January 13, 2014

Defensive Coaching Hot Board

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeyes now have to open positions on the staff, both on the defensive side of the ball and it is still unknown how the team is going to approach each of these positions. Because of that we have decided to make one "list" until it becomes clear how Urban Meyer wants to split the duties of his two upcoming hires.

There is still a great deal of flexibility for the Buckeyes moving forward with how they may want to assign roles having a spot open either with a concentration at linebacker or defensive line (the thinking is that Luke Fickell could handle the other spot after having experience at both positions). The other spot would likely have to have an emphasis on the secondary (joining Kerry Coombs).

It is still up for debate how the defensive call structure will work next season and who may be involved in the calling of plays. Those questions may not be answered until the positions are filled and Meyer can see how the pieces fit together.

Our list will remain a fluid list of names as the Buckeyes look to hire two new assistants in the coming days and weeks and will update our list as warranted by the news as new names come up and names on the list drop off.

  Candidate Credentials
D.J. Durkin

Def. Coordinator/Linebackers

Alma Mater: BGSU 2001
Durkin spent time under Meyer at both Bowling Green and Florida and this would be the hire that would seem to make the most sense. Would Durkin leave Florida however for a similar position at Ohio State to reunite with Meyer however? Durkin currently makes 500K at Florida after being named Def. Coordinator at the start of the 2013 season, a season where the Gators finished with the No. 8 total defense in the NCAA.
Larry Johnson
Defensive Line Coach

Penn State

Alma Mater: Elizabeth City St. 1973
Johnson has coached at Penn State since 1996 and appears to be without a spot under the James Franklin regime in Happy Valley. Johnson has been known as a strong recruiter and developer of talent on the defensive line and could really bring a boost in the Md./D.C. area to any program that hires him. Johnson was a 6-time prep coach of the year in Md.
Derek Mason

Def. Coordinator/Assoc HC
Alma Mater: N. Arizona 1992
Mason will be a head coach very soon and the window of hiring him away as a DC is getting smaller and smaller with the Stanford DC interviewing for the Vanderbilt HC job. Mason has a mixture of collegiate and NFL experience and spent two years at Ohio. It just seems that this is a long shot however with his stock being high and even if he doesn't get a HC job this year, his loyalty to Stanford seems to be pretty strong.
Chuck Heater

Def. Coordinator/Secondary


Alma Mater: Michigan 1975
Chuck Heater has a lot of things going for him including his ties to Urban Meyer, a stop at Ohio State and familiarity with the Big Ten. On the downside is that he is already 61 years old and some fans are turned off with the fact he played at Michigan. There is no denying what he did at Marshall however and engineered a tremendous turnaround in the Thundering Herd defense from 2012 to 2013.
Bill Sheridan
Former Def. Coordinator
Tampa Bay Bucs

Alma Mater: Grand Valley St. 1982
Sheridan was on the Ohio State staff for a matter of weeks before being hired away by the Bucs where he served as DC for two years before being relieved of his duties in January. Meyer obviously thought enough of Sheridan the first time around but would a second opportunity come available for this veteran coach? In his career he has worked with the DL, LB and secondary so he brings great versatility when trying to piece together a staff.
Vance Joseph
Former Corners coach
Houston Texans
Alma Mater: Colorado 1995
Joseph spent three years with the Texans and had solid success during his career with Houston. Bill O'Brien did not retain him. In the college game Joseph has been with Colorado, Wyoming and Bowling Green during his stops and could fill the need for a dynamic coach in the secondary and someone who has been described as a "players coach". There have been reports that an interview may have already taken place.
John Chavis

Def. Coordinator/LB Coach


Alma Mater: Tennessee 1978
Chavis may be a "swing for the fences" but his name keeps being thrown out there as a candidate. Meyer's offenses faced against Chavis' defenses while Urban was at Florida. Chavis is currently at LSU but was a long time assistant at Tennessee and has won assistant coaching award at both stops. Chavis currently makes 1.12 million dollars and would be an expensive hire.
Kerry Cooks
Co-Def. Coordinator/Corners
Notre Dame
Alma Mater: Iowa 2000
Cooks has no direct ties to Urban Meyer but has been a fixture in the Midwest through the years with stops at Kansas State, Minnesota and Wisconsin before going to Notre Dame where he was given the Co-DC title in 2012. Cooks played in the NFL and XFL between 1998 and 2001.
Taver Johnson


Alma Mater: Wittenberg 1994
Johnson coached at Ohio State under Jim Tressel before leaving to go to Arkansas. It may be a bit of a long shot to go after someone from the former coaching staff, especially someone with no ties to Meyer but Johnson is a well-regarded coach in the coaching fraternity and has a great deal of experience on his resume.
Teryl Austin

Secondary Coach
Baltimore Ravens

Alma Mater: Pittsburgh 1987
Austin has ties to the region playing his college ball at Pitt and being a native of the Keystone State. Austin spent one year under Meyer at Florida and has three stops in the NFL to go along with his 20-plus years of coaching experience. Austin also has B1G experience as a GA at Penn State and a stop at Michigan.


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