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OSU coaches still root for Gators, Irish, Bearcats

Associated Press Published: October 10, 2012
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What's brewing with the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes ...

BUCKEYES BUZZ: Three of Ohio State's coaches were asked about the perfect records their former employers are also posting.

Florida, where Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer was in charge 2005-10, is 5-0 and ranked fourth. Notre Dame, where tight ends/fullbacks assistant Tim Hinton used to coach, is 5-0 and No. 7. Cincinnati, which used to have CBs coach Kerry Coombs on its staff, is 4-0 and No. 21.

All three wish nothing but the best to their old schools.

Meyer had been blasted by some for allegedly leaving the cupboard bare for his successor with the Gators, Will Muschamp.

"I don't want to get into all that cupboard is bare (stuff), because that's one man's opinion, and we've got to move on," Meyer said. "I'm very proud of those guys. Love those guys."

Of the Gators' 14-6 win over No. 4 LSU in The Swamp, Meyer added, "Always be a Gator. I keep in touch with some of those players. Great win. Great, tough win against a tough opponent, absolutely."

Hinton said he still follows the Fighting Irish — or at least he checks their scores when he has time.

"I'm real excited for them," he said. "But to be honest with you, other than scores and an occasional text here and there from a former player or one of the coaches, it's all Ohio State. There just isn't time."

Laughing, Hinton said, "I don't talk to my wife, let alone them."

Coombs has lots of reasons to root for the Bearcats. He coached there, he's a lifelong resident of Cincinnati where he was a legendary high school coach (Colerain) — and his son Dylan is a freshman DB for the Bearcats.

"I'm extremely proud of those kids at Cincinnati. Those coaches are my friends. That's my town, that's where I was born and raised," Coombs said. "For them to be in the Top 25 again is fantastic. They're going to compete for the Big East championship and they may get a chance to be in a BCS bowl game. And more power to them. You know, I recruited about 60 percent of that team. I love those kids and I love those coaches. I want nothing but the best for them."

Coombs did say there was no comparison between his old job and his current one.

"You ask what it feels like to coach a Top 10 team, it's an extraordinary feeling," he said. "Saturday night for me, with that crowd and with the energy level, you know I've had the good fortune to coach in a Sugar Bowl and an Orange Bowl when I was with Cincinnati. Neither of those experiences compared to the game on Saturday night, frankly."

The excitable Coombs, his raspy voice rising and gesturing for emphasis, added, "I've been a lucky man. I've coached on a lot of really good teams in high school and in college. But this experience right now is second to none. And, I told my (CBs) after the game, 'Let's just plan on not losing anymore. You know, I mean, this is pretty good stuff.'"

DEPTH CHARGE: Even though everything seems to be going swimmingly for the Buckeyes, the coaches are holding their breaths. They don't believe there is enough depth to get by in case of a crucial injury or two.

On top of everything else — the loss of LB Etienne Sabino (broken leg) and RB Jordan Hall (knee ligament) for at least while longer — Ohio State had to surrender scholarships as part of its NCAA sanctions.

"Everywhere you go across the country, by game six, there are injuries," Hinton said. "(You're allowed) 85 scholarships and right now Ohio State is at 82. It adds up. Those extra bodies all add up, so you never have enough depth."

Meyer half joked that if an OL broke a shoe string, he'd call timeout rather than take out a starter because the backups aren't ready.

He said the shortage of able bodies, due to injuries and due to NCAA penalties, is noticeable.

"We are definitely feeling the issues of a scholarship reduction," he said. "When we lost a couple of defensive linemen, that hurt us bad. It doesn't show up until someone gets a turf toe or someone has an issue, then it really starts to surface. And we're at that point right now."

Hinton, also Ohio State's recruiting coordinator, added, "A couple injuries affect every team, even if it's the No. 2 at that position because your No. 3 really might not be ready. So all of a sudden you go into every game kind of sweating bullets. Because there's an old saying in football: 'Have a pair and a spare.' Coming up with that spare is sometimes a challenge."

MORE LONGHORNS: Ohio State and Texas have agreed to a home-and-home football series that will have the two teams playing in Austin, Texas, in 2022 and in Columbus in 2023.

It's a continued response to major-college programs upgrading their opponents to improve their strength of schedule in the new playoff system still being finalized.

The games will be played Sept. 17, 2022, in Texas Stadium and Sept. 16, 2023, in Ohio Stadium. The schools have met three times previously — a home-and-home arrangement in 2005 and 2006, and in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl — with Texas holding a 2-1 edge.

Ohio State AD Gene Smith said playing teams of Texas' caliber "creates remarkable experiences for our players and fans."

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