“We pride ourselves on people calling at the end of the year, whether it’s for me or your coordinators or those juniors that they want to come out for the draft because they’re playing really, really good football. It’s a compliment to all if somebody is bringing anything like that up.
“I don’t normally listen until even January when you start to read some things, but this is a crazy world – a crazy business,” he added. “I think it does nothing more than show a lot of us that stability is great in this business. When you can create some stability and the things that are around you, the grass is not always greener. If you are going to spend any time thinking about it, it does make you realize what great fortunes you have to be building something and have some stability, not just for you as a person and you as a family guy, but you as a program and the kids in your program.”
Last week’s ongoing Big 12 developments may have played a role in Cincinnati coming out a bit flat in this past Saturday’s 42-7 win over Murray (Ky.) State. The Bearcats, coming off a 49-14 romp over Miami in the season-opener, and Racers – a Football Championship Subdivision team that plays in the Ohio Valley Conference – were tied, 7-7, at halftime. Cincinnati, responding to Ridder’s impassioned halftime speech, got three touchdown runs from 5-foot-11, 220-pound fourth-year junior running back Jerome Ford in the second half.
“It fired us all up, hearing Des pop off,” Ford, a transfer from Alabama in his second Cincinnati season, said about Ridder, the Bearcats’ fifth-year senior quarterback. “It got us all going. It was great showing how much power Des has. When he speaks, everybody listens. He’s a great leader.”
Fickell admitted to being distracted by the press conference that interrupted Friday’s final preparations for Murray State.
“That drives me nuts,” he said after Saturday’s win. “This is such an exciting time and a big opportunity – not just for the team and the university, but for the city and the fan base – but it’s hard when you’re dealing with 18- and 22-year-old kids and their ability to stay locked in and focused on knowing that we’re going to get everybody’s best shot. It’s a great growing experience to be challenged and have to face real adversity.”
The 2-0 Bearcats, who dropped a notch from seventh to eighth in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll, are likely to face their biggest challenge of the young season in the 1-1 Hoosiers, who include on their roster third-year sophomore defensive back Deland McCullough II, a transfer from Miami. Indiana bounced back from a season-opening 34-6 conference loss at Iowa with a 56-14 home win over FCS Idaho.
Cincinnati at Indiana, Noon, ESPN