This past week, many open coaching positions were filled. While Ohio State fans revel in the undefeated regular season of 2012, and head coach Urban Meyer's Buckeye coaching staff actively recruits talent for the upcoming 2013 season, how do these coaching changes impact Ohio State?
At the time of this writing, not all of the coaching positions have been filled. Below are some early assessments on the coaching positions that have been filled by California and Purdue, and how the Buckeyes may be looking at these changes.
California Golden Bears
Who Is Leaving? Jeff Tedford
Who Is The New Coach? Sonny Dykes. Dykes arrives in Berkeley via Louisiana Tech. A former offensive coordinator under ex-Texas Tech head coach and current Washington State head coach Mike Leach, Dykes will be taking over a California program that fell to a 3-9 record in 2012. Among those nine losses was a close 35-28 defeat at the hands of the Buckeyes in Ohio Stadium on September 15, 2012.
Impact Upon The Buckeyes? Short term impact, but an impact on the 2013 season for the Buckeyes nonetheless: Ohio State travels out to Berkeley to play California on September 14, 2013. This game against California will mark Ohio State's first road game of the season.
Considering how high the expectations are for Ohio State with the 2013 season, combined with how Ohio State had to rally for a victory against California in 2012, Sonny Dykes' impressive coaching track record, how California will be starting a highly-touted quarterback in Zach Kline, and how Ohio State's defense struggled at the onset of the 2012 season, this should make for interesting viewing by Buckeye fans. Dykes' (and new Cal OC Tony Franklin, his running mate at Louisiana Tech) tend to operate an offense that goes a mile a minute. Between these fireworks and those of Tom Herman and Urban Meyers' respective attack, it should make for an action packed 60 minutes of football.
Who Is Leaving? Danny Hope
Who Is The New Coach? Darrell Hazell. Hazell arrives in West Lafayette via Kent State. Hazell is very familiar to Ohio State fans, as he served as Ohio State's wide receivers coach from 2004 through 2010. Among the Buckeye wide receivers Hazell helped to develop into NFL players are former standouts Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonazlez, Roy Hall, Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline, and Dane Sanzenbacher.
Impact Upon The Buckeyes? Considerable, when Ohio State fans remember that Purdue is in the same division (currently) as the Buckeyes. Ohio State is scheduled to play at Purdue on November 2, 2013. Ohio State rallied to defeat Purdue 29-22 in overtime on October 20, 2012.
Another question as it relates to Ohio State will be the Purdue coaching staff. Former Ohio State linebacker Marcus Freeman currently coaches linebackers for Kent State, and could be lured to Purdue by Hazell. Other possible Purdue assistants could be former Ohio State offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Jim Bollman, who was recently let go by Boston College, former Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock, and current Kent State wide receivers coach and former Buckeye wide receiver Thad Jemison. All have ties to Hazell, either in the past or present, and all have extensive Buckeye ties.
Remembering that Ohio State has lost both of the last two trips (2009, 2011) to West Lafayette, how Purdue nearly defeated Ohio State this past season, and how good of a coach Darrell Hazell is, Ohio State fans will not want to overlook the Boilermakers. This could be the ultimate spoiler opportunity for Purdue, late in the 2013 season, when Ohio State will be hoping to finalize a possible national championship run.
Part two of this series will look at two other programs that have recently undergone coaching changes – Wisconsin and Cincinnati.