In his last scheduled press appearance of the week Wednesday, Fickell did his best to keep the focus on the squad's next task, a season-ending clash with archrival Michigan, despite reports continuing to surface that someone else will be in his place next year.
Asked if he would address reports, starting at BuckeyeSports.com late last week and spreading throughout the Internet in the following days, that Urban Meyer will take over the program in the coming weeks or even days, Fickell replied, "No, I won't. It's not about that."
On Wednesday, Fickell preferred to make sure talk centered on the 108th meeting between the Buckeyes and Wolverines. It is scheduled to kick off just after noon on Saturday at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
"I'm going to have enough respect for this football game to make sure it's about this football game," Fickell said. "I don't think this is the time or the place. This is the most historic rivalry in college football and sports in general. We're going to talk about the football game. That's the most important thing. I don't care what the situation is. That's what we've talked about in our offices. That's the focus we've got, and that's where we're going to continue to move forward."
Asked later if anyone from Ohio State had told him a decision on a future coach had been made, Fickell did not relent on his position.
"I know there's a game on Saturday and my ass will be there," he said.
Meyer has been considered the favorite for some time, but BuckeyeSports.com insiders indicate his hiring moved significantly closer to a reality in the past week. Scout Ohio Recruiting Analyst Bill Greene reported via Twitter on Tuesday his sources indicated Meyer and Ohio State had come to an agreement for him to be the next coach.
The former Ohio State graduate assistant won two national championships during a six-year stint as head coach at Florida from 2005-10 but stepped down following last season with the stated desire to spend more time with his family. One year earlier, he took a leave of absence because of health concerns.
He has spent this season working as a college football analyst for ESPN, and his current employer released a statement Wednesday morning regarding continuing reports he will lead the Buckeyes next season. The most recent came from Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch just before Fickell held his regularly scheduled press availability.
"I have not been offered any job nor is there a deal in place," said Meyer, who is scheduled to work in the studio this weekend. "I plan on spending Thanksgiving with my family and will not comment on this any further."
Back in Columbus, there was some talk about the actual game scheduled for Saturday.
Three starters for Ohio State – linebacker Andrew Sweat (head), safety Christian Bryant (undisclosed) and wide receiver Philly Brown (shoulder) – were labeled questionable at the beginning of the week, and Fickell offered little update on either of them.
"It's still early," Fickell said. "We've got a few guys we've got to see how they do today. Andrew is one of those guys – if there is a guy who's got a chance to be out there, they're going to be out there. Sometimes when you're dealing with the head or the neck, you've got to put that in the hands of the people who know what they're talking about."