He probably doesn’t want you to know, but Luke Fickell still feels those losses he suffered against Michigan as a player.
He was the starting nose tackle as a redshirt freshman at Ohio State when the Buckeyes lost 28-0 in Ann Arbor in 1993.
He was part of the defense Tim Biakabatuka shredded there two years later, too.
And maybe the most bitter pill came in 1996, a day that unlike this Saturday the offense never woke up and the second-ranked Buckeyes lost 13-9.
But 20 years after Shawn Springs slipped and Tai Streets ruined Fickell’s Senior Day, the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator was beaming in the southwest tower at Ohio Stadium.
And why not? He had just locked up his 14th pair of gold pants, including 13 as an assistant coach, first for Jim Tressel and now Urban Meyer. (He might have one more if not for an overthrown deep ball at Michigan in 2011 when he was interim head coach, but that’s another story.)
Fickell confirmed those disappointments from his playing days have never left him, but they’ve also made days like Saturday that much more satisfying.