When it was announced that Jeff Hafley would be leaving his position as the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach for the Ohio State Buckeyes following just one season in Columbus, many fans began throwing out the name of a former fan-favorite assistant coach as a potential replacement. That name was of the always excitable, flag-planting, first-round-draftee-preparing Kerry Coombs.
BREAKING: Kerry Coombs is set to reunite with Ohio State.— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) January 20, 2020
The Buckeyes will officially announce the return of the famed defensive backs coach as a coordinator this afternoon following two seasons with the Tennessee Titans. https://t.co/wwFSFvHhg9
Well, following two seasons as the secondary coach for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, Coombs is now officially coming home to rejoin the OSU staff. The Titans lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday 35-24, ending their season one win away from the Super Bowl. The loss opened the door for OSU head coach Ryan Day to (finally) make the announcement that all Buckeye fans have been anticipating for nearly a month.
Koombs coached under former Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer for six seasons (2012-17) before joining the staff of former OSU colleague Mike Vrabel with the Titans in January 2018. He served as Ohio State’s cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator before being promoted to assistant defensive coordinator.
From 2014 to 2018, Coombs and the Buckeyes had five corners selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, and every starting corner that Coombs coached at OSU ended up in the NFL. The former Cincinnati Colerain head coach was also one of the most prolific recruiters in recent Ohio State memory.
While losing Hafley was certainly an unexpected blow to Day’s coaching staff, getting Coombs back with his recently acquired NFL credibility should soften the loss. The two major questions that this hire brings are, 1) how much (if any) impact will Coombs’ return have on the 2020 recruiting class before National Signing Day on Feb. 5?
And 2) with Day’s defense going to be less press-man coverage focus, how will Coombs adapt his style to the new philosophy in Columbus?
I would not be surprised if Shaun Wade knew of this impending hire, and that influenced his decision to hold off on entering the Draft. With four-star athlete Cameron Martinez still committed to OSU, yet unsigned, it would not be out of the realm of possibilities that Coombs’ return could secure the Gatorade Michigan Football Player of the Year.