This week there was little mystery how the Ohio State assistant coaches who would speak to the media were chosen: Both Tim Hinton and Kerry Coombs are Ohio natives who have been assistants at Cincinnati, the Buckeyes’ opponent for Saturday night at Ohio Stadium.
Both assistants made available at Ohio State's weekly football press conference talked about the Queen City, the Buckeyes' off-week activities and more on Monday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Tim Hinton, tight ends/fullbacks
Jeff Heuerman is back on the field today after giving his foot injury a couple of weeks to heal. He seems to be feeling good and managing his volume of practice will be a challenge for the coaching staff. He adds a lot to the offense when he is in the game.
Hinton thought last week's practices were really outstanding. What was uncommon was that it was all three days, not just one or two. They got a lot done. This team understands there are high expectations and they only way to meet them is to work hard. Every team is different, and this one really likes competition, so they scrimmaged a lot during the open week. They get a lot out of that as opposed to practicing in groups, which can become tedious. So they got creative and tried some different things from a scrimmage setting and will figure on coaching more off the film of practice. They even skipped some other things they had planned to extend a scrimmage because it was going so well. He pointed out guys are around football a lot and their favorite part is competing, so why not let them play? Of course they have to be careful with overextending and risking injury. It also helps them get a better feel for the personnel.
On the involvement of the tight ends in the offense, he pointed out their offense is designed to be able to take advantage of whatever weak point can be found in the defense. When that involves the tight ends, they will get the ball more and they understand that.
Asked about Marcus Baugh, he said the freshman tight end was more impressed with his debut against Kent State than Hinton was. Baugh scored a touchdown on his first play, but the rest of his performance was not up to the standards they expect as far as blocking and finishing plays. Hinton also acknowledged as a coach he has high expectations and sometimes the best thing is to be hard on the young guys as they come along. Hinton also called Baugh's parents to congratulate them and thank them for helping him make it to Ohio State.
Asked about his time as an assistant coach at Cincinnati, Hinton said he was very fortunate to be there at a special time with Mark Dantonio and then Brian Kelly from 2004-09 when the Bearcat program improved a great deal, including two BCS bowl appearances. He has coached UC teams twice at Ohio Stadium and knows how the Bearcats will feel as far as being the "other" Ohio school. They will have a chip on their shoulder.
The Bearcats have a strong pass rush because they do a good job of getting individuals in one-on-one situations against offensive linemen with their scheme. Good tenacity and hard work are part of rushing the passer, but it helps to prevent offensive linemen from being able to help each other. They don't blitz a lot, but sometimes it's easier to prepare for a team if you know there will be a lot of blitzes.
Kerry Coombs, cornerbacks/special teams coordinator
Cincinnati has a deep WR corps, and Ohio State will have to focus on winning individual matchups more so than worrying about scheming for the Bearcat passing attack. Asked about wide receiver Shaq Washington, he said the diminutive Bearcat has developed into the special type of player they thought he would be when they recruited him. He is great in space and knows how to find openings in the secondary, but he is just one of several talented receivers on the UC roster.
The Ohio State defense is aggressive because that's what kids and coaches both like. Nobody wants to be called soft, and players heard that in the offseason and have responded well. When the secondary was getting ripped last year, he felt a need to stand in the way and take criticism so the players wouldn't have to. He tried to shield them while also working with them on how they can get better.
High school football is great in Cincinnati because of how important it is to the players and the parents and the community as a whole.
He's proud of what he did at UC as an assistant from 2007-11. It was a very exciting time as they raised the profile of the program. UC wasn't a focal point of sports in Cincinnati when he was growing up, and he hopes to have helped change that. The Bearcats are a real force in college football now, as they should be. They are doing great things with the campus and the facilities.
Asked about his decision to leave Cincinnati, his hometown and where he was a high school coach for years before becoming an assistant for the Bearcats, Coombs responded the decision came down to, "It's Ohio State" and "It's Urban Meyer." He grew up in Cincinnati admiring Woody Hayes, so it was a major opportunity.
See what Buckeye fans are saying here