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Thursday, March 1, 2012
Ohio State hires Cincinnati's Kerry Coombs

By Brian Bennett

Urban Meyer twice thought he had his cornerbacks coach locked up. The new Ohio State boss originally planned to retain Taver Johnson, but Johnson left for Arkansas. Then Meyer hired coaching veteran Bill Sheridan, a move that lasted only a couple of weeks before Sheridan decided to take an NFL job instead.

Meyer hopes the third time is a charm, and he looked within his own state for his latest choice to round out his staff. Cincinnati assistant Kerry Coombs is moving to Columbus, and assuming this one sticks, it's a really good move.

Coombs has coached defensive backs for the Bearcats since 2007, and has worked with some good players there, including eventual NFL draft picks Haruki Nakamura, Mike Mickens, DeAngelo Smith, and Buckeyes transfer Brandon Underwood. The 2008 secondary was a big reason why Cincinnati won its first Big East title. While it's true that Meyer's Florida team led by Tim Tebow tore apart the Bearcats' pass defense in the 2010 Sugar Bowl, Coombs has done solid work during his tenure at Cincinnati.

Here's another reason why hiring Coombs is smart: Before Brian Kelly gave him his first college job in 2007, Coombs was an extremely successful high school coach at Cincinnati's Colerain High School. His connections to the high schools in that city have made him a strong recruiter in that talent-rich area. Cincinnati should be a major pipeline for Ohio State, but the Buckeyes have had more success in the northern part of the state. Coombs should give them even more recruiting inroads.

I covered Coombs during my time as the Big East blogger and can tell you he is a fiery guy who was often the loudest voice at practice. It was impossible not to hear his raspy voice screaming both encouragement and criticism at his defensive backs after virtually every play. The Bearcats seemed to respond well to that style, and Kelly liked Coombs so much that he promoted him to associate head coach.

In other Ohio State news, linebacker Jordan Whiting announced via Twitter that he is transferring to Louisville. The redshirt junior was best known for incurring a one-game suspension for his role in the tattoo-for-memorabilia scandal, and had not made much of an impact on the field. He'll try to restart his career in his hometown.