Thursday, December 1, 2011
How Ohio State's staff is shaping up
By Adam Rittenberg
Urban Meyer didn't hold back at his introductory news conference Monday at Ohio State.
"I'm going to go about and try to assemble the best coaching staff in college football," Meyer said.
Ohio State is supporting its new coach on the endeavor.
So how is the process going? Let's take a look at what we know and what could be happening soon with Meyer's staff at Ohio State.
- Current Buckeyes head coach Luke Fickell is the only assistant Ohio State has officially confirmed to be joining Meyer's staff. Meyer didn't specify Fickell's role but said it would be "a significant title and significant position." It's a strong possibility Fickell's title includes assistant head coach. He also could be named a co-defensive coordinator, the role he shared with Jim Heacock on Jim Tressel's staff.
- While Fickell could be a candidate for the sole defensive coordinator role, Meyer is assessing candidates and could lure in a big fish in Mike Stoops, the former Arizona head coach. Stoops confirmed he has met with Meyer but didn't say whether he has been offered a position. No one will be surprised if Stoops is named Ohio State's next defensive coordinator, a position he held at Oklahoma for five years under his brother, Bob. Stoops would be a big-name addition for Meyer, who likely will add several.
- Multiple outlets are reporting that Meyer will retain Stan Drayton, in his first year as Ohio State's receivers coach. Drayton worked for Meyer at Florida and replaced Darrell Hazell in Columbus. This makes a lot of sense, as Drayton is a strong recruiter with ties to Ohio and to Florida. Drayton also can coach running backs.
- It will be interesting to see where Meyer looks for an offensive coordinator. One name being mentioned quite a bit is LSU offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa, an Ohio native who served as Meyer's offensive line coach at Bowling Green. Studrawa in July replaced Steve Kragthorpe, who had to step down after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
- Other current Buckeyes assistants who could remain on staff include cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson and linebackers coach Mike Vrabel. If Vrabel stays, it will be interesting to see which position Fickell coaches as he used to oversee the linebackers. Defensive line seems a likely spot.
- Former Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster reportedly has been offered a position on Meyer's staff, as well as one at Arizona with new boss Rich Rodriguez. While Brewster didn't work out as a head coach in Minneapolis, he's one of the nation's top recruiters and could help Ohio State on the trail, particularly in Texas. Brewster has coached tight ends most of his career.
- Other potential candidates to join Meyer's staff include Notre Dame running backs coach Tim Hinton and Florida linebackers coach/special-teams coordinator D.J. Durkin and strength and conditioning coordinator Mickey Marotti.