Fired Ohio State assistant Coombs joins Fickell at Cincinnati

Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CINCINNATI — Fired Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs will be the new special teams/cornerbacks coach at Cincinnati, joining the staff of longtime friend and former colleague Luke Fickell.

Fickell announced the hiring of the 60-year-old Coombs on Tuesday. He replaces Perry Eliano, the Bearcats’ cornerbacks coach who left to coach safeties at Ohio State.

Coombs is a native of Cincinnati who was a longtime high school football coach in the city before initially working on the Bearcats staff in 2007-11. He and Fickell were defensive assistants on Urban Meyer‘s Ohio State staff from 2012 to 2017, including the 2014 national championship team.

“Kerry has had tremendous success everywhere he has been at the high school, college and professional levels because he’s an exceptional motivator and teacher of the game,” Fickell said. “Coaching with him, I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact Kerry can have on a program.”

Ohio State coach Ryan Day brought Coombs back to the college ranks from the Tennessee Titans staff in 2020 to be the defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes. But the unit never lived up to Day’s vision, and Coombs was demoted as the defensive play caller after the No. 6 Buckeyes gave up 505 yards in a 35-28 loss to No. 12 Oregon last Sept. 11.

Cincinnati advanced to the College Football Playoff in 2021, while Ohio State had another poor defensive showing in losing to Michigan, which kept the Buckeyes outside the final four for the first time in three seasons.

Day replaced Coombs after the season with Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.

Fickell previously promoted former Bearcats quarterbacks coach Gino Guidugli to offensive coordinator replacing Mike Denbrock, who took over the same job at LSU. With that move, wide receivers coach Mike Brown took on the title of passing game coordinator.

Safeties coach Colin Hitschler was promoted to co-defensive coordinator, and Walter Stewart was hired away from Temple to coach linebackers.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.