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Football: Ohio State announces Alex Grinch’s and Taver Johnson’s job responsibilities

Former Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. Credit: Courtesy of Ezekiel Nelson | Daily Evergreen

Ohio State took advantage of an NCAA measure passed, which allows college football teams to increase their coaching staffs and add a 10th assistant coach, by hiring Alex Grinch in a role previously undisclosed.

On Tuesday, the Buckeyes revealed Grinch will be their co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach next season after previously announcing his hiring in an undisclosed position on Jan. 8.

Ohio State also disclosed Taver Johnson, who was hired to fill the void of former cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs leaving for the Tennessee Titans, will become the cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator. Initially, he was announced as solely the cornerbacks coach.

Grinch and Johnson each have extensive experience coaching their respective position groups.

Grinch worked as Washington State’s defensive coordinator for the past three seasons and also was the team’s secondary coach during the stretch. The defense ranked 97th in yards allowed the season before he arrived, but rose to 16th in the country last season. Prior to his time at Washington State, he was the secondary coach at Missouri (2012-14), Wyoming (2009-11) and New Hampshire (2005-08).

Last season, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano served as the safeties coach. Grinch’s expertise in the back-end of the defense should allow Schiano to spend more time working on the defense as a whole, rather than working on position-specific drills with the safeties.

Johnson spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Temple and was a defensive backs coach nine of the previous 10 seasons. He spent three years at Purdue coaching the cornerbacks and safeties (2014-16) and spent the prior two years coaching at Arkansas. Johnson previously held the position of defensive backs coach at Ohio State from 2007 to 2011.

However, Johnson does not have much experience coaching special teams. He has only spent one year as a special teams coordinator, and it came in the NFL when he held the position for the Cleveland Browns in 2004. Since then, Johnson has only been a defensive coordinator or defensive backs coach.

Grinch will make $800,000 per year on a two-year deal, and Johnson will make $345,000 each season on a two-year contract.

Grinch and Johnson will speak to the media Wednesday afternoon for the first time since being hired by Ohio State.

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