Ohio State hires second active defensive coordinator as a position coach

The rule allowing college football coaches to hire a 10th on-field assistant went into effect in January and evidently Ohio State is using the new rule to restructure its entire staff with as many active FBS coordinators as possible.

The Buckeyes have hired Temple defensive coordinator Taver Johnson to take over as the new cornerbacks coach in Columbus, Ohio. He replaces Kerry Coombs, who joined former Buckeye Mike Vrabel's staff with the NFL's Tennessee Titans

"I am really pleased to have Taver Johnson join our coaching staff," head coach Urban Meyer said in a statement. "I've known Taver for a long time, going back to our days at Notre Dame, and I think he is a terrific coach and person. He'll do an excellent job coaching our cornerbacks and mentoring the young men in our program."

Johnson's Temple defense finished third in the AAC in total defense in 2017 (381.5 yards per game) and yards per play (5.4), fourth in scoring defense (25.8 points per game) during his only season with the program. He is familiar with Ohio State having served in the same role from 2007-11 before leaving for Arkansas (2012-13) and Purdue (2014-16). 

Johnson is the second active defensive coordinator to take a position coach role with the Buckeyes this offseason. 

Alex Grinch left his perch as the coordinator of the Washington State defense to take an unspecified role on Ohio State's staff. It was assumed that Grinch would become the new defensive coordinator if and when Greg Schiano moved on, but Schiano said on National Signing Day that he would be returning to the program, spurning a role with the New England Patriots.

Grinch helped turn around a Wazzu defense that finished 99th in the nation in total defense in 2014 -- the year prior to he arrived -- into one of the nation's best in 2017. The Cougars finished 16th in the nation in total defense (323.3 yards per game), fourth in third-down defense (28.49 percent) and ninth in tackles for loss per game (7.92) under Grinch's watch.

So if you were wondering what some major programs were going to do with the addition of another on-the-field assistant in the mix, Ohio State's plan appears to be to "hire everybody."

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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