgers had actually won a Big Ten

game after routing by at least 14 points.Fickell, who is in his debut season at Wisconsin, said the Badgers showed a various level of will, passion and strength throughout that return than he ‘d seen from them.”That was probably to me more amazing than the win itself, was to see how

our guys managed, how they came back and to show that will which enthusiasm that I needed to see from us, “Fickell stated.

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