Ohio State Gets Defensive; Formally Adds Withers and Vrabel to Staff

Written December 21st, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

In an announcement today that surprised no one, Urban Meyer has added former North Carolina interim head coach Everett Withers to the Buckeye Coaching Staff as Assistant Head Coach and Co-Defensive Coordinator (with Luke Fickell).

Welcome to Buckeye Nation!

Withers, who inherited the TarHeels after the tumult from this summer, has a legacy as a defensive backs guru, having coached the position at the college and professional level. From the press release-

Withers spent one year as defensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota prior to his North Carolina position. He also has been an assistant coach at the University of Texas (1998-2000; defensive backs), Louisville (1995-97; defensive coordinator/assistant head coach/defensive backs), Southern Mississippi (1992-93; defensive backs/assistant special teams), Tulane (1991; outside linebackers) and Austin Peay (1988-90; defensive coordinator/defensive backs; tight ends/special teams).

His first unit (at UNC in 2008) – ranked eighth in the country with 20 interceptions, a number that was just one off the UNC single season record.His 2009 defense was among the nation’s elite, ranking sixth in total defense, 10th against the run, 13th in scoring and 14th in pass defense. His 2010 unit ranked fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 30th nationally. Five players off that unit were taken in the NFL draft, including first-round pick Robert Quinn. And this past year the Tar Heels ranked 14th against the run.

As you can probably guess, he’s stoked:

I am excited, and I couldn’t be more excited to be on coach Urban Meyer’s staff at The Ohio State University. Ohio State is obviously one of the storied programs in college athletics. Having an opportunity to work at that university, and as part of Coach Meyer’s staff, is something that you just can’t pass up.

Additionally, after much speculation, it was announced today that coach Mike Vrabel will be retained as a part of the staff. Coach Meyer-

I had heard such great things about Mike Vrabel as a player, but the key thing for me was I wanted to talk football with him. I wanted to see him recruit, and I wanted to meet his family. I have since spent a lot of time with him, and he has a wonderful family.

I also spoke to a number of people I know well, who also know Mike very well, including Bill Belichick. Coach Belichick and I had a really good discussion about Mike. While Mike is young, we both agreed that the unique experiences he has had as a player, coupled with the things he has already accomplished as a coach and recruiter for Ohio State, has prepared Mike for this opportunity. I am very pleased he will be on the staff.

With this announcement, it would seem that the defensive staffing for next year is set. While none of this is official, our speculation is as follows:

  • Defensive Line: Luke Fickell (Asst. HC, Co-Defensive Coordinator)
  • Linebackers: Mike Vrabel
  • Defensive Backs- Corners: Taver Johnson
  • Defensive Backs- Safeties: Everett Withers (Asst. HC, Co-Defensive Coordinator)


  1. DaleNo Gravatar
    December 21st, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    This man is a nice acquisition. I enjoy reading how he’s pleased to be on the Meyers staff. Meyers is surrounding himself with great coaching talent.


  2. ChrisNo Gravatar
    December 22nd, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Coach Withers has a great resume, I’m surprised UNC didnt jump on keeping him. I know guilt by association, but I thought he did a nice job as interim.


    JimNo Gravatar
    December 22nd, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Withers is guilty by association at UNC like Fickell is guilty by association at OSU- that is to say, not at all.


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