Football

Ryan Day adds two new faces to OSU defensive coaching staff

According to multiple reliable media sources OSU  Head Football Coach Ryan Day has added two new assistant coaches to his staff. Both will coach the defensive backfield.

Day has hired Perry Eliano from the Cincinnati Bearcat staff to coach the OSU cornerbacks.  Eliano’s defensive backfield at Cincinnati contributed to a defense that boasted the nation’s best pass defense in 2021, finishing No. 1 in the country in pass efficiency defense (100.47), No. 2 in passing yards allowed (168.3), No. 3 in interceptions (18) and No. 4 in opponent completion % (53.5).

The Bearcats’ overall defense has been outstanding as well, ranking fourth nationally in scoring defense (16.1) and No. 7 in total defense (305.8).

In addition to producing a great team defense, Eliano developed severeal outstanding individual players. In 2021, Coby Bryant won the 2021 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s best defensive back, and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner was selected to his third All-AAC First Team, this time unanimously. Bryant was also named to the all-conference First Team for the second straight year.  Gardner collected First Team All-America honors for the second straight season, as defenses rarely targeted the junior boundary cornerback. He finished with 35 tackles, three sacks, three interceptions, four pass breakups and one forced fumble.

Bryant started on the other side and was named the nation’s best DB after totaling 11 pass breakups and three interceptions to go along with three forced fumbles and 42 tackles.

Eliano has spent more than 20 seasons in the coaching ranks. He came to UC after a two-year stint as the special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach at New Mexico.

The 2019 Lobos finished in the top 20 nationally in three categories, ranking 10th nationally in net punting at 42.1 yards per punt, 13th nationally in blocked kicks with three, and 19th nationally in kickoff returns, averaging 24.1 yards per return. Punter Tyson Dyer was a two-time All-Mountain West Conference selection and a Ray Guy Award semifinalist in 2019.

In 2018, Eliano watched the two starting Lobo corners end up with NFL teams after solid seasons.  Jalin Burrell and D’Angelo Ross tied for the team lead in pass breakups with six each.  Where Eliano made huge strides is with special teams, as New Mexico led the nation in kickoff return defense and had the No. 1 punt returner in the nation, a first on both accounts for the school.  Marcus Hayes was a FWAA Freshman All-America as a punt returner.

Also joining the OSU staff is Tim Walton to coach the OSU safeties. Walton played his collegiate football at Ohio State as a cornerback in the early 90s. He took his first coaching job in 1995 as a graduate assistant at Bowling Green. In 2003 he was hired as the secondary coach at LSU. He moved on to Miami of Florida in 2004 where he coached the secondary. In 2007 he was named defensive coordinator at Miami.

Walton spent 2008 at Memphis where he was their defensive coordinator. In 2009 he moved on to the NFL where he coached defensive backs for the Detroit Lions until 2012.

Walton has also coached for the St. Louis Rams as their defensive coordinator (2013) and did three-year stints at both the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars as a defensive secondary coach.

To make room for Eliano and Walton on the OSU staff assistant coaches Al Washington (linebackers) and Kerry Coombs (defensive backs) will be dropped from the OSU coaching staff. New defensive coordinator Jim Knowles will coach the linebackers.

Photo of Tim Walton courtesy Jacksonville Jaguars.