Mike Vrabel Leaving Ohio State for NFL

By Jeremy Birmingham on January 9, 2014 at 6:26p
Recruiting Ace Mike Vrabel

Multiple sources have confirmed to Eleven Warriors that Ohio State defensive line coach Mike Vrabel has accepted the linebackers coaching position on Bill O'Brien's staff with the Houston Texans.

Vrabel has coached at his alma mater for three seasons, two under Urban Meyer and one under former college roommate and teammate Luke Fickell, after a decorated 14-year NFL career, where he won three Super Bowls as a member of the New England Patriots. Vrabel finished with 704 career tackles and 57 sacks.

In 2011, under Fickell, Vrabel coached linebackers, before moving to the defensive line after Meyer retained him.

O'Brien was the offensive coordinator for New England before spending two seasons as Penn State's head coach.

From 1993-1996, Vrabel was a member of the Ohio State football team.

Vrabel and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick grew close during Vrabel's playing days. After Vrabel was hired at Ohio State, Belichick said a future coaching career was foreshadowed throughout his playing career.

A favorite of fans and recruits everywhere, Vrabel was ranked as the 10th-best recruiting coach in the country by 247Sports.com. He was a major factor in the commitments of Dylan Thompson, Jamarco Jones and Jalyn Holmes, three highly-ranked members of Ohio State's 2014 class and his relationship with Buckeye freshman Joey Bosa was a major factor in the Florida-native's recruitment as well.

"During his Patriots career, there was no player more respected for his football intellect and revered for his leadership by his teammates than Mike," Belichick said. "He was elected a team captain by his peers and is a player who I think everyone knew was destined to become a coach after his NFL playing career was over."


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jeremytwoface's picture

The D-line was the bright spot of the defense... And those Super Bowl rings had to be pretty shiny to potential recruits.
I figured this would happen eventually though... Congrats to Vrabes!!

And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of boooooooooze!! And we'll drink to old Ohio 'till we wobble in our shoes.

OHIOST1087's picture

Thanks Vrabel for 3 great years!

Thomas's picture

Just clear house on the defensive side of the ball. The one guy I was hoping would stay is going, this sucks. Urban is going to be a very busy man the next couple of weeks with interviews. Trust Urban will right the ship! Go Bucks!

Phoenix824's picture

What kind of crappy gray box is this.    Say it ain't so.....

bostonbuckeye's picture

This makes me sad.  :( As a lifelong Patriots and Buckeyes fan, Vrabel is by far my favorite. Going to miss him. 

FROMTHE18's picture

Any chance this hurts us with any current commits? Ive already stated i think its highly unlikely but just curious. 

Mute's picture

Just clear house Urban, please

Nick's picture

This is something I least expected.

theobi's picture

This is pretty terrible news. Thanks for everything Vrabel, and good luck in the NFL

Powers's picture

This makes me a Sad Panda :(


Normal Buck's picture

Bad gray box!  Bad!

fansince1968's picture

Congrats Coach Vrabel & best wishes!

thunderhawks51's picture

Any chance we can send them the adam sandler look alike instead?

mockjocks's picture

Adam Sandler look-a-like? Yes. But an even better match is Judge Alex!

Einhorn is a MAN!

BucksfanXC's picture

I wonder if this has anything to do or any effect on Fickell's situation?
Sad to see Vrabro go.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

osu07asu10's picture

I've staunchly defended Fickell and said that Withers would be the only departure. With Vrabel leaving, I think there could be some serious tension/discord amongst the defensive coaches.
I don't think this is going to be the last coach to leave.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

SilverState's picture
TNbuckeye91's picture

no need for downvotes. here's an uv

I come from a long line high, low, and in-between, the same as you. - TVZ

Jangs78's picture

Happy for Vrabs but bummed he is leaving.  Really hope the decision of certain recruits isnt affected 

Wesleyburgess1's picture

Why do I feel like Urban Meyer just exempted the head coaching job at Penn State? Ill miss Vrabel big time and I think we might have issues stopping the run next year because of this.

