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Everett Withers is OUT

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Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby furls » Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:33 pm

Withers to James Madison University.

Pretty clear that he was shown the door. You don't go from CO-DC at OSU to HC at a middling FCS school by choice, particularly when the pay is about 50% what he was making (580K to about 300K@JMU would be my guess).

Secondary has been a trainwreck since Meyer brought his staff in, so this is a good thing. Let's see if there is a full fledged defensive purge. I don't think Vrabel goes anywhere, and I don't think Coombs does either. Fickell....???? hmmm...
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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby YahooFanChicago » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:40 pm

Furls,

Withers and Coombs were responsible for the DB's? Withers safeties and Coombs corners? Is that correct? If so, why do you think Coombs gets a pass from Meyer? The corners (even with Roby) were much less than stellar.

Also, potentially ignorant question, but is it typical to have the DB's having 2 different position coaches at the collegiate level?

The defense never really seemed like a cohesive unit this year. 2 co-defensive coordinators, 2 coaches for the DB's, a linebackers coach and a DLine coach. I get the seperate D line and Linebackers coaches but 2 co-defensive coordinators and 2 different position coaches for the DB's seems like a lot of specialists. I used to have a boss who would say if 2 people are in charge of a function no one is really in charge and you're going to have a mess. Seemed to hold true of our defense this year with 2 co-defensive coordinators.

Do you think Fickel gets the nod as THE Defensive coordinator or does he get pressed to move on and/or demoted to Linebackers coach?
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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby furls » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:03 am

I don't think Coombs gets a complete pass, or at least shouldn't from fans. They are his DBs. That said, there are a lot of things that we don't know. Withers had to be the first to go if you are going to start firing folks in the secondary because as the CO-DC that is position coaching in the defensive backfield he is certainly in charge of the "coordination" of the entire secondary.

Above ALL things that has been by far the biggest issue with this secondary. Nearly (not all) every big in the secondary was the result of busted coverages that resulted in DBs looking at each other like, "Dude, you were in the wrong place." Sometimes guys do the wrong thing, you can't fix that 100%, but when it happens a couple of times a game it is a coordination problem. That doesn't mean Pitt Brown doesn't suck, he certainly does, but it was across the entire secondary.

The called secondary often did not match the call in the front 6-7. For example what is the sense in bringing 6 if you are going to play 10-15 yards off on the outside? This is on Fickell and Withers. The safety play, Wither's position group, has been SKETCHY at best and that was before Bryant's injury too, so it isn't just a depth/Pitt Brown thing.

Now if we take a look at Coombs.... he was the ST coordinator and they largely did a very good job this year. A couple of breakdowns, but the law of large numbers applies. He is also the CB coach. 2012 saw Roby play like an AA, 2013 saw a regression. His teammates have basically said, his primary concern is the fact that he should've gone to the draft. That is not something I can put on Coombs, but it is a data point. Now Doran Grant's transformation has been fantastic and reminds me of the same transformation we saw from Roby under Coombs from 2011 to 2012. I think he is coaching these guys up. I hate the way the CBs play on the outside, but I think that the spacing is more of a secondary call than a position coaching technique.

Coombs is definitely not innocent, but he is nowhere near as guilty as Withers. I think OSU brings in a more senior "CO" DC secondary coach that will effectively relegate Fickell back to a position coach. I think it is going to be an ongoing measure to push Fickell out as he will be difficult to fire on a winning team and Meyer is not going to stop winning. Word on the street is that Fickell turned down that FAU HC job, so he had a chance to leave and didn't feel compelled from the nest.
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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby neoleo » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:49 am

Great points Furls. Your last is one worth diving further into. I think Fickell (reportedly) turning down the FAU job says a lot now that Withers looks like he was forced into taking an FCS job. If Fickell felt like he was going to be demoted or fired, I have to believe he would have jumped at a FBS head coaching job (especially one in Florida with a familiar AD).

I think Fickell has deservedly taken a lot of heat, but I felt all along that Withers was getting a free pass and might have actually been more responsible for the trainwreck of a D (for a lot of the reasons you pointed out above). This series of events leads me to believe that Meyer might feel the same.
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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby furls » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:28 pm

I still hope Fickell goes. Maybe BGSU or Miami (OH). I am not sure if those 2 positions are still open, but I would love to see him go. He really doesn't have the chops or the resume to be the DC on a major player in FBS ball. His philosophy, which is very similar to Jim Heacock's (his mentor @ OSU), does not really line up with Meyer's. Strategically, Meyer's offense is not a good match with a bend but don't break offense. Heacock and Tressel made sense, Heacock (Fickell) and Meyer doesn't.

I think Frank Pagac (OSU's DC in the late 90s) is a much better match up. Meyer is looking for an opportunistic D, that may give up some big plays, but is going to be Uber-Aggressive. Aggressive D's are as much a culture thing as it is a technique thing. The players have to play fast and loose with short memories. Meyer is forcing Fickell to play players that have been coached conservatively (keep the play in front of you, etc.) to play aggressive schemes sporadically. I think it is a recipe for disaster. Take Roby for instance, the guy has spent about 90% of his game reps in zone coverage for his first 3 years, then they decided that the Wisco game (against one of the B1Gs best receivers) was the right time to put him up on the LOS.

