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Report: Ohio State adds Arkansas DC, Penn State’s Larry Johnson

Chris Ash

With two vacancies on his defensive coaching staff, Urban Meyer was reportedly looking to add a former Penn State assistant to fill one of those holes.

Reportedly, Meyer has done just that along with filling the other hole as well.

Citing an unnamed source, Pete Thamel of is reporting that current Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash (#karma) and ex-Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson have accepted positions on Meyer’s Ohio State staff.  Ash would serve as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach while Johnson would hold the same title he did with the Nittany Lions.

Ash will replace Everett Withers, who was named as the head coach at James Madison last month, and Johnson will replace Mike Vrabel, who this month took a job with the NFL’s Houston Texans.

Ohio State is expected to announce the moves as early as today.

Ash comes to Columbus with extensive experience in the Big Ten.  Prior to his one season on Bret Bielema‘s Razorbacks coaching staff, Ash spent three seasons as an assistant at Wisconsin.  He also worked on the same Iowa State coaching staff as current OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman.

After spending the past 16 seasons with the Nittany Lions, Johnson parted ways with the program upon the hiring of James Franklin.

(Photo credit: Arkansas athletics)

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15 Responses to “Report: Ohio State adds Arkansas DC, Penn State’s Larry Johnson”
  1. mkoogs says: Jan 14, 2014 12:48 PM

    Urban Renewal II begins

  2. bigdinla says: Jan 14, 2014 12:50 PM

    Coach B gas only been at Arkie for one season. Fact check is your friend.

  3. lbijake says: Jan 14, 2014 1:02 PM

    Going to show that Urban’s genius lies mostly with his assistant coaches. Florida started to flounder once the assistants started to leave. Once Charlie Strong, HC at Texas, left, Urban’s genius began to wane. Charlie left at the end of 2009 and suddenly Urban takes a leave of absence.

  4. sportsguy3434 says: Jan 14, 2014 1:17 PM

    That is a surprise move. Randy Shannon is coaching linebackers so it should take Bielema 2 seconds to find a replacement.

  5. 10kmp says: Jan 14, 2014 1:33 PM


    Yeah, Meyer just happened have the best assistants @ BG, Utah, Fla and Ohio State yet Urban himself had absolutely nothing to do with any of the success. Assistants come and go. There are only two constants everywhere Meyer has been: Urban Meyer himself and all the wins. In addition, I’m not sure what it is that’s surprising about this. Ash can be the DC at Arkansas or the Co-DC at Ohio State. All professions are about upward movement. College football is no different. Ohio State, in every way imaginable from a college football standpoint, is an upward move from Arkansas. Arkansas is not now, nor has it ever been the equal of Ohio State. Not historically, recently, traditionally… not ever.

  6. dkhhuey says: Jan 14, 2014 1:59 PM

    Great hires for OSU on all counts!!! From what I’ve read, Johnson is an awesome recruiter (had Noah Spence and Tommy Schutt to PSU pre Sandusky) and will open the door even wider in that arena. Same with Ash – a fantastic recruiter and an excellent defensive coach. Throw in the complete and utter punch to the enormous gut of Bert and it is just a massive thick layer of icing on the cake!!! #karma!!!

  7. kosarkid says: Jan 14, 2014 2:14 PM

    Good for LJ leaving PSU… they shouldn’t have ever made him the interim coach. That was just like dangling the carrot in front of the poor guy. They didn’t even need an interim coach for the two weeks they didn’t have a coach anyway. Good for him for giving that program the finger and going to their biggest enemy.

  8. polegojim says: Jan 14, 2014 2:32 PM

    Great hire! ; ) for Michigan fans!!!

    Looking at ARK D stats last season year… I LOVE IT!!!

    Michigan O adds Nuss… Ohio D adds…. giving up 400+ yards per game!!!

    Looking forward to it!

  9. dumbpollack says: Jan 14, 2014 2:57 PM

    Really, polegojim? What mental institution lets you get on line? Mich stopped looking forward to playing tOSU the day Coop left.

  10. 10kmp says: Jan 14, 2014 3:03 PM


    Really? _ichigan fans are really, truly and sincerely looking forward to something from a football perspective? Well, ok. If you say so. At the end of the day TTUN’s HC is still Brady Hoke (lol) and Ohio State’s HC is still Urban Meyer… who has the number 2 class in the country right now… and the talent gap keeps getting wider and wider. You go ahead and keep looking forward to next season. I know Ohio State fans are.

  11. sportsguy3434 says: Jan 14, 2014 3:46 PM

    I said it was a surprise move, didn’t say why, and you spout off a paragraph? I think you are feeling a little defensive…no pun intended.

    I actually like Meyer, but tOSU less after the fans this year. Some would say Strong left Florida and it went downhill and Meyer left. It has also been said that Meyer told his defensive assistants to take other jobs if offered. OSU is a step up for the school, but the big 10 rep is not good. A step up, but not as much as you think. enjoy the last two years because it won’t happen again.

  12. 10kmp says: Jan 14, 2014 4:25 PM


    Forgot to include @Ibijake in my original post so it appeared to be directed exclusively at you when in reality only the part about the “surprise move” was. My apologies…

    Now then, the B1G’s rep is not good. On that we agree. These things are cyclical and the B1G will rebound IMO. Meyer, Dantonio, Franklin, Anderson and Fitzgerald are all good to great coaches. Hoke, while a poor HC in my opinion, somehow manages to recruit elite talent. The B1G will be back.

    As for Ohio State, there are maybe 5-10, at most, lateral moves (no upward moves in college football) that could be made from OSU: Texas, ND, ‘Bama, USC, Oklahoma are 5 that come immediately to mind. Arkansas, while not a “have not” by any stretch of the imagination, is a significant step down from OSU. Tradition, championships, all time wins, heisman winners, football exclusive facilities, stadium, et al. Ohio State is a “step up” and it’s every bit as much as I think…

  13. polegojim says: Jan 14, 2014 7:35 PM

    @pollack and 10…

    Do you really think that 42-41… ‘BARELY a win’… instilled ANY fear??? Hahahahahahaha…. NOT even remotely.

    Yes, looking VERY MUCH forward to it.

    On the positive side, did you guys watch the Michigan Miracle piece? Very cool on all sides.

  14. polegojim says: Jan 14, 2014 9:14 PM

    @10… #class… means very little… you’re bragging on something unproven.

    And the talent gap keeps getting wider???

    Really??? OSU was 1, yes, 1 point wider!!! What game did you watch?

    It’s a fact that you picked up a coach who’s D averaged giving up over 400 400 400 yards per game. Good Luck with that.

    It’s a fact that Nuss’ O averaged 454 yards per game… Yep, I’m liking those numbers VERY much.

    …Did I mention those were facts? Yep, sure did.

  15. jrs45 says: Jan 15, 2014 2:06 AM

    I take it polojim isn’t one of these fans lol!!!

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