Ryan Day told the media on Wednesday morning that he strongly believes on promoting from within the program, and that's exactly how he's handled what should be the only coaching change for the Buckeyes this offseason.
After Greg Mattison officially retired on January 31, 2021, Day decided to only make a minor tweak to his coaching staff. He announced that Matt Barnes will now be the secondary coach after previously working as the special teams coordinator and assistant secondary coach. Day has also promoted Parker Fleming to special teams coordinator, after he served as a quality control coach for the Buckeyes for the last three years.
"We went through that process the last couple of weeks once Greg decided he was going to retire to kind of figure out what was right for our guys at the time," Day said. "And figure out what was the right decision for our team and for the defense. And so, after looking at it and considering a lot of different things, the thing that came to me first off was Matt Barnes has done a really excellent job in special teams and he's got a great background on defense, and I think he's a great young coach (Barnes is 34).
"Speaking with the defensive staff, speaking with Kerry Coombs, what we've decided to do is take him from special teams and make him the secondary coach. I think this is a great move and is going to allow him an opportunity to have that room, and also allow Kerry to free him up a little bit more to move around with the linebackers, the defensive line, and also have his hands in the secondary. Certainly he's still going to be involved with the corners and safeties as well.
"And so, for a lot of reasons, I'm excited about this.
"And then from there, now that Matt will be spending his time with the secondary -- he will still help with the special teams -- but we wanted some continuity on what we were doing on special teams because, again, we've done a great job here on special teams. And Parker Fleming is someone that knows very well what we do. He's got the respect of our team and we feel like that's a really good move there."
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Meanwhile, Kerry Coombs will be the lone defensive coordinator - they will not give anyone else the title of co-DC as was the case last year. Coombs will still work with the secondary regularly, but with Barnes promotion to work with that group as his primary responsibility, Coombs will now spend more time with the front seven guys as well.
Before coming to Ohio State, Fleming was a full-time assistant at Texas State as the co-offensive coordinator and QB coach. He's also worked with wide receivers and special teams at both Texas State and James Madison. Fleming previously was on staff with the Buckeyes as a graduate assistant during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
This is the second time in two seasons that Day has promoted a quality control coach, further emphasizing his desire to promote from within his own ranks. Last offseason, he promoted Corey Dennis to become the new quarterbacks coach.
Meanwhile, Larry Johnson and Al Washington will return to coach the defensive line and linebackers again in 2021.
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