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Buckeye Football Notebook: 'Good defenses create turnovers and great defenses score'
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell is coaching his last game or two with the Buckeyes and he is hoping to go out with a bang. Win or lose, however, he is comfortable leaving now, which is something that he couldn't always say in the past.

"Obviously, there was some situations a few years ago and it was tough," Fickell said. "My No. 1 thing with Coach (Meyer) was I do not ever want to leave on a bad note or something that's not better than when I got here. If I would have taken off at that time for whatever reason, I would have felt like I left when the times were bad or when things were down.

"That's when it's the hardest to look at those kids. The greatest thing that could happen to me is be able to walk away from these kids knowing that I've reached them and given them everything and walked away from a better position than when you got it."

Ideally, Fickell will depart following another national title win, but even if he doesn't, he knows this defense is better off now than it was in the past.

"Whether it was the Pitt thing or we had a bad year in 2013 or whatever it was with this, that, and the other," he said. "You had some options, you had some things that were possibilities, but deep down in my heart I could never feel like I left something that wasn't finished. Hopefully this could be a cap off and finish things the right way."

Buckeye senior kicker Tyler Durbin was rather fantastic this regular season, entering the Michigan game 16-of-17 on field goal attempts. As you know, he would go on to miss two against Michigan before making his third attempt. What was the issue? Urban Meyer chalked it up to nerves, but added that he's not going to get too involved in trying to fix any perceived problems.

"Yeah, the ball was down and everything, but we didn't get much into it," he said. "I learned a long time ago that if I trust the guys who are doing their job, I don't over-manage or micromanage that operation, and you're dealing with Cam Johnston who's the boss of that group. They'll be fine."

There is always pressure on kickers when the game is on the line, but Durbin eventually came through. Did Meyer have to lift Durbin's spirits after the game in order to get him back on track?

"I'm not the best 'lifting up' guy there is," he said. "I do love him, he will be our kicker in the playoff game and he's got all the talent in the world. He did miss two of them, but he came back and hit the one that got us there. He'll be fine, we just have to, in our own way, lift him up."

Junior college transfer Malcolm Pridgeon recently had his black stripe removed in practice, which got some fans wondering if maybe he would be an option to play during the playoffs given the struggles of right tackle Isaiah Prince.

Pridgeon missed the regular season due to knee surgery and even though he is now back practicing with the Buckeyes, Meyer said he is not going to play this year and will redshirt.

"He's going to be a very good player here," Meyer said. "He's not prepared to play, he's practicing with us just as an individual, no scout work yet. He's a guy that we all love the death. He's gone above and beyond what we've asked of him. He has two years left though, so he'll play for us."

Page 2: The key to scoring on defense?; How many games is too many?; What convinced Mike Weber to become a Buckeye?

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