Urban Meyer talked Monday about assembling the best coaching staff in America at Ohio State.
He's off to a good start with Luke Fickell.
Fickell will remain Ohio State's head coach for the team's upcoming bowl game and then return to an assistant role on Meyer's staff. While Meyer didn't specify Fickell's future title, he said Fickell will have a significant role. I'm thinking assistant head coach and/or defensive coordinator.
Meyer said the two men and their wives had a lengthy dinner meeting, and Meyer and Fickell met for coffee before he asked Fickell to be a part of the staff.
"There's no doubt I wanted him to be a part of this team," Meyer said. "And he was very open, shook my hand with a big smile on his face."
Meyer called it "a very good moment for Ohio State."
Some will point out the awkwardness for Fickell and the players to see the head coach for the 2011 season return to an assistant role. But the positives outweigh the potential negatives here.
Fickell was an excellent assistant coach under Jim Tressel, on the field and especially on the recruiting trail, where Meyer wants to make a big splash locally and nationally. Fickell can sell Ohio State's program better than just about anyone, and he'll be a valuable asset to his new boss, both in keeping current commits on board for 2012 and in adding new members to the recruiting class.
He'll also help maintain Ohio State's standard of excellence on defense, the unit I believe will determine whether Meyer brings a national championship to Columbus.
Also, if Meyer indeed has changed his approach following his health scare, he'll need to relinquish some control and delegate responsibilities a bit better. Fickell has sat in the head coach's chair. He has handled many duties in a very stressful situation. If Meyer needs help or a sounding board, Fickell can fill the role.
"I know what kind of guy he is," Meyer said. "He's an Ohio guy. He's a Buckeye. I knew him from afar. I watched closely how he handled this situation. I thought he's a man's man. Obviously, he's everything you hope for Ohio State, former player."
It will be interesting to see who else Meyer names to his staff. But he made a good call by keeping Fickell.