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February 7, 2018

Greg Schiano

Columbus, Ohio

GREG SCHIANO: It's good to see everybody again. Back from recruiting. We have a quick addition to the list. We just came through officially, a real good player out of New Jersey, Bergen Catholic High School. Javontae Jean-Baptiste. He's an outside linebacker defensive end type player. So one late addition. And I know Coach talked about the class in total. It was a heck of a run, a heck of a December, and then really a very productive January and ending up in a great class. Young men that I think represent exactly what this program's about and certainly the athletic ability that's needed to maintain the high level of play that is tradition around here. So we're excited about the class. I know we have 14 defensive players that I'm very excited about. And some of them are here on campus already, we had a great workout with them this morning and it's great to get back off the road and get back to being with your players and coaching your players. So it's an exciting time here and we're itching to get going. So with that I'll open it up for any questions.

Q. There were rumors about you going on to the NFL. What was the process like, how many jobs were you considering and what made you ultimately decide to stay here?
GREG SCHIANO: Well, you know, I made it kind of a personal policy of mine never to discuss other jobs than the one I have. But in general I can say after the season there were opportunities both in college football and in the National Football League, but at the end of the day, my family, myself, we love it here. It's a tremendous people at the university and town, and this has become home. So you make those decisions as a coach and keep moving.

Q. You had said previously that a time would come for you to talk about what happened at Tennessee. Do you think that time has come yet?
GREG SCHIANO: No, today's about this recruiting class. What a great day for Ohio State and Ohio State football. This certainly isn't the time. There will be. I want to thank you too. You've been incredibly respectful with that request and there will, I promise you there will be a time and when that time is right we'll be candid with you and talk about it.

Q. With all these rumors and all these reports that you would potentially be leaving to the NFL, you were knee deep in a lot of essential recruitments that you guys were in since the early signing period, and I was wondering how that affects you personally, not only with having to deal with all the questions that you're getting from everybody in your life towards everything, but the kids' family and all that stuff. Is it hard to convince somebody that, hey, I'm actually going to stay and was that ever a real issue for you?
GREG SCHIANO: I think it's all about the relationship you've established before that point. And if they have experience you doing what you said you were going to do, then they trust you. And I'm always very, very open and on honest with our recruits, it's the only way to do it and we communicate. But when you have that trust and you have that communication, those issues aren't as paramount as people believe. Now does it get used against you? Yes. That's part of the recruiting strategies, but I think it all comes back to relationship and trust.

Q. Was there ever a time during these recruitments where you were unsure whether you were returning and did that ever have a negative impact?
GREG SCHIANO: No, that's, again, stick to the job I always do, the job I have. It's flattering when people have an interest in you, but this is where my family and I wanted to be, so I don't ever get off that track very much. So when you're dealing with recruits, that's what makes it easy, you can be honest with them about that.

Q. Obviously you guys added another guy to the defensive staff in Alex Grinch. Urban talked about the process of scouting Grinch before he came in. How involved were you in the process of bringing him on board?
GREG SCHIANO: When Coach involved me, that's when I became involved. As a head coach, that's something you have to do, you always have to keep looking over from the 30,000 foot level to protect the program. As a coordinator and assistant coach you need to be right down in the thick of it and handling your day-to-day responsibilities. So Coach kept me in the loop but he didn't really ask me to do anything until it was getting to be more of a real situation. And then it's all about, again, communication. I think when you visit with people and you get a feel for, will they fit our culture, and I'm excited, I tell you Alex Grinch is a great hire and I've enjoyed working with him in the short time that we have. And I'm really looking forward to now that transition to football, because he's a tremendous football coach.

Q. You guys talk kind of the sharing of ideas, different things that's worked well for him and what he's done at Washington State?
GREG SCHIANO: We have. He was around a little bit in the interview process while we were working on football back when. But then when we were out on the road recruiting it's not like you sit down and start drawing plays up, but you're in a car or a plane together, in an airport, and that's what football coaches talk about. So I'm excited. I think he's going to enhance what we do for sure and he's really, really great with the players.