Urbz4President's picture

Gene Smith better be checking the bank account and looking for the "Tuscaloosa" and "East Lansing" tabs of the ol Rolodex.

chemicalwaste's picture

The only person worth retaining on the defensive staff is the first one gone.

BuckeyeVet's picture

Withers was gone 1st.

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."          - Groucho Marx

"The recipient of Oyster's ONLY down vote".

chemicalwaste's picture

Get out of here with your facts and knowledge and corrections and your fancy cars and your big bank accounts and celebrity friends and your beautiful women, Victoria Silvstedt Playmate of the year.

Jason Gruber's picture

Goddammit! I swear if you guys rip on me 13 or 14 more times... I'm outta here!

"You win with people." Woody Hayes

"If winning isn't everything, why do we keep score?" Vince Lombardi

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Joey Bosa

OSU_ALUM_05's picture


Yeti's have feelings too.

CALPOPPY's picture

Thank you to Alum 05 and Jason Gruber. This was an excellent distraction.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

Bamabucknut's picture

You said it all.

DefendYoungstown's picture

Anybody still worried about Fickell leaving????

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

Bamabucknut's picture

Depends on whether Urban wants to win the big 10 in 2014.We have had record defensive failures for 3 years(two with Urban at the helm). Nothing changes till we clean house on the defensive side....starting at the top.The one keeper is gone.

DefendYoungstown's picture

I agree 100%, I used to like Bill O'Brien, I now say FUCK YOU BOB....  I feel like we're falling more and more behind, already down one DC and now this.  Urban needs to get aggressive in mining for an up and comer.  Not sure how NSD will turn out with this news. Hoping for the best preparing for who know what

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

Dublin68's picture

Thank you Coach Vrabel and good luck

alust2013's picture


...and Michigan still sucks.

Ebvine96's picture

Punch to the gut

farmerbuck's picture

This Just Sucks!! But Good Luck Coach Vrabel And Thanks For Everything!

You have to hate losing more than you love winning! GO BUCKS!!

BuckeyeStrong1993's picture

That sucks but congrats and good luck in Houston.


Chief B1G Dump's picture

Did not see that coming. Sucks for us but best of luck to Vrabel.

I also wonder if this is a foreshadowing of whats to come...a total overhaul of the D staff.
Urban is no dummy. Our defense WILL get fixed.

Wesleyburgess1's picture

Ill be willing to bet Solomon Thomas and Malik McDowell are gone. Maybe Jalyn Holmes is gone too. I hope not

LouGroza's picture

Looks like all is well:


chemicalwaste's picture

God does answer prayers!

One Bad Buckeye's picture

Edit: Beat me to it Lou. Haha!

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

Bucks43201's picture

Stay positive, Wes

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Oakland Buckeye's picture

just keep piling up those encouraging posts wes...

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Assistants move on; it's the nature of the business. Meyer will find a fine replacement, I trust.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

Well poop

Yeti's have feelings too.

BoFuquel's picture


I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Well, this suck a bunch.  He was a great recruiter and coach.  Always good to have a Super Bowl winner on your staff.  We'll best of luck Mike!  We luv ya man!
Go Bucks!!

Tengauge's picture

I enjoyed watching him play at The Ohio State University and for the New England Patriots. Great player, coach, and person. I will miss you coach. I wish all the best to you and your family. Go Bucks!

teddyballgame's picture

this does not make the food taste better

lamplighter's picture

I really really don't like BOB

buckeyedude's picture

That's what I thought. I kind of liked him, as much a you can like a foe, when he was at PSU. I dislike him very much for stealing our coach.



Joe4's picture

This sucks. The only bright side I can see is that the new co-DC can now also coach either the DL or the secondary, which should increase the number of options. That's pretty small potatoes when stacked against losing Vrabel, though.

Buckeye80's picture

Damn!  The scarlet and gray always makes me happy, so why do gray boxes also have to deliver shitty news?  Can't we make them corn and blue when bad things happen?  
Bad for us, good for Coach Vrabel. Thanks Coach!  Appreciate you always representing tOSU. First class all the way!

