Steele Chambers Says James Laurinaitis’ Promotion Was “Much Deserved” While Tommy Eichenberg Learned “Even More Than What Showed Up On Tape” from the Former Ohio State Linebacker

By Garrick Hodge on February 28, 2024 at 11:50 am
James Laurinaitis and Steele Chambers

After a year on Ohio State's coaching staff as a graduate assistant, James Laurinaitis is preparing for his first spring as a full-time assistant.

But Laurinaitis had already been ingrained as a vital coach for linebackers on the Buckeyes' defensive staff before his promotion on Feb. 15. While meeting with reporters Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg both endorsed Laurinaitis as a teacher and credited him with helping them on the field.

Chambers, who said he endearingly called Laurinaitis "uncle" after he became the full-time linebackers coach, was happy to see him get promoted.

"Much deserved," Chambers said Wednesday. "He's a great guy. He obviously was a hell of a player back in the day. But he's an even better person."

Chambers said Laurinaitis related to the Ohio State linebackers well by using his experience at a Buckeye to teach the current players at the position.

"He would really just tell us stories from his playing days," Chambers said of how Laurinaitis helped him last season. "He'd describe how the game of football is hard. He'd show us clips of him messing up. We'd realize if a dude like that messes up, then it's OK for me to as long as I'm making changes and making adjustments."

Eichenberg credited Laurinaitis with helping him with things that go beyond the box score and said his presence was a benefit that he hadn't had in his Ohio State career until his final season.

"There's a lot," Eichenberg said when asked what he learned from Laurinaitis this past season. "I think even more than what showed up on tape. But there are experiences, the plays that he's going through, how he's dealt with certain plays, certain routes, certain coverages. That was something that, before him, I really couldn't get it from anyone else, really. I mean coach (Jim) Knowles was great. I love coach Knowles. But I think that first year was more like installing the defense. And then James came in and gave me that experience."

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