The true measure of a position coach doesn’t come in his first season on the job. A first-year coach spends his time teaching a new system to new players that he didn’t recruit. What takes place in that first season will likely end up being entirely different than what a unit will look like in that coach’s second or third season. Still, in his first year on the job Ohio State Cornerbacks Coach Kerry Coombs (who this offseason added the title of Special Teams Coordinator), was an undeniable force on the Ohio State coaching staff.
Coombs inherited a veteran secondary highlighted by Senior cornerback Travis Howard and redshirt Sophomore Bradley Roby. The unit was shaky at the start of the season, giving up too many big plays. However, as the season wore on, the secondary got better. By the end of the season Roby and Howard earned first-team all-conference honors. Roby averaged 1.73 passes defensed per game and Howard led the Big Ten and interceptions.
In addition to coaching an excellent secondary on the field, Coombs made his impact felt on the recruiting trail, bringing in an impressive haul of new defensive backs. The Buckeyes 2nd-ranked 2013 recruiting class was packed with talented secondary players including three ESPN top 10 CBs: #3 Eli Apple, #7 Gareon Conley, and #9 Cameron Burrows. The 2014 CB class is starting off equally strong, with 4-star defensive back Damon Webb out of Michigan giving his verbal.
So what is it about Coombs that makes him unique? He’s obviously a brilliant football mind. He wouldn’t be on the staff otherwise. But what really makes Coombs unique is his attitude. Coombs is a fire-breathing, Red Bull-drinking ball of nuclear energy with a seemingly unending tank of fuel. When he speaks to a player, a recruit, or even the media, the caps lock button is always pressed. It’s an infectious enthusiasm that can’t help but rub off on those around him.
I could write a few more paragraphs trying to describe this trait, but I feel like the video below will do a better job than I could ever do.