They Grow Up So Fast

By Johnny Ginter on January 28, 2013 at 5:00p

Remember the last episode of Dawson's Creek, where they all say goodbye to the town they once knew? Jenny, Parcey, Dunson, and Joey are all there at the creek, Dawson's Creek, where they first learned to fish and also where they formed a pact to be the world's best barbershop quartet.


Well, those dreams were gone now. Jenni was dead or something, possibly a ghost, Pouncey was writing fraudulent memoirs about her life on the mean streets of LA under the pseudonym "Big Ma B," Joey was finally creating a Facebook account, and Downstone was a Hollywood producer or something, who cares.

As the gang looked out on the Federally Designated Region 7 Landfill that was formally their childhood playground, a sense of sadness and accomplishment filled their hearts, knowing that though their lives had been full of mirth and joy (except Jen because she was a poltergeist), all good things must come to an end. They were going to go their separate ways now, probably forever, and gradually drift apart as time marched on.

I may or may not have actually watched any episodes of Dawson's Creek, but I can tell you that this is the fate that awaits the current coaching staff of the Ohio State football team.

Urban Meyer has assembled a crackerjack coaching staff that right now looks like one of the best in the entire nation. But, much like the childhood monkeyshines of Danton and company, at some point the band is going to break up and the staff as we now know it will be disintegrated.

This will be weird; Jim Tressel was exceedingly good at slipping his assistants whatever mickey that slows one's ambition for more lucrative positions in the coaching world, but Meyer famously is not.

So today I want to take a look at some of the more prominent members of the coaching staff, and using a scale of 1 crying Urban Meyers to 5 crying Urban Meyers, discuss the likelihood of them leaving at some point within the next five years.

Because after all, many of them don't want to wait. For their lives to be over.

Tom Herman

Let's get the obvious out of the way: Tom Herman is gone. Gone gone gongitty gone gone gone. Possibly as early as next year, although I wouldn't be surprised if he decided that he wanted to see Braxton through college.

Some people were surprised that the dude didn't take a head coaching position after leaving Iowa State, and the biggest hope that Ohio State fans should reasonably have for the rest of his likely very short tenure is that it involves national championships.

Let me put it this way: he was the co-mastermind of an Urban Meyer offense that went undefeated and put up 37 points a game despite having basically only one real offensive weapon for about half the season. He's got a shockingly good resume, and I'm personally torn on whether I want him to stay in the Big Ten or not. At 37, he could easily be someone's slightly more competent Pat Fitzgerald.

Five out of five crying Urban Meyers.



Luke Fickell & Everett Withers

I'm including both of these guys because I think that one is dependent on the other. At some point, Fickell and Withers will be playing a game of head coaching chicken to see who will bolt for a MAC school first and leave the other as the sole proprietor of the title of defensive coordinator. The loss of either of these guys would hurt; Fickell is a very popular "player's coach" who suddenly looked a lot more competent once Zach Boren move to linebacker and the team settled on a scheme to use, and Withers is an excellent recruiter with strong ACC country ties.

The real question isn't "will one of them leave?", it's more "who will blink first?" For what it's worth, my money is on Fickell. I think he wants to prove himself as a head coach at a program that's slightly less in disarray than the OSU program he took over once Tressel was fired, and in truth he's not Urban's guy to begin with.

Still, I'm hedging my bets that Fickell and Everett work out some kind of Bosom Buddies deal and I'll throw up four crying Urbans out of five.



Ed Warinner

Warinner is interesting because his resume is basically a Tolstoy novel. Ohio State is his ninth coaching stop and eighth school in total, which suggests that he's a grass is always greener kind of dude. He gave up a pretty plum position at Notre Dame to coach at Ohio State, and it would seem that even though he's taken the scenic route, he's still upwardly mobile.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that his official designation is co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach, which presumably means that in the event Herman leaves he'll have a more prominent position. Warinner is also an Ohio guy with degrees from Mount Union and Akron, so overall there seems to be very little evidence that he'll be looking for real estate elsewhere anytime soon.

Which is good, because it's nice to have an offensive line that actually knows how to block.



