Coombs' Style Fits Corners Just Fine

Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs has a distinct coaching style, and fortunately for the Buckeyes and their fans, it is one that fits his new players well. Read on to see how Coombs and his CBs are a match made in heaven.

New Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs is hard to miss on the practice field. He's brash, intense and usually at the center of whatever is happening.

Essentially, Coombs is what he wants his players to be.

Coombs was described as a high-intensity coach by several of his players Friday afternoon, and that intensity was on display Wednesday when media members were permitted to watch practice. Coombs yelled at senior Travis Howard and sophomore Bradley Roby, the two returning starters at cornerback, at one point that they were high maintenance after Howard celebrated a pass breakup.

While Coombs often teases his players - he said Friday that the fancy red cleats Howard and other CBs wear look like the ruby slippers worn by Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" - deep down he's happy to have flashy charges.

"All great corners have to have the same psychological makeup," Coombs said. "They have to be fearless. They have to have absolutely no memory and very little consious. Those are guys you're looking for at that position. I tease them about it, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

"What you don't want is a corner that's mousey or timid or wants to fade into the background. You want a guy that doesn't mind standing out there on an island and have everybody watching you."

Coombs' coaching style is one that does not allow timidness. It's simply not in his vocabulary. The longtime high school head coach and former assistant at the University of Cincinnati has not changed his coaching style through the years. Usually, it's met with some resistance. During his first season at Cincinnati Colerain, Coombs began the year with 125 players - and ended with 72.

So the fact that Coombs said he has had no push back since coming to Columbus is remarkable. Coombs, in fact, said he was "absolutely dumbfounded" by the lack of it.

"These guys here, they just keep coming back for more," Coombs said. "That's very exciting."

Still, Coombs does expect some blowback eventually.

"I grab (freshman Tyvis Powell) about every other day and say, 'Hey, how you feeling? Do you hate me yet?,' " Coombs said. "He says, 'No, I don't hate you yet.' But he will, and that's OK because I've told all of them from the beginning that I came to Ohio State to win a national championship and coach first-round draft picks. Anything less than that would be unacceptable on their part and mine.

"So I'm going to coach them hard. It's the only way I know how to coach them. I think they know I care a lot about them. I care a lot about winning, so we're going to do our business hard."

Part of that business includes a little bit of trash talk, a staple in drills between secondary players and wide receivers. With Coombs in the mix, now the coaches are involved as well. Howard said he has never had a coach trash talk like Coombs, a man who earned a nine out of 10 on Howard's trash-talking scale.

"Every day we come out there and he comes out and talks his trash," Howard said. "He gets us involved, too, with the trash talk because we have to back him up every time. We have to go out there and compete every day with the receivers, and it's a great challenge."

Coombs said he is not used to having people watch him coach, but he isn't going to change even though there are more eyes on him now.

"When I first moved (as a coach) from high school to college, I tried to be a college football coach - what I thought a college football coach should be," Coombs said. "Be cerebrial and have my hands folded. I was absolutely miserable and almost quit after the first day. I decided that I needed to coach the way was I was comfortable, and that's the way I coach. I don't know any other way.

"If (OSU head coach Urban Meyer) says cut it out, I will. But until he does, I'm just going to coach them hard. I love what they do. I'm having fun out there. I'm at Ohio State. You can't have more fun than this. Every day is very exciting."

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