Five for Friday: Salary Incentives for the Ohio State Defensive Coaches
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Now that Ohio State's two new defensive assistant football coaches have been officially announced, it was only a matter of time before their salaries would be known. Per a report from The Lantern, new co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash will make $520,000 this year and new defensive line coach Larry Johnson will be making $400,000.
Both figures are lower than were expected, but the economy has apparently hit all of us hard, including Ohio State. Of course, those are just base salaries, and there will certainly be incentives laid out for them to get their pay up a notch or two. What might those incentives be, you ask? Well, I've got a few suggestions.
1. $25,000 for every linebacker blitz that actually gets to the quarterback.
If Ash is going to be calling the plays on defense – which is still apparently an “if” – then how well his blitzes work could end up making him quite a bit of money in my world of make believe. Last season we saw a number of blitzes from the linebackers that did nothing but vacate a zone for an offense to pass into. Next year, however, it could be a financial boon. Though he'd probably be kicking himself for not getting a chance to talk Ryan Shazier into staying.
2. $5,000 for every one-on-one tackle in space.
This one again applies to Ash, who has DVDs which teach tackling. It's time to put his teaching where his mouth is, or something like that. It's been a while since we've seen a fantastic tackling team at Ohio State. In fact, it didn't used to be a surprise when a player was brought down in one-on-one situations. Now, however, it's a moment of wonder and amazement. If Ash can turn it into the routine he could be living a Bieber lifestyle within 18 months.
3. $37,500 for every time a defensive back looks back for the ball. (And an additional $12,500 if they also make a play on it.)
Ash is considered a specialist of the secondary, and getting defensive backs to turn and look for the ball is pretty much the advanced calculus of football. If Ash can actually get his defensive backs to look back for the ball he should be handsomely rewarded for it. though I would worry that he would eventually become too much about the money and coach his players to never take their eyes off the quarterback, which is no way to cover a receiver.
4. $7.36 for every pick six against Penn State. This would go to the coach of whichever position actually makes the play. Since this is such an extremely common occurrence, it makes no financial sense to make this much of an incentive. The $7.36 is basically just to cover the coach's celebratory Wendy's drive thru on the way home after the game.
5. $250 for every third and long that is stopped via a three-man rush. Conversely, a fine of $2,500 will be levied for every first down on third and long that is given up via a three-man rush.
Any coach can gamble with somebody else's chips, but what happens when those chips are coming out of his own wallet? Sure, you might say that a fine of $2,500 isn't incentive enough to keep Ash from going with a three-man rush, but I would remind you that he took a pay cut to come to Columbus, and the cost of living is much higher in Ohio than it is in Arkansas. After all, you can purchase a week's worth of groceries in Arkansas with little more than a raccoon pelt or two. Whereas in Ohio, $2,500 can barely keep your tennis court heated for three weeks.
Bonus: $450,000 for every Bosa signed in a recruiting class.
This one is pretty self-explanatory and goes for every coach on the roster. It's essentially the Power Ball of coaching incentives.
Bonus: $12,500 for every game in which a tight end doesn't get behind the defense in the redzone.
If the Buckeyes were to play in 15 games next season and never give up a touchdown to a tight end that gets behind the defense, in my world Ash would be looking at a $187,500 bonus. I know what you're thinking though, you're thinking that this will only fund his usage of the three-man rush. However, I would make that particular incentive/fine due each week, whereas this incentive would not be paid off until the end of the season. It might not be the ultimate deterrent, but at least it's something.
Bonus: $75,000 for every defensive lineman who gets through the Navy game without any knee injuries; and a $50,000 fine for every defensive lineman who gets injured.
This is one for Larry Johnson. Everybody knows that somebody is going to get hurt in this game due to Navy's cut blocking, which is why incentivizing health would be a brilliant move, but it does come with some interesting quandaries. For one, don't even think about not playing any defensive linemen, because you'll only get the $75,000 credit for each lineman who plays. So now Johnson is faced with the decision of playing a bunch of linemen to fatten his wallet, or limiting his rotation and limiting his chances of being fined. If he feels he has prepared his team well enough, then you can expect about 27 different players on defense to roll through the defensive line as the other defensive position coaches will likely get a nice kick back from Johnson for providing him more players to cash in on. And hey, who doesn't want to see Vonn Bell play some nose tackle, right?
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