BHT's picture

As I said in the earlier forum about this, this is not good news concerning the defensive side of the ball. The defensive line won't be the same without Vrabel. He is a very good coach and the d-line has been good. Good luck Coach!

southbuc's picture

D line is good because urbs makes it a priority to recruit freaks at these spots. 

2014nationalchamps's picture

DAMN!!! This Blows.
I would have never thought that 2 of our D coaches would be grabbed up. I would have thought maybe a coach or 2 on O, since our D was the worst in yrs.

O-H-I-O  for life

2014nationalchamps's picture

For Vrabel's replacement I say we go after another former buckeye. Chris Spielman? Any interest in coaching LB's?

O-H-I-O  for life

dlb72osu's picture

I think we will all be hearing about Matt Finkes over the next few days. He was a d-lineman playing opposite of Vrable. Good guy who has stayed close to the program.
Chris Spielman won't take an assistant position. He has publicly stated this. With his wealth of knowledge it would be sheer joy for us OSU fans to have CS in any capacity on the coaching staff. But I don't look for it soon. Would be fantastic, though!

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

- Invictus

cuttyrock's picture

Wish Vrabel the best.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Best of luck in the league Vrabes.
For OSU, all I can say is...SHIT!

Class of 2010.

Findog5's picture

Push reset. Start all over now. Open the checkbook and do it right!

Raleigh Buckeye

BuckeyeChris's picture

Possible replacement:  Matt Finkes. 
Stay tuned... 

berkeleybuckeye's picture

beat me to it 


Bucks Forever's picture
Buckeye Chuck's picture

If this is about replacing Vrabel, then this move has obviously been in the works a lot longer than Finkes himself implied just a couple of hours ago, when he tweeted that he had personally confirmed the news of the departure by talking to Vrabel. Because there's no way Meyer would make such an important hire this impulsively. I assume this is about something else.
Also, why at 9:20? That's kind of a weird time.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

ScarletGray43157's picture

Finkes has a radio show that he co-hosts on 95.5 FM and that probably is when he will announce due to the format of the show i.e. on the second segment of the first hour of the show.  

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

kmp10's picture

There is no way Finkes' "new position" at OSU is on the coaching staff. First of all, Meyer would be the one announcing any hire he's made on his staff, not said hire on his local radio segment. Second of all, this staff needs a proven college football coach/recruiter... not Fickell's buddy cutting his teeth on a defensive staff under immense pressure to improve immeasurably, or else. This is just ridiculous. Finkes is probably doing some game day media stuff with OSU, i.e. sideline reporting.

DefendYoungstown's picture

Maybe video coordinator??? 

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

CALPOPPY's picture

But Defend, we already have a QB coach.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

tommrkr's picture

Using the OSU.edu findpeople page, I found this info:
Matthew Scott Finkes 
Unique Name at OSU: finkes.1
Published Email Address:  finkes.1@osu.edu
Work Information:
Ackerman Rd, 660 (Tower-Bld 8)
660 Ackerman Rd
Columbus, OH 43202
Job Title: Asst Director of Development
Working Title: Assoc Director of Development
Organization: Development/OSU Foundation
VP/College Name: University Advancement
So my guess is it is NOT coaching related.

MilitaryBuckeye's picture

Great find! Thanks for sharing.. +1 for you my friend for your intel skills!

southbymidwest's picture

Tommrkr, you are one very clever guy. Good job.

HotSauceCommittee's picture

This makes sense. I believe he was doing some development work for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society part time. Logical transition to OSU.

berkeleybuckeye's picture

I don't know how to imbed tweets but per Matt Finkes' twitter page, he has a new Poston at Ohio State. 
Matt Finkes ‏@MattFinkes 11m
Still working out a few details, but I will make an announcement regarding my new position at #OSU tomorrow at 920. Thanks #GoBucks


BuckeyeChris's picture

Well, that escalated quickly. 

1stYrBuckIClub's picture

I was really hoping Vrabel would help seal Solomon Thomas... Bah!

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

We just lost the coolest coach assistant coach on the planet and a great recruiter!  This one hurts A LOT!!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

741's picture

Nooooooo! Huge blow to the program. Let's hope Vrabes still has time to visit the WHAC and remain part of the "brotherhood" forever. He is one of the shining NFL success stories I'm sure many of our players and recruits look to as a model for their own success.

