For the last 30 years, Ohio State’s now co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison has coached from the sideline. So, it’s no surprise that moving up to the press box for this season will be an adjustment.
When Mattison’s now associate Kerry Coombs returned to Columbus in January, adjustments were going to be necessary. Perhaps with the nature of the pandemic, Mattison, who is 70 years old and at higher risk to suffer from severe symptoms of CoVID-19, will become comfortable watching as the eye in the sky.
Mattison thinks the new dynamic that features him no longer on the sideline will serve the Buckeyes well during this season.
“It is going to be interesting because the last time that I was upstairs was 1990 when I was at Texas A&M,” Mattison told reporters today. “I have been there during the practices and it’s been great. It will work really well with our staff.”
Mattison prides himself on incorporating energy on the field with the defensive players.. Although it may take some getting used to watching the game from the press box, he believes the staff that remains field-front will fill his void well.
“It has always been a part that I have really, really enjoyed,” Mattison said of interacting with the players. “We have a whole staff of guys that do that — sometimes too many that do that. I just felt the best thing for us is for me to be in the box. I feel like I can help the defense more being there. We have plenty of guys down there that are enthusiastic with the guys.”
In 2019, Mattison joined the Buckeyes after spending eight seasons with the University of Michigan. He came to Ohio State to replace Greg Schiano, and now with a familiar face like Coombs back in town, there has been a transition period. However, the teamwork among the coaching staff has made that transition seamless.
“[Coombs] brings us some different ways of playing defense, but we still have our defense. We still do what Ohio State does,” Mattison said. “I think the fact that all of our staff works together, and we are all in this together, it has been a really good transition.”
Even though Coombs is now the face of the Buckeye defense, each coach has adjusted to their role well. Mattison credits the selflessness among the coaches as what makes them successful.
“When you have a great coaching staff, everyone has input. Kerry [Coombs] has done such a great job bringing in some of the things he’s been through over the years,” he said. “Our coaching staff is great. What makes this coaching staff special is there are no egos. It doesn’t matter who does what, who runs what. If we play great defense, Ohio State will have another great year.”