Mike Vrabel

Most people would say that Vrabel staying with the team is tied into what Luke Fickell does, and to an extent this is likely true. I would also point out that another factor in him staying on board is whether or not his enthusiasm for the job remains high. Vrabel went almost directly from the NFL to coaching after he was asked by Fickell to join his staff, and at some point may want to test the myriad of other non-coaching opportunities open to a guy like him.

Vrabel may very well be a natural coach who loves teaching, but if he's not, I find it hard to believe that he's here for five full years.



Kerry Coombs

Staying. Coombs knows a good deal when he sees one, and he's vital to the southwestern Ohio pipeline that Urban is no doubt trying to develop. Six years ago Coombs was coaching high school ball in Colerain and now he's coaching cornerbacks at OSU.

He's loved by his players, but in a crazy uncle way, not an "I want to go coach at Northern Iowa in a few years" way.

And that about wraps it up! My guess is that within five years, Herman, Fickell, and Vrabel are gone. Warinner possibly on the outside if he gets offered an NFL gig or something of that nature, but I don't see him moving to another college. I also neglected to include guys like Hinton, Drayton, and Mariotti because, like Coombs, they're either Ohio lifers or handpicked by Urban himself.

So there will be change, and the real challenge for Urban will be just the same as it was at Florida: how will he handle severe attrition at your most important coaching positions? The answer to that may be the difference between Big Ten titles and national championships.


Comments Show All Comments

AngryWoody's picture

ESPN has Kerry Coombs going to the Eagles.

Our Honor Defend!

Johnny Ginter's picture

this is exactly what ill look like when herman leaves

Royball's picture

This seems like an appropriate place to post this:

4-6 seconds of relentless effort

cinserious's picture

Is that Iowa's quarterback?

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Nice intriguing topic...
I LOVE (in a broseph way) Tom Herman but agree he's gone.  Great mind.  I hope he is goes somewhere and shreds and then is groomed enough to replace Urban (God forbid he not coach forever).
I have a hard time seeing Vrabel leave.  After an NFL career, returning to his alma matter to coach up positions.  Perhaps move up to D Coordinator but I just dont see him lusting to coach somewhere else...just my opionion, I know nothing.
Fickell is a toss up.  Mister Buckeye may have got his feet wet last year or realized, oh sh!t being the head ball coach sucks - carefull what you wish for.
Coombs is indeed the crazy uncle.  After his recruiting video that got out, I would be happy to keep him here for ever.  UFM's hype guy.

Nick's picture

You think USC or Texas would take a chance on Herman?

gwalther's picture

Texas. He was a GA assistant there and has a Houston background.

Class of 2008

Poison nuts's picture


"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

wside buck's picture

Texas will line up nicely after they kick mack brown out in a couple years

J.Mo's picture

Herman definitely has the hottest wife of the football coaches.

headina's picture

Lol at the crying urbz


osu07asu10's picture

I've gotta disagree at only giving Warinner 2 crying Meyers...I'll give you the journeymanish tag but
Warinner completed his 29th season as a collegiate coach and his 10th in a coordinator position in 2012.
He was a finalist in 2011 for the FootballScoop Offensive Line Coach of the Year, he won the award this year
2009 American Football Coaches Association's National Assistant Coach of the Year award.
Four times he has coached on teams that led the nation in rushing.
And lets not forget the VAST improvement that he brought to our o-line unit after years of underachieving.
Maybe Urban won't be crying, but I sure know buckeye nation will be...the thought of anything close to Walrus ball is just frightening

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

VBBuckeye's picture

At first I was like hey those Dawson's Creek names are wrong and then I realized that was on purpose and then I realized I knew that because I actually watched the show and then I felt shame...

jestertcf's picture

My reply was going to be, No I don't remember, because I'm a dude and I didn't watch the show.
But, you Sir, You win the internets. Well done. LOL

~Because we couldn't go for three~

buckeye4life050233's picture

It was an interesting year on the defensive side because we never really heard from fickell or withers. I really would like to know who is calling the plays on the defensive side because at multiple times last year from the stands I could tell you what we were going to do on defense and exactly what the other team was going to do and we still gave up way to many huge plays.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

when a head coach has success they lose their coordinators... thats why i think we saw tressels d coordinators go on elsewhere but not much else, and also why i think urbs has one of the best coaching trees.

