After 30 minutes of answers that ranged from intentionally vague to outright scathing, it still felt like further clarification was needed from Ohio State head coach Ryan Day.
Is Kerry Coombs still this team’s defensive coordinator?
“Yes, he’s still the defensive coordinator,” Day said. “But we’re gonna look at everything, and we’re gonna keep working toward Tulsa and figure out how the staff is working together, how the scheme works together and then go from there.”
Yes … but. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the defensive coaching job being done. Coombs isn’t alone in deserving criticism. Day certainly shoulders a hefty portion of the blame for hand-picking a first-time coordinator to run a defensive scheme that he had never coached before. There are issues in simple fundamental execution up and down OSU’s defense, at every position. Nobody is exempt from criticism when a team ranks 112th in total defense after two games, regardless of the level of competition.
But it all comes back to Coombs, who in the end is the shot caller on defense. Or at least, he was. Day couldn’t even commit to saying publicly whether Coombs will retain defensive play-calling duties.
“I don’t wanna get into specifics,” he said. “We’ll keep looking at it this week. I don’t think it’s something that we’re gonna decide right now either. It’s gonna be something where we all get in there, take a hard look at everything we’re doing, from scheme to our structure and what gives us the best chance to win the game. We’ll look at all those things. But no hard decisions have been made that way yet.”
It sort of feels like they have. How can Day spend the good part of 30 minutes essentially expressing zero confidence in the coach he picked to run the defense and then keep him in that position moving forward? That doesn’t mean he has to fire Coombs necessarily. Coombs has a proven track record as a defensive backs coach. But he has seemed in over his head in the coordinator role since being hired before last season, and a demotion could be in order.