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Ryan Day doesn’t give any insight on Kerry Coombs rumors

The Buckeyes have still not yet named a replacement for Jeff Hafley

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Tennessee Titans v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

“Ohio State football coach Ryan Day still has a significant vacancy on his coaching staff — at least publicly. At his first press conference since the Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson, Day would not confirm widespread speculation that Kerry Coombs will return to OSU as defensive coordinator when the Tennessee Titans’ season concludes.”

- Nathan Baird,

Ryan Day spoke at a press conference on Wednesday for the first time since losing to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. While the first-year headman acknowledged that going 13-1 with a Big Ten Championship is still a great season, he admitted that the Buckeyes did not reach all of their goals by falling short in the College Football Playoff, and he says “that keeps us wanting more.” Day touched on a lot of points in his presser, but one issue he did not quite elaborate on is finding a replacement for secondary coach Jeff Hafley.

We are almost a full month removed from Hafley being named the new head coach at Boston College, with that announcement coming on Dec. 16. Hafley was instrument in turning Ohio State’s secondary into one of the most dominant units in the country, and helped produce a top-five NFL Draft pick in Jeff Okudah while drastically improving Damon Arnette into an NFL product in his final season. At a place like OSU, you would expect to hear some rumblings about potential candidates to replace Hafley by now. Unless, however, Day already knew he had his guy, but had to wait for the NFL playoffs to end.

That is where Kerry Coombs comes in. Many have pegged him to make his return following the end of the Tennessee Titans playoff run. Coombs, who previously coached Ohio State cornerbacks from 2012-17 left to join the Titans as a secondary coach before the 2018 season. Coombs played a big role in helping Tennessee rank No. 8 in interceptions during the regular season and also pull off two huge upsets in the playoffs against the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens — intercepting Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson three times in the process.

An Ohio native, Coombs is a Buckeye through and through. Ohio State certainly doesn’t mind waiting for his playoff run to end to make things official, especially if he is bringing back with him a shiny new Super Bowl trophy to entice recruits on his pedigree. Day claimed at his press conference that there has not been any kind of secret hire yet, saying the team is still “going through it,” in the coaching search. It seems at this point, however, that the longer this drags on, the more likely it is that Coombs is the guy.

We have reached prime transfer portal season in college football, and the latest player to enter his name is Ohio State defensive end Alex Williams, per a report by Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel. Williams was three-star recruit out of Pickerington, OH, and played in just 64 snaps over five games in this his redshirt freshman season. He was originally committed to West Virginia, but flipped to OSU during the 2017 Early Signing Period.

As you could imagine, it is tough to crack the depth chart on the Buckeyes defensive line with all the talent that has come through Columbus in recent years. As a result, Williams did not get to see the field much, and that was not likely to change with the crop of defensive ends on the roster in 2020. The move brings Ohio State to now 87 players on scholarship for next season, still needing to find some way to get it down to the 85-man limit.

Pro Fooball Focus released its list of the top 25 wide receivers returning to college football in 2020, and Ohio State wideout Chris Olave was not satisfied with his ranking. PFF ranked the soon-to-be junior receiver at No. 10 among returning pass-catchers, and Olave wants to prove them wrong.

Olave led the Buckeyes in receiving this season with 840 yards and a team-high 12 touchdowns. The sophomore averaged a whopping 17.5 yards per play, and quickly became a favorite target of quarterback Justin Fields. According to PFF, Olave created separation between himself and the defender better than any other receiver in college football. On targets of 10-plus yards past the line of scrimmage, Olave had two or more steps of separation 57 percent of the time — good for best in the nation and 23 percent higher than the average. His five touchdowns and seven catches on targets 30-plus yards downfield also led the country.

The star wideout’s season ended on a really sour note, as his incorrect judgement of Fields in the pocket led to a decision to change his route, ultimately ending up resulting in the game-ending interception against Clemson. In his presser, coach Day said Olave took the play really hard. “I’m not sure he ate solid food for three or four days after that game. He was crushed ... but nobody cares more than Chris. He’s hungry, and I think he’s gonna be a leader in that room.” Day said.

The star wide receiver is sure to make that play into a teaching moment, and there is no doubt he will come back even better next year to lead a deep and talented group of wide receivers.

Fellow Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson also made PFF’s list at No. 24, with LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase leading the pack at No. 1.

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