Q. I'm sure you want to be a head coach at some point, given what happened at Tennessee, was there a part of you that viewed the NFL as the better way of pursuing that, okay, get back to the NFL, especially as a coordinator of the Patriots and that would be an easier pathway and since you're staying here how does that affect the way you see your future?
GREG SCHIANO: Well, I'm not going to address anything with NFL, college or anything like that. I stick to the job I have. I do have aspirations of doing that because I kind of feel that's what I'm called to do. But it doesn't have to happen, if that makes sense. I've done it for 13 years, I enjoy doing it, but I love what I'm doing right now and that's part of -- every decision, I'm at the stage of my career is, do I enjoy getting up, going to work, do I enjoy the people I do it with, and most importantly is my family in a good situation. When the answer is yes, yes, yes, then it really would take something special to get you to not do that, if that makes sense.

Q. Urban mentioned that most likely that 10th assistant would be a cornerback's coach. Is there anything -- and I try not to get too ahead of anything -- but are you envisioning more of a big picture role or how will that affect you coming into next season if that's what happens, being that Alex Grinch is another secondary guy.
GREG SCHIANO: Yeah, we're kind of working through all that right now, but when you get to add a coach -- it was always, as a head coach, I always thought it was odd that it was an odd number of coaches, yet you could use that 10th coach. It was important I thought. And finally it happened. So now you can have your both staffs be equally staffed. Usually what happens is the head coach may have grown up on offense or defense and so he kind of lends more to that side. Now it's perfect, I think, five and five. How we work it out, it's not, that's not really important. We're going to have great coaches here at Ohio State. That's one of the best things about being here, you work with tremendous coaches. Wherever I can help players, that's where I'll help and that will be Coach's decision and then we'll talk about it, obviously, what's the best way to put the puzzle together. But ultimately that's a head coaching decision, as he looks at his staff, how does he wants to deploy those guys.

Q. Maybe you can't answer this, but could that be a way that you are a sort of head coach, if you are, if Urban has that for the defense or the overall program? But, I mean, it's possible that you could take an overall control of the defense, right? I mean is that an option?
GREG SCHIANO: Coach treats me very well. He respects my opinion. That's, as an assistant coach, whether coordinator or assistant coach, when your opinion is respected, that's really everything. Because you're going to work the same if you're a head coach, at least if you're a real dude coach, you're going to treat it the same if you're a head coach or an assistant coach. At least that's the way I look at it. And the biggest thing is that your opinions are respected. You don't have to do it your way. Obviously, Coach is going to make the best decision for the program, but I think that Coach Meyer has a great way of doing that, not only with me, but with all of our assistants and that's part of, when you're a leader and you give people ownership, it really inspires them to do more. So I think that's certainly one of our strengths here.

Q. You have been on him for quite a while but in the last month, especially as y'all are chasing a five-star offensive tackle, just what was your confidence level heading into January and then did you think before the visit that you need to knock it out of the park? And I guess what was the process like of securing this commitment and how did you feel when y'all found out he was going to come to Ohio State?
GREG SCHIANO: I assume you're talking about Nick? Yeah. Well, couple different things, right? My son's played with him. I actually coached him in high school. So I had a preexisting relationship with Nick, which gave us a little bit of an in. But he was being recruited by the top schools in the country and Nick is a very deep, smart guy. And he was going to examine everything. So it wasn't going to be, oh, because I know the Schiano's, we're going to Ohio State. That was, he was picking what was best for his future. Am I confident when I'm involved in those things? Because I have a great institution to put out there, you feel better than if you didn't. But when you're battling against the people we were battling, you just work as hard as you can and hope the chips fall your way.

