During his press conference Wednesday morning, Ryan Day announced that former special teams coordinator and assistant secondary coach Matt Barnes has been elevated to secondary coach. Day said this move will allow Kerry Coombs more flexibility in working with the defense as the sole defensive coordinator, adding that no one will be taking over Greg Mattison’s co-defensive coordinator title.
“(Barnes) will do this job better than anyone else in the country,” Day said.
Additionally, Parker Fleming, who had been the special team’s quality control coach for the past three seasons, has been promoted to special teams coordinator. Day said the team feels Fleming is a “wealth of knowledge” and that he believes in what they do.
While both coaches have been on staff for a combined five years, it’s worth getting to know who will be running our special teams and secondary this season — both of which have some issues and talent replacement to address.
Five things to know about Parker Fleming
- Fleming was the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas State before joining Ohio State as a quality control coach in 2018—Urban Meyer’s final season. He was also present for Meyer’s first two seasons in 2012 and 2013, working as a graduate assistant with both the offense and special teams.
- Before his time at Texas State, Fleming was a wide receivers coach at James Madison, where he mentored All-CAA wide receiver Daniel Brown, who is now with the New York Jets. According to jmusports.com, “the 2014 receiving core was part of the CAA’s most-prolific offense, as they accounted for over 70 percent of the team’s receiving yards and 27 of 30 receiving scores.”
- Before his graduate assistant stint at Ohio State, Fleming was the quarterbacks coach at Capital University (2011) and at his high school in Decatur, Georgia (2010).
- Fleming was in charge of the recruitment of former Ohio State punter Cameron Johnston, and was tasked with teaching him the game of American football.
- The new special teams coordinator is more than up for the task. He’s spent the last three years working very closely with the group, which allowed Barnes to spend more time with the secondary. In 2019, Barnes was quoted saying he has the “best quality control coach in the country.”
“He’s been a major, major help to me and helped me bridge the gap in where there were maybe some differences in the terminology from things that I was used to, to what had been done here. He’s been integral in that meshing,” Barnes said.
Five things to know about Matt Barnes
- Barnes joined Ryan Day’s coaching staff in 2019 as assistant secondary coach and special teams coordinator after serving as linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Maryland from 2016-2018.
- His coaching career has consisted of many different teams and many different roles. He began his coaching career in 2009 as the running backs coach for Delaware Valley University before getting hired for the same position at West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2010. In 2011, Barnes was promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for West Virginia Wesleyan. His first Division I coaching opportunity came in 2012, when the University of Florida took him on as a graduate assistant with a primary focus on defense and special teams. And finally, in 2015, before heading to Maryland and ultimately Ohio State, he was a defensive analyst at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh (we’ll let that one go).
- Barnes has a knack for coaching defenses. Maryland linebacker Tre Watson tallied 281 tackles in three seasons under Barnes, and was a second-team All-America selection and first-team All-Big Ten. Barnes also worked directly with linebacker Jermaine Carter, who led the Terps and ranked third in the Big Ten with 110 tackles in 2016 and who now plays for the Carolina Panthers. After his 2015 season in Michigan, the Wolverines’ defensive closed the season as the nation’s eleventh best scoring defense and fourth overall group in yards allowed per game. Before that, while working directly under Florida’s defensive coordinator, Barnes assisted a 2014 Gator defense that ranked 15th nationally in total defense and 10th in defensive pass efficiency.
- He is a 2008 graduate of Salisbury University on Maryland’s eastern shore, where he was elected as team captain by teammates and was a candidate for the Draddy Trophy Award— now known as the William V. Campbell Trophy— which is awarded by the National Football Foundation given to the college football player with the best combination of academics, community service, and on-field performance.
- While Kerry Coombs was finishing out his time in Tennessee before returning to Ohio State last year, Barnes was called upon to help with the recruitment of defensive backs. And while he wasn’t exactly at Coombs’ level, he definitely didn’t disappoint. He is credited with safety Jantzen Dunn’s and punter Jesse Mirco’s commitment, and helped with the recruitment of cornerback Jakailin Johnson and safety Andre Turrentine.