Football

Despite Flux, Buckeye Assistants Express Desire to Remain at Ohio State

Ohio State football practice Larry Johnson

PASADENA, Ca. — When Ryan Day takes over the reins as Ohio State’s head coach in three days, he will have a long list of things to do. Chief among those things is putting together his coaching staff.

As the head coach, Day will have total control of who he wants to hire, and from the sounds of it, the current Buckeye assistant coaches are hoping they’ll be back next season.

It has already been announced that receivers coach Brian Hartline will be retained for 2019.

Speaking at Rose Bowl media day on Sunday, the company line by almost every assistant coach was a desire to return. Linebackers coach Bill Davis and running backs coach Tony Alford said they would like to be back, as did offensive line coach Greg Studrawa.

Studrawa actually interviewed for the open head coaching job at his alma mater Bowling Green and would have taken the offer, but the job went to Scot Loeffler instead. Despite the desire to be the head coach at a place he loves, he is very happy at Ohio State and hopes to be a part of Day’s staff next year.

“I’m just preparing for this game and preparing to win,” Studrawa said. “Ryan and I have been talking about moving forward in the spring and what’s going to happen, so I have no indication otherwise. I expect to be here. If not, then hey, that’s Ryan’s decision and I understand that.”

Studrawa has been a football coach for a long time and has had addresses in a number of cities. In each of those cities, the most important thing is always the players.

“You have to do what’s best for the kids first,” he said. “Not what’s best for you. What’s best for you or your job at that time might not be the best thing that these kids needs. That’s always first. What does the head coach want in a program and then what do the kids need. Your needs become behind those two.”

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson’s contract is up in January and he has received calls from other schools. He understands he still has a job to do this season, and he also understands that whatever will be, will be.

“I’m kind of old enough and for some things you’ve been through, you trust your faith and don’t worry,” he said.

Wilson would like to be a head coach again, but doesn’t know if that will happen. In the meantime, he is perfectly content at Ohio State.

He hasn’t had much talk with Day about next year, but it doesn’t sound like Day has told him he needs to look around.

In fact, it’s been the opposite.

“There’s not been serious conversations other than ‘if you need to be looking for a job should you,’ and ‘are you okay?,'” he said. “I think it will get worked out as we finish this game. There’s not been a lot of talk. We’ll have those discussions in the week to come.”

When those talks do occur, he expects they will end with him still being around in 2019.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “I hope I’m going to be a positive part of that team.”

The mark of a veteran coach is apparently one who doesn’t worry too much about next year, especially when there are days still left in this year.

Defensive line coach Larry Johnson has been an assistant coach since 1996, following 11 years as a high school head coach, which began in 1983. With 35 years of coaching experience, the topic of how many more years Johnson wants to continue is seemingly an annual discussion.

The discussion this season appears to have come to the same conclusion as the 34 before it — Johnson wants to keep coaching, but also that he’s still got a job to do right now.

“I came here to do a job and create a brand – create the best defensive line in the country,” he said. “That’s my goal. It’s always been that way. Every year. I don’t look forward to the next step, I look forward to this step. I’m not thinking about my future, I’m just thinking about where we can be two days from now.

“I want to be an Ohio State Buckeye coach. I know that. I think that’s my future. I have no plans to go anywhere. This is what I want to do, this is where I want to do it.”

After coming back to Ohio State this past season, cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson has gotten settled in, which means he isn’t ready to pick up stakes again and move on.

When asked if he was planning on being back, his reaction indicated no doubt he would return, but his words were a little more diplomatic.

“I hope so,” he said. “I plan to be here. I’m sure we’ll have some more conversations once the game is over and things like that when [Day] truly takes over. But being hopeful for sure, and definitely want to stick around.”

Not everybody was so open about their intentions or their leanings, however.

Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano has already talked about what may be next for him, which is to say he isn’t talking.

Co-defensive coordinator and Alex Grinch has been linked to the open slot as Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator, and when asked on Sunday if he could answer a question on his future, he responded simply and quickly with, “I can’t answer it. I’m excited for the Rose Bowl.”

3 Responses

  1. Clean house on D. Bring one DC and make sure he has his men he wants and hold him responsible for the product. Don’t half as s it.

  2. Well, you sure can tell the candid answers from the dodges, can’t you? And the ones evading the topic just happen to be the ones whose position groups fared the worst- wonder if there’s a connection? (sarcasm added).
    On a related note, I finally did see proof that Bill Davis is an actual human being, as he spoke to the media without someone else’s hand moving his lips like a ventriloquist’s dummy. So he is a real person…but he’s NOT a real coach! Get out and get out NOW.

  3. I am most giddy over Larry Johnson’s response. He is a Buckeye through and through and wants to remain that way. There’s no doubt or wavering with him. No way do I expect him to go anywhere.

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