COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State won 11 games, including the Rose Bowl, this past season. But it’s clear coach Ryan Day was not pleased with how certain position groups performed.
Safeties coach Matt Barnes has already left, while cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs and linebackers coach Al Washington are not expected to return, per several media outlets.
Coombs was publicly criticized for OSU’s early-season struggles on defense and promptly demoted from his play-calling duties after a loss to Oregon. Barnes took over as defensive play-caller, but it was clear he would not remain in that position after the Buckeyes failed to stop Michigan’s rushing game.
Before the Rose Bowl, Day announced he was bringing Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, which was the beginning of a culture change that has yet to send the old guard away.
Although Washington has only been at Ohio State for three seasons, he struggled to maintain harmony in the linebackers room in 2021 with the departure Dallas Gant and K’Vaughan Pope during the season.
Washington turned down the defensive coordinator job at Tennessee last offseason and will now likely return to Luke Fickell’s staff in Cincinnati, where he was the defensive line coach in 2017.
That means only one defensive coach, Larry Johnson, is expected to return for the 2022 season as he continues to recruit top-level talent to Columbus. But his time with the Buckeyes isn’t expected to last much longer as the 70-year-old enters his 49th year of coaching.
At least one of OSU’s openings has been filled, with Cincinnati cornerbacks coach Perry Eliano set to accept a job on Day’s coaching staff.
Meanwhile, multiple outlets are reporting Jaguars secondary coach Tim Walton, a longtime NFL assistant, has emerged as a strong candidate. The news was first reported by Bruce Feldman. Walton is an Ohio State graduate and was a co-captain for the Big Ten champions in 1993.