SilverState's picture


GoBucks10's picture

Really sad to see him go but good luck. Vrabel is a beast and left behind a Bosa!!!!!!

"Because I couldn't go for three."  - Woody Hayes

Seattle Linga's picture

We wish you the best and don't be a stranger but like we always say here .......... NEXT COACH UP!

Urban Ohio's picture

Should have offered him D.C. / Asst. Head Coach. This Sucks!

Newcomerstown Trojans between Woody and Beaver.

Phillips.449's picture

I don't like this sad shade of gray on my boxes.

Doc's picture

FUUUUUUUUUDDDDDGGGGGEEEEEE!!!!!  This sucks huge balls. Good luck Vrabes you'll be missed

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Doc's picture

MI you were reading my mind. This was the exact scene I was inferring with my post. +1 to you
this news wants me to say another line from this movie...."NOTAFINGA!!!"

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

ScoobyKnows's picture

I wish him the best.  This sucks scooby balls.

Hovenaut's picture

Good luck to Coach Vrabel.

Grow and develop, learn from the BOB.

Maybe one day down the road you come back home......

WhySoSerious's picture

Holy shit.. What the hell is? #nobueno. 


Like the ball in the stands, we balls out

buckeyedude's picture

I wish he could've waited until after the February signing day to announce this. :( Best of luck to ya, bro. Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye!



DenBuck's picture

I'd rather Braxton go and Vrabel stay. Be gentle. 

Buckeye For Life

OSU069's picture

Absolutely not.

Bamabucknut's picture

Now I'm really concerned about  how the team will do this fall. :-(

Condor's picture

Best luck Coach V.
Sucks to see you go, but maybe you'll be back someday...?

"Do not fear me gypsy, all I want is your tears."

 -- Borat Sagdiyev


HattanBuck85's picture

This sucks. Big loss in regards to recruiting. 

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." - Woody Hayes

Doc's picture

Since we all like the colors scarlet and grey.  Could we change the color of bad news to piss or blue?  That way no one would be afraid of grey boxes anymore and we would still hate piss or blue. Positive reinforcement both ways. It's a win win. Just my $0.02
I'm really bummed Vrabel is leaving. He was the only assistant coach I really liked. This is going to take many beers tonight. 

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

JLBNYC's picture

Good luck to Vrabel!
Now, lets clean house.
Lets bring in Pepper Johnson!  Great Buckeye - NFL coach since 2000. Super Bowl rings as a player and coach. He has coached the DL before.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

Besides being unpleasant news, this is a real head-scratcher for me. Given Vrabel's stated love for OSU, it's hard to see how this can be anything other than the outcome of dysfunction/falling out/unpleasantness among the defensive coaching staff or between the defensive coaching staff and Meyer. That, even more than Vrabel's departure by itself, really concerns me. If it's bad enough that an outstanding coach and recruiter and OSU lifer decided to leave, Meyer has his work cut out for him in cleaning up this mess.
On a happier note, I find it hard to believe that this is the last we've seen of Vrabel at OSU. Can't wait for him to return.

DefendYoungstown's picture

Maybe it comes down to $$$, I would imagine that an NFL position probably pays more than a college positions coach.

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

Quite possibly. And maybe he was happy to be at OSU building up his resume, but really wants to coach in the NFL. I'd just like to see an explanation, because right now it looks like possibly the best position coach, possibly the best recruiter (at least among assistant coaches), and the guy, along with Fickell, with the strongest OSU ties just up and left for an equivalent position somewhere else. That doesn't happen without a reason.

southbuc's picture

Not even close to equivalent.  This is about his career and his family and had nothing to do with OSU. 

DefendYoungstown's picture

OSU was the rented mule he used to climb to the next plateau...

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

tommrkr's picture

Best of luck, Coach Vrabel, I'll miss seeing you jog past me during my lunch break on campus.

GOOMBAY's picture

Thanks for your time as a player and coach. Best of luck.
We'll keep the light on...

whalewars's picture

Pay Narduzzi head coach money to come down to the Horseshoe. If Meeeeeeechugan can get Alabama's assistant, we can get MSU's. 

