When the only constant is change, adaptability is going to become a strength.
Take Ohio State redshirt sophomore cornerback Shaun Wade, for instance. Wade’s first position coach at OSU was Kerry Coombs way back in 2017. Fast-forward to present day and Wade is now finishing up his third season as a Buckeye and is also saying goodbye to his third position coach.
Wade signed with the Buckeyes in part to be coached by Coombs and to be better prepared for an eventual NFL career.
Coombs surprisingly left for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans following the 2017 season.
Wade’s true freshman season was a difficult one. He redshirted due to an abdominal injury and struggled to find his footing.
Urban Meyer tabbed former Buckeye cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson to replace Coombs, and a healthy Wade found a role as the Buckeyes’ nickel back, splitting time between corner and safety and whatever else the defense needed from him.
When Meyer retired, new head coach Ryan Day replaced every defensive assistant except for Larry Johnson on the defensive line. He brought in Jeff Hafley and Matt Barnes to coach the secondary, essentially giving Wade — and his teammates — four different position coaches over a three-year span.
Despite the upheaval and the changing nature of preferred coverage techniques and coaching styles, Wade has had his best season as a Buckeye. As the team’s slot corner, he is an integral part of what Ryan Day wants his defense to be.
When he found out that Hafley was leaving to take over at Boston College, Wade was surprised just like all of his teammates were.
“I’m surprised but happy,” he said. “He’s family at the end of the day. So, understand he had his family, that was his dream. So everybody has a dream at the end of the day so you gotta do what you gotta do.”
Wade himself has a dream of playing in the NFL and that decision could be made within the next month.
But should Wade choose to come back for a fourth season, he will be dealing with his fourth position coach in the same amount of years.
Despite the changes, he has found a way to see it as a positive.
“My whole life has been like that,” Wade said. “I’ve played on several basketball teams, several football teams and different coaches teach you different things. So, at the end of the day, the league is like that too, they come and go. You learn from different cultures, learn different things, different schemes, different techniques. Everyone has their flaw so you just learn from different coaches.”
One of those coaches has also been assistant secondary coach Matt Barnes, who has spent quite a bit of time with Wade in his position as the slot corner/cover safety.
“Matt Barnes is a very smart football coach,” Wade said. “You see what he does on the special teams side but you really don’t see what he does in the DB room when he’s in there, so when he’s in there he has taught us a lot of things that Coach Hafley has taught, but he has his own ways of teaching it. Coach Barnes is a very real coach.”