- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The fire inside is burning hot enough as it is.
Reflecting all the way back to his days as a youth wrestler, Luke Fickell has always tried to put more pressure to perform on himself than anybody could place on him on the outside.
So the Ohio State defensive coordinator isn't about the change his approach after his unit allowed 49 points in a narrow win over Indiana on Saturday, though he joked that he might seek out some of the public opinions of his work if he thought it might dial up the internal temperature even further.
"If you can put more pressure on me than I put on myself -- I don’t how you could," Fickell said during his Monday press conference. "We could give up 14 points and for some reason I’m not going to sleep at night thinking, ‘Wow, what could we have done better.’
"The outside pressures, I don’t know, I don’t feel it. If they’re harder or stronger than what I put on myself, maybe I should go read about it."
The Buckeyes provided plenty to write about defensively after a second sloppy outing in as many games, following up the 38 points they gave up against Nebraska with a trip to Indiana that included 481 yards allowed and a much tighter score than expected.
The program is still undefeated and the offense has certainly contributed greatly on the way to those seven wins and a spot in the top 10. But the defense currently ranks No. 10 in the conference in total defense, and the recent troubles haven't gone unnoticed by coach Urban Meyer -- who vowed to take a more active approach in getting that corrected and gave a speech to the entire unit and the coaching staff during a meeting on Sunday.
Fickell had no complaints about that appearance to start the week from Meyer, and he indicated it was a positive to have him more involved. But just like with the exterior conversations about the Buckeyes, he also didn't really need to be told that improvements were mandatory if they're going to stay perfect or contend for titles down the road.
"If we would have walked out of there after giving up 31, to be honest with you, I’d have had the same pit in my stomach," Fickell said. "We’re never satisfied with what we’ve got, but we can’t lose sight of the No. 1 most important thing is to win and get better.
"Is there a pit? Yes. Does it make it hard to sleep? Yes. But what do you do? You can whine, you can fold up your tent, start to complain or you can go back to work and find a way to get better."
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