Luke Fickell has uncomfortable meeting with Mike Houston, apologizes
Luke Fickell and Mike Houston met in the middle of the field following Cincinnati’s 55-17 drubbing of East Carolina on Friday night for what appeared to be an uncomfortable meeting.
Both men had masks on, but neither appeared to be smiling during their postgame conversation, which lasted nearly a minute.
Cincinnati's and East Carolina's head coaches had a lengthy exchange after the Bearcats ran the score up to 55-17 in the final minutes. pic.twitter.com/shmABfqiSD
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 14, 2020
The two did not shake hands or embrace or show any sort of warmth. Some of that could be attributed to wanting to maintain distance because of COVID-19, but there’s likely more to it than that.
Cincinnati appeared to run up the score in the win. They successfully ran a fake punt on a fourth down play up 42-10 with under eight minutes left. The Bearcats also broke a 75-yard touchdown run up 49-17 with under 20 seconds left. Those kinds of moves could very easily have annoyed Houston.
In fact, Fickell apologized after the game for the fake punt.
Luke Fickell: “Quick apology to coach Houston. 42-10 and we had a fake punt. It wasn’t exactly something we planned or called. But would not want to do it in that situation. It is what it is, but you can’t take it back."
— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) November 14, 2020
Moves like that could be interpreted as trying to embarrass your opponent. However, with eight minutes left, the game is still somewhat in question even with a 32-point lead. But scoring with 15 seconds left in a 32-point game is beyond unnecessary.
The outcome of the game was somewhat expected. Fickell’s Bearcats are now 7-0, while East Carolina is 1-6. Some coaches are bothered by opponents running up the score, while others are not.
Photo: Paula Lively/Flickr via cc-by 2.0