What Jeff Hafley’s Departure Means for the Buckeyes Moving Forward

Ohio State Buckeyes football defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley

Jeff Hafley is officially headed to Boston College to take over as the Eagles’ head coach.

Hafley spent just one year at Ohio State, which adds him to the list of great one-hit wonders at OSU along with Maurice Clarett, Dwayne Haskins, and Malik Hooker.

Boston College will introduce him at a press conference Monday at 9:00 a.m. which will air on the ACC Network.

Hafley is expected to stay on with Ohio State until the season concludes, but will be working double duty much like Tom Herman did when he took the Houston head coaching job as OSU’s offensive coordinator in 2014.

The early signing period is this Wednesday, which creates a bit of a time crunch. Once that crunch is over, however, then things will get a little easier until the games are done.

Hafley’s departure has created some issues in recruiting. The Buckeyes have five defensive backs committed. So far, 4-star cornerbacks Ryan Watts and Lejond Cavazos have posted on social media that they still plan to sign with Ohio State.

Clark Phillips is Ohio State’s highest-ranked cornerback commit and he is currently on an official visit to Utah.

Things still seem positive for OSU there as well, but any time a commit is visiting another school, it’s not great.

It appears as though Lathan Ransom may not be signing on Wednesday, but is still very much looking forward to being a Buckeye.

There is no need for Ransom to sign right now because Ohio State is going to hold a spot for him. By holding off on signing, he would get an opportunity to see who OSU brings in to replace Hafley.

Hafley visited with Ransom this week.

Four-star Michigan athlete Cameron Martinez could end up on offense or defense, but most project him to safety. He has been committed to Ohio State since July 4. He has not yet made a statement one way or another, but it would be a surprise at this point if he doesn’t end up a  Buckeye.

Head coach Ryan Day will be working hard to keep all recruits in the fold, which is something he did very well when taking over for Urban Meyer.

While there is never a good time to lose a productive assistant coach, no recruit could have honestly expected Jeff Hafley to be at OSU for their entire time with the Buckeyes. There is no doubt, however, that each of them was expecting at least one year with Hafley.

Now comes the process of finding a replacement.

As Urban Meyer did, Ryan Day has a list of replacements at all times. It’s not like Hafley’s ascension to a really, really good college coach caught him off guard. This was why Day snatched him out of the NFL. He knew he would be a head coach sooner rather than later.

As to who will replace Hafley, the easy names are the familiar names. Former Rutgers head coach Chris Ash or current Tennessee Titans secondary coach Kerry Coombs have done it before. But nobody around OSU had heard of Jeff Hafley before Ryan Day hired him. And nobody around OSU had heard of Ryan Day before Urban Meyer hired him.

Point being, don’t always expect the familiar name.

There is also the possibility that Hafley may try to take some Ohio State staffers with him.

If that happens, Ryan Day will still have enough applications on his desk to fill any vacancies.

And while all of this is going on, the Buckeye defense will need to be readying to face a Clemson offense that averages 46.5 points per game and leads the nation with an average of 6.5 yards per carry.

The Buckeyes are still practicing. Graduate assistants and quality control analysts are relied upon more than ever. The preparation never stops, nor does the clock winding down until the Fiesta Bowl kicks off.

It may sound like a tall task, but it still wasn’t as bad as 2014 when Herman had to get Cardale Jones up to speed while preparing for Alabama and putting a coaching staff together for the Houston Cougars.

Hafley’s departure is simply part of the game and December is when so much of this happens.

The timing is unfortunate for Ohio State, but it would have been much more unfortunate had Hafley never become a Buckeye.

2 Responses

  1. I’m sorry Tony but my opinion of Hafley just went down a notch; I realized he would probably be gone after next year but staying one year is a disservice to Coach Day and the team and the recruits.
    Didn’t do much good to be a good recruiter and turn around and leave. I m almost positive that Day said when he brought his staff on board that he expected at least Some Loyalty.
    Furthermore I thought you and Tom in your last podcast pointed out that it didn’t seem to make sense to make a big move like this to a school like Boston College when if he waited another year he probably could get a HC job at a top Power 5 team.
    Very upsetting especially the timing!

  2. Tony. what is your preference of the replacements resume? I’d like to see another young ace from the nfl. I’d only like Combs if he is for long term. What about promoting Matt Barnes to the secondary and Al Washington to Co-Dc? Then replacing Barnes would be easier than replacing a Hafley type guy? It seems that the inexperienced entry level coaches start @ wr and special teams. Of course the wr room is much more important now when a young urban meyer became the wr’s coach @ ND.

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