If Meyer wants an aggressive D, they are going to have to start building the mentality and devoting all their practice time to the technique that supports that style. You can't be passive-aggressive (pun intended). Bend but don't break matches up nicely with a ball control, game shortening offense, but that l guy like Heater come in to take over.
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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby peeker643 » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:45 pm

furls wrote:I still hope Fickell goes. Maybe BGSU or Miami (OH). I am not sure if those 2 positions are still open, but I would love to see him go. He really doesn't have the chops or the resume to be the DC on a major player in FBS ball. His philosophy, which is very similar to Jim Heacock's (his mentor @ OSU), does not really line up with Meyer's. Strategically, Meyer's offense is not a good match with a bend but don't break offense. Heacock and Tressel made sense, Heacock (Fickell) and Meyer doesn't.

I think Frank Pagac (OSU's DC in the late 90s) is a much better match up. Meyer is looking for an opportunistic D, that may give up some big plays, but is going to be Uber-Aggressive. Aggressive D's are as much a culture thing as it is a technique thing. The players have to play fast and loose with short memories. Meyer is forcing Fickell to play players that have been coached conservatively (keep the play in front of you, etc.) to play aggressive schemes sporadically. I think it is a recipe for disaster. Take Roby for instance, the guy has spent about 90% of his game reps in zone coverage for his first 3 years, then they decided that the Wisco game (against one of the B1Gs best receivers) was the right time to put him up on the LOS.

If Meyer wants an aggressive D, they are going to have to start building the mentality and devoting all their practice time to the technique that supports that style. You can't be passive-aggressive (pun intended). Bend but don't break matches up nicely with a ball control, game shortening offense, but that l guy like Heater come in to take over.


BGSU just hired E Illinois HC Dino Babers. He was RG3's QB Coach at Baylor as well (I believe).
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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby peeker643 » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:50 pm

And is it possible that Fickell's value in the recruiting department outweighs his issues on the sideline?

I have a hard time believing that to be true. He may be excellent recruiting wise. But there are literally hundreds of excellent recruits who go somewhere else. At some point you have to worry about actually developing the athletes you recruit, regardless of how highly thought of they are nationally.

After four years those 4* and 5* ratings don't mean shit to kids who aren't seeing some of them translate to NFL first round choices.
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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby furls » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:48 pm

peeker643 wrote:And is it possible that Fickell's value in the recruiting department outweighs his issues on the sideline?

I have a hard time believing that to be true. He may be excellent recruiting wise. But there are literally hundreds of excellent recruits who go somewhere else. At some point you have to worry about actually developing the athletes you recruit, regardless of how highly thought of they are nationally.

After four years those 4* and 5* ratings don't mean shit to kids who aren't seeing some of them translate to NFL first round choices.


Sometimes (most of the time) we overvalue the power of recruiting. Is it important? Sure. I would argue player development is more important. Would you rather have a team of 5* HS seniors that never improve in college or would you rather have a team of 3*'s that are coached up? Well that question is easily answered by analogy.... would you have traded OSU's entire defense full of high 4 and 5* recruits for MSU's D full of 3*'s?

I would take Pat Narduzzi and a team of 3*'s over Fickell and a team of 5*'s every day. This is why he must go or signficantly improve as a DC.
Coming from a Wolverine, we're the football equivalent of a formerly abused wife of a meth addict who just remarried the safe nice guy. We're just glad we have someone who's aware that it's a rivalry and that tackling on defense is integral. Baby steps.

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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby danwismar » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:08 pm

Right now I'm thinking Meyer makes a change at DC, although the politics would appear to ague against it. It's been widely reported how Archie Griffin is a big Fickell backer, and Urban idolized Archie and respects him greatly. I just think there are people out there that Meyer would want to bring in..his two-year commitment to (and from) all assistants now past, and Withers gone.

To me, Fickell has to be accountable for bad LB development (and/or retention) and overall defensive performance. I have no idea what Meyer will do, but I'm in the camp that kind of wishes Luke gets his salute as a great and loyal Buckeye, and then gets on with his life's work as a head coach somewhere else.

Lots of OSU fans with too much time on their hands arguing both cases here:

http://www.firefickell.com/
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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby motherscratcher » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:19 am

Don't know that we need a seperate thread, but don't look now...

Warinner interviewed for the Army job. Now that would be a huge loss.
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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby danwismar » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:10 pm

motherscratcher wrote:Don't know that we need a seperate thread, but don't look now...

Warinner interviewed for the Army job. Now that would be a huge loss.


Army selected another guy, but you're right...losing Warinner would hurt a lot. He aspires to a HC position, but I hope he hangs around a few more years.
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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby furls » Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:03 pm

Warriner is the one assistant I do NOT want to lose under any circumstance. I am pretty much convinced that he is one of the top 2-3 OL coaches in the NCAA.
Coming from a Wolverine, we're the football equivalent of a formerly abused wife of a meth addict who just remarried the safe nice guy. We're just glad we have someone who's aware that it's a rivalry and that tackling on defense is integral. Baby steps.

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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby YahooFanChicago » Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:09 pm

Lots of noise about O'brien negotiating another reduction in his contract buy-out. Sounds like this could be his last year at Penn State. Guy has done a good job, if he leaves it will be a big loss for them.

I have no idea why PSU would agree to these buy out reductions.
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Re: Everett Withers is OUT

Unread postby jb » Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:33 am

Fickle MUST go. No equivocation. How old is Arch? 63? Program has more $ than God. Kick him upstairs if he's such a good guy to groom him as Archie's replacement.
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