Ohio State Buckeyes: What Kerry Coombs, players are saying about return of football season

Credit: Ohio State Athletics

Credit: Ohio State Athletics

On the first day of fall, Ohio State conducted what has become a rite of summer: The first day of preseason football interviews.

The date wasn’t the only thing that was different, though.

Aside from being almost two months later than usual, this interview day was conducted entirely online.

Here are some highlights from a meeting with Buckeye defensive backs:


The new defensive coordinator is back to lead the secondary after two years in the NFL. The coronavirus pandemic has not allowed him to coach the way he likes (hands on), but it has probably increased his level of communication with the players thanks to frequent video meetings and whatnot.

There is no question missing practice time has been disappointing with a new group, but he is not going to cry about it. They are trying to maximize their time in multiple ways, and he is confident they have done that.

He is thrilled Shaun Wade is returning. He loves Wade.

The Ohio State secondary should have a lot of talented, but it is inexperienced. That’s what happens at Ohio State. They’ll be fine.

What does it take to be a starter at Ohio State? He is looking for a gritty competitor who refuses to lose. The mentality should be no catches for the opponent. He wants mentally tough guys with confidence their man won’t get open.

He doesn’t look for any surprise contributors at this point. The core returning group is in the running for playing time. Freshmen don’t know what they don’t know yet, but he expects to have to rely on inexperienced players at some point this season.

Although he spent the past two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, he still loves Cincinnati and Ohio and Ohioans.

While most NFL defenses playing predominantly nickel, that is because offenses throw 70 percent of the time and there is not as much quarterback run game. That is different from college, so many coaches still feel the need to be in base more often on early downs. He likes to have multiple personnel groupings that can do multiple things. They will have to be ready to evolve and adjust to who is available.

Shaun Wade is an extraordinary kid who loves the team, loves the university and loves to win. They have a great relationship.

Asked where his mantra, “Best In America” for the Ohio State secondary came from, he said he expects everyone to want to be the best at what they do no matter what that is. It’s a challenge to live up to the talented and successful predecessors in scarlet and gray, not just be better than whoever is on the roster now. He also credited Ohio State strength and conditioning director Mickey Marotti and Ohio State’s talented receivers for developing the DBs.

Marcus Williamson appears to be next in line to play the slot because he matches up better with slot receivers than on the outside, where Coombs prefers to have long, fast guys who can bump and run. Williamson has had an extraordinary offseason.


The cornerback said his mother named him Sevyn because she is a Biblical person, and seven is an important number in scripture.

He said Williamson is doing well. He is an intelligent guy who is gonna get it.

Banks feels good. Everything is day by day now. He can’t wait to get on the field and show it.

He learned a lot last year backing up Damon Arnette and Jeffrey Okudah, who were both taken in the first round of the NFL Draft in April.

He tries to combine their mindsets.

Williamson has been dealt a tough hand at times, but he is playing his cards well. He takes things he sees when he is not playing and applies them when he gets the chance.

He thinks to win a starting job he will have to make plays, know what he’s doing and be smart.


He has spent most of his time at slot corner in the offseason with youngsters Ronnie Hickman and Cam Martinez also working there.

He is on his third CBs coach in three years, and that means he has had the opportunity to soak up a lot of knowledge to utilize on the field.

He feels rejuvenated by the return of Coombs, who recruited him out of high school and has known him since he was 15.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

It takes a while to understand what “BIA” means.

He said Tyreke Johnson has shown the five-star pedigree he brought with him to OSU. He is extremely talented and a hard worker.

Williamson is looking to provide another comeback story after missing time early in his career with injuries. He referenced Johnnie Dixon as someone to follow.

They haven’t been practice in pads, but there are certain fundamentals of tackling they can work on so they are ready when they do. That includes getting in football position, having their eyes in the right spot so when they get the pads on it will be like taking training wheels off.

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