Presser Bullets: Alex Grinch, Taver Johnson Meet The Ohio State Media

By Dan Hope on February 28, 2018 at 1:10 pm

For the first time since being hired to Ohio State's coaching staff earlier this year, newly appointed co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Alex Grinch and cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator Taver Johnson met with the media for their introductory press conferences at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday afternoon.

Grinch met with the media first. Here's what you need to know from his press conference:

  • When you receive a call from an elite program like Ohio State, you have to take it and consider the opportunity, Grinch said.
  • Grinch said there are "probably more similarities than differences" between the defensive schemes he has used at Washington State and other previous stops and the scheme that is used at Ohio State.
  • On being a part of the Mount Union coaching tree, which has produced several current FBS head coaches including Iowa State's Matt Campbell and Toledo's Jason Candle: "I'm probably the least successful Mount Union coach there is. I'm just hanging on."
  • "My role here is to help in any way I can on the defensive side of the ball," Grinch said in regards to how he will mesh with defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and the rest of the staff.
  • "Ohio is home," the Grove City native said. Grinch's grandparents had Ohio State season tickets and he was born at the university hospital.
  • Grinch called it "thrilling" to have the opportunity to work for two experienced head coaches in both Urban Meyer and Greg Schiano. "It doesn't happen. Those opportunities don't present themselves in this profession."
  • Even though there were rumors that Schiano would leave after Grinch took the job, which could have opened the door for Grinch to become defensive coordinator, Grinch said he knew what his role would be when he took the job. 
  • On the difference of recruiting at Ohio State vs. Washington State: "The initial conversation is certainly different. Getting guys to call you is a little bit easier."
  • "I've been very, very fortunate to be around strong leadership throughout the course of my career, and that will certainly continue here."
  • On Urban Meyer vs. Mike Leach: "There's no comparison between the two." Grinch, who expressed his gratitude to Leach for the opportunity he gave him at Washington State, said Leach is the same way on a day-to-day basis as he is during his press conferences, which often consist of long rants on topics unrelated to football.
  • Grinch said he is uncertain whether his Ohio roots give him any advantage on the recruiting trail because of how strong the program already was without him.
  • On his top returning safety: "The film suggests Jordan Fuller can be an elite defensive back at this level."

Johnson met with the media after that. A sampling of what he had to say:

  • Asked why he left Ohio State for Arkansas when Meyer arrived, Johnson said he felt like it was time for him to venture out to a different opportunity. He wouldn't take that back now, but he's glad to be back at Ohio State.
  • On filling in the large footsteps of Kerry Coombs: "I know I have some big shoes to fill, and I've accepted that challenge and am excited about it."
  • Was Johnson surprised that Meyer wanted him back after Johnson spurned the opportunity to work for him the first time around? "Yes and no." He felt that he and Meyer still had a strong personal relationship, but said it was difficult to tell Meyer no.
  • On his first impressions of being an assistant coach for Meyer: "Every day you walk in the door, you're going 100 miles per hour."
  • "There is a different level" of talent at Ohio State now than there was during his previous stint at Ohio State from 2007-11 under Jim Tressel, particularly in the depth of talent the Buckeyes have.
  • Johnson said redshirt freshman cornerback Shaun Wade, who missed last season due to injury, has been "doing everything" since Johnson has arrived and Johnson expects Wade to be a full-go this spring. 
  • Johnson described Tressel as the "ultimate competitor" and intense behind closed doors despite his outwardly mild-mannered persona. With Meyer, "what you see is what you get."
  • Johnson and his family are looking to move into a house in the same neighborhood where they previously lived at Ohio State.
  • Johnson implied that Jeffrey Okudah has been dealing with an injury but did not divulge details, saying that he is back to running around now.

You can see more of what Grinch and Johnson had to say in the videos above, and stay tuned with Eleven Warriors for additional coverage on both new coaches.

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