In 2020, Ohio State will have three third-year cornerbacks. Those players — Sevyn Banks, Cameron Brown, and Tyreke Johnson — will get to experience their third different cornerbacks coach next month when spring practice gets underway.
The good news is that it’s at least a familiar face, as they were all familiar with new OSU defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs in recruiting.
The bad news is that they are going to have to deal with a new teaching style for the third year in a row.
“It’s pretty tough. You just gotta adapt to your environment,” Banks said. “It’s going to happen. I understand that. For me, you can’t get complacent. Just keep working. That’s your whole life, honestly. You have to keep working.”
Having first worked under Taver Johnson and then Jeff Hafley, Banks understands that decisions like this happen in the coaching profession, which is why his mentality has been to simply learn as much as he can from each coach put in front of him. Even if it’s a new coach every single year.
“There’s a lot of good stuff learning from [Hafley] and just soaking it all in, honestly, especially him coming from the NFL and teaching us things we know now will help us in the long run,” he said. “You can get a little bit here and there from everybody.”
St-St-St-Staying the Same
While the Ohio State secondary is going to be in a bit of a flux as Kerry Coombs regains his footing with the Buckeyes, the overall defense won’t be changing that much.
Jeff Hafley was the lone departure from the defensive staff, which means the defensive line and linebackers will be operating like it’s business as usual because co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is back, as are defensive line coach Larry Johnson, linebackers coach Al Washington, and assistant secondary coach Matt Barnes.
Head coach Ryan Day has made it known that the defensive scheme won’t be making any major changes, as evidenced by the return of Mattison.
“It’s definitely good knowing that he’ll be back, because he’s one of our D coordinators, and it will still be that scheme,” defensive end Tyreke Smith said of Mattison.
“I think he’s made it easier on us. Our scheme is a good scheme, but it’s easy for us to get ahold of. It really allows everybody to use their athletic ability and use their best talent in the defense. He’s a great asset that was added to us. And he really helped us a lot.”
Ohio State welcomed 14 true freshmen early enrollees this month and shortly after their arrival, winter workouts began.
This is their first true college football experience, and guiding them all the way is OSU strength coach Mickey Marotti.
This is also where first impressions are established. Marotti can get a feel for the freshman class as individuals.
In meeting with reporters this week, Marotti was asked if he had noticed any difference in the physical preparedness of this particular class compared to classes of the past.
“It varies,” he said. “It varies. You got guys like [5-star Ohio offensive lineman] Paris Johnson, he’s been training at a level since he was in eighth grade differently than, you know, say one of the other linemen. It’s just all different. I tried to figure that [for years] and can’t. I tell you what, kids that come from the state of Texas, they’ve got a pretty good development. Here’s what I see, the state of Ohio, the state of Texas, there’s actually strength programs that they’ve [utilized].”