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

Tom Herman will get a good gig after this year. In a power conference, maybe even the B1G.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

J.Mo's picture

Who from the B1G will be fired for Herman to get a chance?
Hazell will be in his 1st year, Beckman will be in year 2, Kill has exceeded performance expectations for Minnesota, Kevin Wilson has exceeded performance expectations for Indiana. Wisky is in year 1. Iowa will never get rid of Ferentz. I guess Bill O'Brien could leave PSU. I don't see Nebraska going with a guy with no head coaching experience. Dantonio, Fitzgerald, Hoke are in no danger...
Only two coaches I see leaving next year is Pelini and O'Brien.

BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

I can see Beckman being fired. I admit though, Herman to the B1G after this year is a big maybe.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Jason Priestas's picture

That and I'd like to think that Herman is too smart to go to Champaign.

cinserious's picture

who in the B1G is gonna out bid Texas for Hermann's services?

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Alhan's picture

Kinda off-topic, but Hoke is in no danger?  I would say if he goes .500 this year showing a steady decline from year one to year two to year three, his fat butt will probably be on the hot seat.  I'm not saying I expect this to be the case, especially with the job he's done recruiting, but I wouldn't say he's 100% safe.

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

CC's picture

As much as I would love to see it, no way they go 500.

DefendOhio's picture

Warriner did the best coaching job of any coach on Meyer's staff this year. I wouldn't be shocked to see him bolt soon. 

T4EHill's picture

Honestly if Pelini has another dissappointing season I think he'll get the boot. I doubt Herman will go there but I'm no expert

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." Woody Hayes

okiebuck's picture

It all depends on where the opportunity presents itself but if there is a major job in the state of Texas; Herman is bye bye. Urban needs to get all of his HS coaching contacts.
I can't see Wariner, Vrabel or Coombs leaving anytime soon and possibly never.

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

Herman is going to suck to lose. I have tried to keep my enthusiasm down with him due to his short stay.
I truly think Warinner will be the hardest to stomach if he leaves. It was awe inspiring to see a good blocking O-line wearing scarlet and grey. 
Hopefully Fick and Withers turn the Silver Bullets into another top ten defenses soon. Then it will be much harder to see either one of these gents leave. Fick will always be a great Buckeye in my mind for stepping in and doing what he did. 

cinserious's picture

As long as Ed Warriner stays paid and he's lined up for the O-coordinator position, the is no reason to leave the Buckeyes, I don't really see him leaving for a lesser school for less money to be a head coach.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Dougger's picture

Johnny you're graphics are so simple yet effective. 5/5 crying urbans when you leave 11w sir.
so don't ever leave
The real positive is that it seems all these positions are so strong due to their current placeholders - if/when they do leave, I think we all hve to presume their influence on the football field will bring in great new guys for Urban to destroy other teams with.

I like football


I'm fearful of what would happen to the offense after Herman leaves on so many levels. One reason being our offense loses a big chunk of its starters after 2013: 3/4 of the line, Hyde, Hall, Philly. That kind of offensive turnover on top of a new O-coordinator is going to cause headaches, even with Braxton back for his senior year (he will be back). Meyer will have to hire an OC who comes really close to Herman's philosophy in order to mitigate an offensive fall-off because of the adjustment period. How many assistants out there are like Herman? Not many. Otherwise every offensive skill player that's been recruited over the last two years will have to change roles again. I guarantee there'll be attrition as a result. We hire an OC that does not mesh well with Coach Meyer and Urbz will do what he did at Florida, he'll take control of the offense himself. I think we can all agree he seems happier not having to take on extra roles. There is zero margin for error in that department I think.
We lose Warinner I do fear the O-Line will suffer, but if we keep him and lose Herman I think that will definitely lessen Herman's loss. Now if we lose BOTH at the same time? Ouch.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

DefendOhio's picture

Drayton too. Didn't he interview for Temple this off season?

Bucks43201's picture

"I don't wanna wait - for our season to be over, I want to know right now who will we beat."

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Remember the last episode of Dawson's Creek...

How can I remember a show I never watched?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

nickma71's picture

Speaking of the Purple Raiders, they did it again. In case you missed it.

CC's picture

Please - no more Dawson's Creek references.

osubuckeye4life's picture

Sadly, I have no doubts that after next season the "magnificent seven" will be no more.