CPDenn's picture

Pat Narduzzi is more than likely on his way to being a head coach, if not this offseason, then next. Why would he want to come here and coach this defense for a year, when he could stay at MSU and coach that defense for a year?

Youngbuck85's picture

Agreed. Make it happen

OSUStu's picture

Just stopping by to say fuck and damn shit ass...

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

kb1's picture

Michigan still sucks.

CowCat's picture

Much upvote. So truth.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

BSTP DeCon's picture

We love and will surely miss you, Coach Vrabs! Thanks for the 3 wonderful years teaching our guys how to take off someone's head and best of luck to you!!

swainpm's picture

Sad day but best of luck to a great Buckeye at his new post. Hopefully he will flourish in the league and return even better.


I hope Urbs can get the wallet out of Smiths pocket. If not maybe we can hire Duane Akina from Macks old staff to coach our safeties and solidify another Texas recruiting source.

CPDenn's picture

Multiple people have already said the Herman to Texas thing isn't true.

swainpm's picture

I am just communicating what was on the radio down here. What did you hear? I haven't found much online besides his name as a candidate. It would be a good move by UT as it protects their borders so didn't seem like that long of a shot.

yrro's picture

Herman to Texas sounds like a real lateral move, anyway. I'd hope that OSU could match any offer they'd come up with.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture


Was that sent via telegram?

DefendYoungstown's picture

maybe morse code? 

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

CowCat's picture


"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

CALPOPPY's picture

I'm not sure. Stop. But it looks like the caps lock was stuck on. Stop.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

umbyosu's picture

Combination of smoke signals and carrier pigeons.  Word of mouth also in full-effect.

Crumb's picture

That's two new defensive coaches we're gonna need! Best of luck Vrabel!

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

andretolstoy's picture

I would be very surprised if any other D Coaches leave at this point. Recruits would actually start to bail.
But on the bright side. The sooner Vrabel leaves, the sooner he gets his man on in the NFL, the sooner he heads are D in the future.

HotSauceCommittee's picture

No lookie at 11W today and this happens. Damn it! F$Cj c*ock sh#t.

Oakland Buckeye's picture

Vrabes is back in three years as DC.....
Go Bucks!

jkrk's picture

Nothing good happens after midnight of the day of the last game of the season. 
Or at least not in this post.

CowCat's picture

I'm probably going to get downvoted for this, but I think coach Vrabel wasn't ready for the Ohio State job. 
He's the consummate Buckeye. Nobody can doubt his resume  Nobody can doubt him as a recruiter.  He's got the coaching gene for sure.
However, while our D line had great moments over the past 2 years, it wasn't a dominant D line. 
A dominant D line can routinely beat 6 blockers with the front 4.   Vrabel, Fickell and Finkes were on such a D line.   The kids they're coaching are not there.
Good luck to coach Vrabel in his coaching career.   I hope he comes back.
<ducking rotten tomatoes  and beer bottles>

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

Barnsey69's picture

Actually, you might be on to something here. Fickell hired Vrabel during his interim year, and my guess is UFB only retained him due to his NFL experience and recruiting prowess, while hoping his coaching skills rounded into form. The line has been good, but not dominant as you have pointed out here. Regardless, he was good for the program and will eventually be a head coach imo, just needs more seasoning. 

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

RedsBuckeyeBoy's picture

He's certainly earned it. Thanks for everything, coach Vrabel, and good luck with the texans! 

Buckabroad's picture

Of all the awful news we have had to endure recently, this is the worst by far.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

Jason Gruber's picture

"You win with people." Woody Hayes

"If winning isn't everything, why do we keep score?" Vince Lombardi

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Joey Bosa

Edincostarica's picture

Mike, Sorry to you go but wish you the best of luck.


Zimmy07's picture

Man, I hope we don't lose an commits due to this.
As a Texan's fan, I'm kind of conflicted on hearing this news.

mockjocks's picture

Part of the business. Looking forward to Urbs facing the challenges.

Einhorn is a MAN!