Land of 10/file photo
The reported loss of cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs is a huge blow for Ohio State.

Ohio State football: What impact will losing Kerry Coombs have on Buckeyes?

Austin Ward

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Make no mistake about it, the loss of Kerry Coombs is absolutely, unquestionably a significant blow for Ohio State. The reportedly soon-to-be staffer with the Tennessee Titans was invaluable to the Buckeyes in so many ways, beyond the obvious in assembling a ridiculous assembly line of NFL-ready, first-round picks at cornerback. Coombs was a relentless recruiter, a jet-fueled battery pack of energy for the program and somebody who developed strong relationships with Ohio State players off the field while commanding respect on it.

So, certainly those are big shoes to fill. But it’s not impossible, since Urban Meyer has proved he can attract top-flight coaches to join his staff and the athletic department has committed the resources needed to hire just about anybody it ever could want. And considering what the next cornerbacks coach would be inheriting with Kendall Sheffield, Damon Arnette and Jeffrey Okudah all returning to lead the unit, there will be a long line of interested candidates. It’s also important to remember at this point that the defensive staff could still be in store for another change if Greg Schiano also jumps to the NFL as a coordinator, which obviously would play a major factor in what Meyer is looking for on the coaching market.

Jeffrey Okudah-Ohio State-Buckeyes-cornerbacks-Kerry Coombs
Ohio State will be plenty appealing to coaches with players such as Jeffrey Okudah coming back. (Land of 10/file photo)

It’s not necessarily a stone-cold lock that Ohio State would need a cornerbacks coach at the moment, with Alex Grinch already on board with ample experience in the secondary and Schiano still with the program. But it feels like a reasonably safe assumption that the Buckeyes will be trying to find somebody to fill a spot in the backend without Coombs around, and there are some options, such as Maryland’s Aazaar Abdul-Rahim or Kentucky’s Steven Clinkscale, who would appear to be strong fits. And while those names figure to be in the mix, pegging down the kinds of moves Meyer has in mind always has been tricky because he’s capable of pulling off surprising home runs like the ones that brought Schiano and Grinch into the fold from off the radar.

But no matter who it is, there will be a lot of pressure to continue the rich tradition that Coombs has built. Ohio State cornerbacks are a prized commodity on the next level, so maybe it’s not a surprise that eventually a team would want to have Coombs come work with NFL talent after producing so much of it in college. It will be fascinating to watch as he now makes the same jump so many of his players have over the last few years, and Ohio State owes its sincere appreciation for the work he did over the last six seasons.

But now it’s going to be up to somebody else to bring that energy, intensity and recruiting success. And this hire will be a crucial one for the Buckeyes.

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