Ohio State Hires Matt Barnes As Special Teams Coordinator and Assistant Secondary Coach

By Dan Hope on January 10, 2019 at 5:52 pm
Matt Barnes

Ohio State has completed its defensive coaching staff.

Matt Barnes, who was previously Maryland's linebackers coach and special teams coordinator, has been hired as Ohio State's new special teams coordinator and assistant secondary coach, the school announced Thursday evening.

“Matt is a young coach who has really done a great job at Maryland,” said new Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. “He’s an energy guy who has considerable knowledge of the Big Ten Conference plus experience coaching in the Southeastern Conference. He’s going to work well with our staff and I’m pleased to have him on board.”

Barnes spent the last three seasons at Maryland, coaching the Terrapins' linebackers for all three seasons while adding special teams coordinator duties this past season.

Barnes previously worked as a defensive analyst for Jim Harbaugh's staff at Michigan in 2015, and was a defensive and special teams graduate assistant at Florida from 2012 to 2014. A team captain at Salisbury University, where he graduated in 2008, Barnes began his coaching career as the running backs coach at Delaware Valley College in 2009, then spent two seasons at West Virginia Wesleyan before moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

The hiring of Barnes signals that Taver Johnson, Ohio State's cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator last season, will not return to the Buckeyes next season, though his departure has not yet been officially announced.

Barnes joins a defensive coaching staff that will also consist of defensive line coach and associate head coach Larry Johnson (the only defensive coach retained from last year's staff), co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley and linebackers coach Al Washington.

Ohio State has not announced any changes to its offensive coaching staff other than the addition of quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Mike Yurcich. Wide receivers coach Brian Hartline has been confirmed as returning for the 2019 season, while running backs coach Tony Alford also confirmed to Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch that he will return next season.

It remains unclear exactly how Hafley and Barnes will split up duties coaching the secondary, but it appears that Barnes' primarily responsibility will be coaching special teams. While special teams coaching was a more collaborative effort under former coach Urban Meyer, who took a leading role in coaching special teams himself, Day is expected to spend more time working with the offense, opening the door for an assistant coach to take on special teams duties as a primary role.

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