Ohio State Football: Meet Urban Meyer's Defensive Coaching Staff
The speculation and rumors surrounding Meyer's potential coaching staff can be put to rest on the defensive side of the ball. After officially announcing the addition of Everett Withers and the news of Mike Vrabel being retained, Meyer's defensive coaching staff can be written in stone.
This does eliminate Mike Stoops from the picture despite the fact that he was a bit of a long-shot from the beginning. However, Meyer has managed to assemble quite an impressive staff that has the potential to dominate as coaches and recruiters. Here's a quick bio of each defensive coach.
Luke Fickell: Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach
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Buckeye fans have gotten to know Luke Fickell extremely well this past season. The Columbus native took over as head coach after Jim Tressel was forced to resign due to NCAA infractions and allegations.
Despite going 6-6, Fickell did an admirable job and put his love for his alma mater on full display while doing everything he possibly could to keep the program intact. The man is the epitome of Ohio State football and all it represents.
Along with his great love for OSU, Fickell also has an impressive track record as an assistant coach. Under Tressel, Fickell served as the linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator for several seasons and did a fantastic job.
He coached the most successful and productive position year in and year out and was even named the Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010 by the American Football Coaches Association.
From 1993-1996, the former Wrestling State Champion started a record 50 consecutive games at Ohio State as a nose guard.
He is a huge get for Meyer and earned a right to be retained from his efforts this year alone.
Everett Withers: Co-Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach
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Before joining Meyer's staff, Withers served as the interim head coach at UNC. Prior to that, the young coach served as a defensive coordinator at UNC and the University of Minnesota. Withers also draws coaching experience from the NFL, where he coached the defensive backs for the Tennessee Titans.
Withers offers a world of experience to this coaching staff and a specific expertise to the secondary. Meyer claims that "Everett is extremely well-respected across the country" and thinks "Withers will be a great fit for this staff"
The 48-year-old coach was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and is the only member of the defensive staff not from Ohio. In his playing days, Withers was a defensive back at Appalachian State University where he eventually served as a team captain.
Along with serving as co-defensive coordinator, Withers will most likely coach the safeties. However, Withers will also hold the title of assistant head coach.
Mike Vrabel: Linebackers Coach
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Urban Meyer didn't seem completely sold on Mike Vrabel as a coach at first. However, the three-time Super Bowl champion has successfully garnered Meyer's trust.
According to a source, Meyer referred to Vrabel's former coach in the NFL, Bill Belichick, in order to evaluate and discuss Vrabel's potential as a young coach and recruiter. The former Pro Bowler has already proven himself as an effective recruiter and was heavily involved in the recruitment of recent 5-star OSU commit Noah Spence.
The Akron native spent 14 years in the NFL where he won three Super Bowls and was named to one Pro Bowl team in 2007. Before Vrabel blossomed as an NFL star, the Ohioan played defensive end at Ohio State. In 1995 and 1996, Vrabel was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and was even named to Ohio State Football All-Century Team.
Vrabel brings great experience as a player to this coaching staff and a certain intensity as well. He already seems like a fierce recruiter and will only improve this coaching staff.
Taver Johnson: Cornerbacks Coach
Another coach Meyer has decided to retain is current corner backs coach Taver Johnson. The cornerback position has been solid since he joined Jim Tressel's staff in 2007.
Before coaching at OSU, he was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Miami University (Ohio) from 2005-2006 and also served as the special teams coach for the Cleveland Browns in 2004.
Johnson attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. He played football for three years there and was a two-time All-American.
The Ohio native is relentless recruiter and has clearly impressed Meyer thus far. Johnson is an excellent fit for this coaching staff and will continue to produce top-notch corner backs in the future.