Following the loss, Coombs was stripped of his play-calling duties by coach Ryan Day, a role given to safeties coach Matt Barnes.
“This has been the hardest stretch of my professional career, which means I’ve had a really good career,” Coombs said. “We can control how we respond to those tough and difficult situations and Ryan responded in the way Ryan believed was best for the Ohio State Buckeyes.”
Coombs said so many people reached out after he lost the responsibility to call plays, including Titans coach Mike Vrabel, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and former Bengals and Steelers coach Dick LeBeau.
“They had great advice and great insight into this profession and this career,” Coombs said. “The handling of it is a work in progress.”
When asked why he didn’t leave Ohio State after what can only be called a demotion, Coombs said it would make him a liar to every player he’s ever coached.
“Handing it in a different fashion, picking up your ball and going home . . . that would make me a liar to every one of those young men that I’ve coached along the way that had tough times,” he said.
Coombs said as a former head coach, he understands Day has to make the best decisions for the team, but added it didn’t make it any easier to handle.
“It’s okay to be sad. There’s nothing wrong with that,” Coombs said. “But that can’t last. It’s a 24-hour window. You’ve got to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and go back to work.”
Coombs’ transition away from play-calling means he’s in the press box for the first time since his first year at the University of Cincinnati.
“I have found being in the press box to be very valuable,” Coombs said. “It’s been something that has enhanced my ability to see the game, communicate the game and I think that’s been a real strength over the past couple of weeks.”