Ohio State rounded out its defensive coaching staff on Thursday by hiring Maryland linebackers coach Matt Barnes as assistant secondary coach as well as special-teams coordinator.
Barnes’ hiring means that cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson will not return to Ohio State. Defensive line coach Larry Johnson will be the only returning coach on the Buckeyes’ defense, which ranked among Ohio State’s worst statistically.
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Barnes served as the Terrapins’ special-teams coordinator the last three seasons, adding linebackers to his duties last year. Maryland returned two kickoffs for touchdowns last year and had two punt blocks.
Before coming to Maryland, Barnes was a defensive analyst for Michigan in Jim Harbaugh’s first season as Wolverines coach. He was a graduate assistant at Florida for three years prior to that.
“Matt is a young coach who has really done a great job at Maryland,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “He’s an energy guy who has considerable knowledge of the Big Ten Conference plus experience coaching in the Southeastern Conference. He’s going to work well with our staff and I’m pleased to have him on board.”
Barnes is a native of Ijamsville, Maryland. He graduated in 2008 from Salisbury College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He was a linebacker and captain and was a candidate for the Draddy Trophy (now the William V. Campbell Trophy), which is given for the college player with the best combination of academics, community service and on-field performance.
With the defensive staff settled, Day is now trying to complete his offensive staff. One piece was settled on Thursday. Running backs coach Tony Alford will return for his fifth season.
“I love the kids we have here and I am genuinely excited about the direction and leadership of Ryan Day,” Alford said in a text message. “My experience here has been great and I’m extremely excited for what the future holds for us all here at THE Ohio State University and The Buckeye Football Program!!”
That leaves offensive co-coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa as the only assistants from last year’s staff whose status is uncertain. Studrawa has indicated that he expects to return.
Who’s coaching the Buckeyes?
Head coach: Ryan Day
Offensive coordinator: Kevin Wilson*
Passing game coordinator/QBs: Mike Yurcich
Running backs: Tony Alford
Offensive line: Greg Studrawa*
Wide receivers: Brian Hartline
Defensive co-coordinator: Greg Mattison
Defensive co-coordinator/secondary: Jeff Hafler
Defensive line/associate head coach: Larry Johnson
Linebackers: Al Washington
Assistant secondary/special-teams coordinator: Matt Barnes