Ohio State Promotes Matt Barnes to Secondary Coach, Parker Fleming to Special Teams Coordinator

By Dan Hope on February 3, 2021 at 9:04 am
Matt Barnes

Ohio State is filling the open spot on its coaching staff by promoting from within.

Ryan Day announced Wednesday that Parker Fleming, who has been a quality control coach for the Buckeyes for the past three seasons, has been promoted to special teams coordinator, filling the full-time assistant coach spot opened up by Greg Mattison's retirement.

Matt Barnes, who was previously the special teams coordinator and assistant secondary coach, will now be the secondary coach.

While Mattison was a co-defensive coordinator for his two seasons on Ohio State's staff, Kerry Coombs will now be the Buckeyes' sole defensive coordinator for the 2021 season.

Fleming has previous experience as a full-time assistant coach, as he was the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas State before joining the Buckeyes as a quality control coach in 2018. Fleming also previously worked as a wide receivers and special teams coach at Texas State and was the wide receivers coach at James Madison before that.

A former college quarterback at Presbyterian, Fleming also worked at Ohio State in 2012 and 2013 as a graduate assistant.

Fleming's promotion marks the second time in two years that Day has promoted a quality control coach to fill a vacancy on his coaching staff, as he did the same by promoting Corey Dennis to quarterbacks coach last year.

While Ohio State's defensive struggles this past season gave Day reason to consider shaking things up and bringing in a new co-defensive coordinator, Day ultimately decided in favor of stability, putting his faith in returning assistant coaches Coombs, Barnes, Larry Johnson and Al Washington to get things fixed on the defensive side of the ball without bringing in any new full-time defensive coaches.

Coombs enters the 2021 season with a lot to prove as a second-year defensive coordinator, but after a 2020 season in which the Buckeyes had to deal with the constant challenges of COVID-19, Day is standing by Coombs and his other returning defensive assistants and trusting their ability to get the defense back on track.

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