Q. Urban mentioned when he found out that Kerry was leaving he was shocked by it. But also said that you stepped in with the corners in his absence. I'm wondering what your thoughts, your initial reaction to Kerry leaving and then how the players have reacted since he's been gone.
GREG SCHIANO: Well, a couple parts to that question. First off, I respect and really enjoyed working with Kerry Coombs. He's a man's man. A really good football coach, but he's become a very close friend. So that part of it is always sad. That happens in our profession. You stay in touch but it's not the same as working with each other. He's an excellent coach, so he's going to be hard to replace. He's an excellent recruiter, he's going to be even harder to replace. But to the question of working with the corners, I love working with the corners. Even when I was a head coach I worked with the corners. Even in the NFL when I was a head coach I worked with the corners, that's kind of what I enjoyed doing. So regardless of what I'm doing, I'll be working with them some. But we're going to try to get as we always do the best coach we can to help us continue to move the program forward.

Q. How have the players been since Kerry left?
GREG SCHIANO: Players loved Kerry Coombs. It's not just the corners, it's the whole team because he handled special teams and talked to the whole team. And he's such a dynamic guy that certainly we have to really all of us -- I don't know if you ever replace, when have you a guy with that big a personality, I don't know if you replace them with one guy. I think what we all have to do is, I have to did a better job, other coaches have to pick up the slack a little bit and we hire a coaches really good and we keep this thing going forward.

Q. I know you said you wanted to talk about the job you have, but this isn't just like a NFL rumor. I think the football world expected you to be the next New England Patriots defensive coordinator. So why aren't you?
GREG SCHIANO: I think in society we all have to be really careful because it's hard, sometimes it's put out there so people assume that it's true. And I think that everything has to kind of slow down a little bit. That's what I wish. I understand the competition, I understand all that, so that's sometimes when things get moving they get moving. But again, it's flattering when anybody would at least want to talk to you about doing a job. But I really love the job I have, so that's what I stick to. It makes life much more doable that way.

Q. When you're thinking about these opportunities, what are the conversations like especially when your head coach is a guy like Urban that you have such a relationship with. He said you guys have been talking for hours. I know you're not going to detail all of that, but just in general what's it like to talk through opportunities with someone that's your boss, but is also your friend and understands this coaching business?
GREG SCHIANO: Very helpful. Yeah, it's very helpful. The one thing that I learned, and I know Coach does, is when you -- when people work hard for you, and then things come up, you just be honest with them. Now because he's one of my friends, that certainly I know that for sure will happen. But I think as a young head coach I used to make the mistake of trying to, I got to keep him here, I got to keep him here. When a guy works for you, you have to tell him the truth, what you think, and he's going to make the decision what's best for his family. We both have a great boss in Gene Smith and he's helpful with that stuff. So when you have people -- that's when I talk about the tremendous place Ohio State is. I mean the people are what make it tremendous. And those kind of relationships help you in those situations.

Q. You got to know Petit-Frere than anybody. What stands out about him as a player? Why is he the number one offensive tackle prospect in the country from your vantage point?
GREG SCHIANO: I think he's incredibly athletic for a man of his size. He plays with the kind of four to six, A to B attitude that we preach here all the time. When you watch his tape you just see it over and over. You don't have to watch a highlight tape to see that. That coupled with his intellect. He's one of the smarter guys that I've ever been around and he's a 17- or 18-year-old-kid. So he's a neat guy. I'm excited to get him up here because he's not only a great player, but someone that I care a great amount about.

Q. Did you see this in him three years ago when you were down there --

Q. -- not working but sort of working?
GREG SCHIANO: No, I did. And I said to -- I have a lot of, obviously, a lot of friends down there. I said to one of the guys I worked with. I said that kid right there, he is going to be a special, special player. Now, he was probably 6'4", 205 pounds at the time. Heck, he came to our camp, he was 6'6", 227. This is kid who has committed his life to becoming a big time Division I offensive tackle. And that kind of work ethic, usually things work out. Thank you, guys.

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