Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs spoke with reporters following practice on Tuesday. Also speaking with reporters were cornerbacks Sevyn Banks and Marcus Williamson.

Here are the highlights of everything that was said.

Kerry Coombs

+ Sevyn Banks has to be consistent in his performance and his preparation, but Coombs has been very pleased. “I’m excited to coach him and see how he fares out there.”

+ How hard has it been to catch up? He prefers to be a hands-on coach but he learned how to be a Zoom coach. He actually communicated more with the kids because there’s been no recruiting on the road. The absence of available practice time was disappointing, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Ryan Day has done a remarkable job of maximizing everything they can do to make this team better in the time/ways allotted.

+ It’s too early in camp for him to say he’s confident this group will live up to past groups, but he likes everybody they’ve got. It’s inexperienced talent, but that’s what happens when you have great players. “We’re ready to play. We’ll be fine.”

+ What does it take to start at CB at Ohio State. More than anything he’s looking for a gritty competitor, a kid who refuses to lose, is fearless, play in and play out. More than anything, he wants a mentally tough guy who has the confidence that his guy will not get open.

+ Anybody jumping out at you right now? No, everybody knows who is here. The core group of players that everybody has talked about are the guys who are going to go. The young guys don’t know what they don’t know yet.

+ This season more than any other you have to rely on inexperienced players to help the depth.

+ Why is Ohio football so important to him? It’s really everything he is. “It’s everything about who I am and how I grew up.” His wife and he went to the same high school and his kids went to the same school. There was no plan to leave the area until Urban Meyer called in 2012. “I love this state.”

+ The NFL is a nickel-based league because 70% of the plays are passes. 

+ “I think the big thing is being able to play multiple personnel groupings on defense.” That’s not necessarily common in CFB. It’s been an offensive thing for a long time, but it’s bleeding over into the defensive side of the ball. It’s going to be ability based and the health of the roster.

+ “I think this is an extraordinary kid.” Coombs sang Happy Birthday to him last week when talking to him about returning. “He loves to win.” They have always have a great relationship. They would text when Coombs was at Tennessee. When a kid says to you that they need you to talk to him like he’s your son, there’s a lot of responsibility that goes with that and Coombs has never taken that lightly. Coombs told him he loved him regardless of what he decided about opting back in this year.

+ Wade isn’t back yet but he is in the process of returning, including COVID testing. “We’re just waiting on his results right now.”

+ On coming up with the Best In America label, he said his not satisfied with this group yet. But it started out as the mantra was that since they are at the best place in America, then they should be the best at what they do in America. He only wants to be around people who want to be the best in the world at what they do. “That’s a challenge because it means there’s a standard to live up to every single day.”

+ “We have to compete against the best wide receivers in the nation, day in and day out.”

+ Marcus Williamson is in the slot because this is a matchup business. He’s built like the slots he’s going to face. “That’s been to me an easy transition for Marcus. I have a comfort level for that.” He’s had an extraordinary offseason. He’s playing very well right now. “I’m excited to watch him grow and compete.”

+ Asked if one day he will leave Ohio State to coach for his son Brayden. He said he loves Brayden more than he loves oxygen but he doesn’t know if he could work with Brayden or Brayden could work for him.

+ Haskell Garrett probably isn’t as far away from playing as anybody would think. “I would have thought season over, career over, and I don’t think that’s true.” 

+ Coombs finished by thanking the media for covering this team and covering the fight to make this season happen. “It doesn’t go unnoticed here.”

Sevyn Banks

+ Tyreke Johnson and he have been close since they got here. 

+ “I feel good.”

+ Being the backup last year he learned a lot from Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette.

+ “That was a process…” waiting for the Big Ten to make an announcement. But it’s always good to be ready.

+ His thought process about Shaun Wade going or staying hasn’t changed. He’s always been planning to ball. “I’m just going to do me.”

+ They are taking the battle to start day by day. “We’re just going to compete.”

+ Everybody has been dealt some cards, it just depends on how you play them. Marcus Williamson has been playing his cards very well. “When he puts it together, he’s going to be good.”

+ What does it take to start at Ohio State? It comes down to making plays and being smart.

+ How did he get the jersey number 7 from Teradja Mitchell? Halfway through the year he asked Mitchell and Mitchell eventually said okay.

+ On his number: “If you look good, you play good.” His mom is a biblical person and seven is the number of completion.

Marcus Williamson

+ If you know anything about Coach Coombs, he always brings the energy. Most of the starters are gone, so Coombs has been able to keep the culture going at Ohio State.

+ He’s spent most of his time on the inside at slot corner, but they’ve all been pretty interchangeable. They have preached versatility.

+ He, Ronnie Hickman, and Cam Martinez have been working in the slot. 

+ He’s brought a lot of football knowledge to this position and he has the skill set to allow him to defend the slot.

+ Every year he has had changes in his position coach. With those changes have come knowledge and techniques and many different styles. And now with Coombs back, he is rejuvenated and it has reminded him why he came to Ohio State. They have had that relationship since he was 15 years old.

+ Coombs understands that Williamson’s career hasn’t been perfect, but when Coombs returned he said let’s get to work and have the career he was meant to have.

+ The Best In America label is important. You get here and you don’t really know what it means, but Coombs originated it and there is a legacy to live up to. They aren’t competing against the guy next to them. They are competing against all of the greats that came before them.

+ Tyreke Johnson came in as a 5-star recruit. He’s extremely talented. Sometimes it is hard to break through. Johnson keeps his head down and works. 

+ His first couple of years were full of injuries. Having this extra year has given him a new life blood and he’s stepped into a new leadership role. “I’ve done a lot of waiting.”

+ Not having pads on in practice has its difficulties. But the coaches have talked to them about practicing like a pro. Having great footwork, playing low, having the right approach when tackling. It will pay off when it comes time to put the pads on.

+ Coach Coombs spent two years in the League and he has brought that knowledge back to the team.

+ What did he learn from Jeff Okudah and the guys from the past? Those are his teammates and you feed off of them. You watch how they compete and you reach for that standard. “It’s something that we all strive for and I strive for personally.”

+ Everybody getting an extra year has given him a renewed purpose.

+ There haven’t been pads, but there are ways to practice tackling without tackling. They drill it every day. Once the pads go on, the training wheels come off.

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