The end of each season always results in losing players and coaches. Ohio State hasn’t been immune from turnover so far this off-season.
Mike Vrabel accepted a position on Bill O’Brien’s staff in Houston as their LB coach. Vrabel started out as a LB coach at Ohio State and took over as DL coach when Urban Meyer was hired at the end of the 2011 season.
I am thankful for everyone assoc with TOSU for 3 great years and my family and I are excited to join the Houston Texans as the LB coach.
— Mike Vrabel (@CoachVrabel50) January 9, 2014
In December, James Madison announced that it had hired Everett Withers as its newest head football coach. Withers was one of Meyer’s first hires after taking over at Ohio State. Withers was co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach under Meyer.
As a result of these departures, Meyer does have some holes to fill on his defensive staff that many believe needed an overhaul anyway. It’s unknown if Meyer will hire another co-defensive coordinator or if the duties will now lie solely with Fickell. Certainly Vrabel and Withers departures will hurt from a recruiting standpoint as they were instrumental in landing several of the defensive blue chip recruits the Buckeyes have brought in the past two years.
Just yesterday, Tom Herman announced that he would be remaining at Ohio State as offensive coordinator. There were some rumors that Texas was pursuing Herman for the same position and that he would return to the school that gave him his coaching start. Those rumors have apparently been put to the rest.
While Herman seemed to over think the offense in both the B1GCG and the Orange Bowl, he has proven to be an excellent hire by Meyer. His development of Braxton Miller and the overall offensive efficiency (13th & 2nd in F/+ rankings since he took over) are evidence of his coaching ability. It seems likely that Herman will be taking over his own program after this season and we should feel lucky to have him back for one more year. Especially after another big announcement earlier in the week.
Ohio State received a huge boost when both Braxton Miller and Michael Bennett announced they would be returning.
Back for another year , giving praise to the man above for all my blessings! pic.twitter.com/HEs7e5XNy5
— Braxton Miller (@BraxtonMiller5) January 10, 2014
Ohio State junior DT Michael Bennett still expected to stay in school, per source. Told team wants to get stronger. He did ask for NFL grade
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerCBS) January 10, 2014
Neither of these announcements is particularly surprising, but it’s still a relief to know that Braxton will be back for one more year. The offense will be undergoing significant turnover as four-fifths of the offensive line graduated, along with leading rusher Carlos Hyde, and leading receiver Philly Brown – Braxton should help with this transition.
Michael Bennett returning won’t create the headlines of Braxton, but he will be key to helping the defense return to form. The defensive line was the only consistently good unit on Ohio State’s defense last year and anytime a quick and big bodied defensive tackle decides to return it’s good news. His presence should help Spence and Bosa continue to develop into dominate edge rushers, as Bennett should regularly command a double team. Furthermore, with the influx of new blood at LB Ohio State will be seeing this year, it always helps to have a space eater in the interior of the line. The new LBs should be able to flow more freely with Bennett anchoring the defensive line.
Overall, Ohio State didn’t lose any coaches that would seriously hurt the program, and the return of enough rising seniors combined with the highly touted recruits Meyer has brought in should insure the roster will be as strong as ever.