USC fired Clay Helton after six years as head coach Monday, and Cincinnati’s Luke Fickellimmediately emerged as a top candidate for the job. In fact, according to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, the gig is Fickell’s if he wants it.
With so much smoke around his candidacy, Fickell was asked Tuesday about the Trojans’ opening. Fickell, however, made it clear his mind is set on one thing.
“We can’t even talk about Indiana yet, huh,” Fickell told reporters at a weekly press conference ahead of the No. 8 Bearcats’ game Saturday at Indiana. “I know nothing. No, we know nothing. Look, I don’t talk to anybody — I barely talk to my own family during the season.
So I wouldn’t ever talk about it, nor would I even answer a phone call or anything like that. So I know nothing, nor does it make me have interest. So it’s not a big deal. It’s nothing but distractions if people allow it to be. And for us, it can’t be.”
Fickell’s ties to the Trojans go deeper than mere speculation. Current USC athletic director Mike Bohn hired Fickell at Cincinnati shortly after the 2016 football season wrapped up. Since then, Fickell has become one of college football’s rising stars.
He holds a career record of 37-14 with the Bearcats, transforming them into fringe College Football Playoff contenders over the past couple of seasons. Following a 9-0, 2020 campaign, Cincinnati took Georgia to the wire in the Peach Bowl. The program recently entered the Associated Press Top 25 poll’s top 10.
“I also want to say that this is the greatest thing that can happen for us, because it is a reflection on what these guys have done on the football field,” Fickell said. “There are some great things about if that’s what is being talked about. It has nothing to do with me.
It has to do with what Desmond Ridder and Myjai Sanders and Ahmad Gardner and those guys have done to put our program in the light. I hope that there are a lot of those calls and things like that at the end of the year. Because at the end of the year, if you’re playing really good ball, those things are going to happen.