Coombs Still Excited to be a Bearcat

Kerry Coombs is making the transition from high school head coach to college assistant, but so far it sounds like it's been a fun ride for the always enthusiastic Coombs.

As Kerry Coombs continues to transition from high school administrator and head football coach to full time assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati, there are still some adjustments to make.  Bearcat Insider spoke with the legendary Coombs after Tuesday's practice about the biggest adjustments he's had to make at UC.  "I don't know if I've been surprised by anything, but I've had to adjust to the game.  The college game is a lot longer than the high school game so you have to stay intense for a longer period of time.  Your preparation has to be greater too.  In high school, you almost never have a lesser team win a game, but in college, I'm learning it does happen more often.  Those are the two things that have caught me by surprise."


Another difference in Coombs' daily chores is he spends all his time either coaching or recruiting.  There are no more administrative duties as an assistant principal.  Coach Coombs made it clear that having to recruit has not been a problem.  "I really like recruiting because I really like kids.  We had a great visit this weekend with a kid, and I really enjoyed that.  I could lie to you and say I enjoy all the weekends in January that I didn't use to have when you go from 5 on Friday afternoon until 2 on Sunday afternoon, but the contact with the kids and coaches is really neat."


The ex-Colerain head coach has certainly done a fine job as a position coach. His defensive backs are leading the country in interceptions with twelve in only four games.  As expected, the veteran deflected all the credit to his players.  "The kids have played great and are preparing well.  We didn't have a great week last week as far as interceptions were concerned.  We should have had five, and we got one.  It's something we'll continue to work on, but honestly, we didn't think we played our best game last week.  But we're playing great passing offenses too.  Marshall was #17 in the country in passing, and Miami was #29 the week before.  San Diego State this week is #15."


Coach Coombs knows Aztec quarterback Kevin O'Connell will present a major challenge this weekend to his players.  "He's very similar to the quarterback we just faced at Marshall.  He can run well and scrambles to get away from the rush.  They lead the country in fewest turnovers.  Both were interceptions and one was at the end of the half.  You can tell he's an experienced player."  O'Connell is a four year starter and three time Aztec captain.


Mike Mickens already has four interceptions while DeAngelo Smith has three.  Both juniors have performed like All-BIG EAST caliber cornerbacks.  Coombs agreed but didn't limit his praise to his corners, "I haven't seen all the other teams in the BIG EAST yet, but if there are four players playing better in the country than our guys, I would be surprised.  All four of them are worthy of recognition, but we've only played a third of the season."  Haruki Nakamura and Anthony Williams have been the starting safeties.  Coach Coombs continued.  "The thing I like best about them is I don't think they're worried about that (post season honors).  I think they just worry about improving every day and trying to win games."


When asked if he'd changed anything, Kerry gave his usual refrain.  "Every day is like Christmas.  I keep saying that, but the reality is I wish I had more time for my family.  That's a challenge, and I don't know what else to do other than move them down here on campus because this job requires a lot of hours.  But I am working with great coaches, and I've learned an unbelievable amount about being a head coach, the college game, interaction with people and motivating people.  There are some things I thought I was good at, but I've found there are better people.  Other than getting to spend time with my family and getting to see my son play at Miami and my daughter play at Ball State right now, I wouldn't change a single thing."


Bearcat fans wouldn't change a thing either as Coombs has continued to prove himself to be one of the best coaches the Cincinnati area has ever seen.


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