Ohio State reportedly fills defensive coaching vacancies

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer answers a question during a news conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. Clemson will face Ohio State in the NCAA college football Orange Bowl classic, Friday, Jan. 3, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Alan Diaz/AP

Per a report, Urban Meyer has filled his two openings on the Ohio State defensive coaching staff and weakened two rivals — one old, one new — in the process.

Pete Thamel reported at SI.com Tuesday afternoon that Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash has agreed to become co-DC and secondary coach at Ohio State while former Penn State defensive line coach will take up that duty for the Buckeyes.

Ash leaves the staff of Bret Bielema, the Arkansas head coach who butted heads with Meyer over recruiting while Bielema was head coach at Wisconsin. Bielema cited lack of ability to maintain a stable staff among his reasons for leaving the Badgers to take over the Razorbacks following the 2012 season.

Johnson was regarded as the premier recruiter at Penn State, where he coached since 1996, but he reportedly declined an opportunity to be part of new head coach James Franklin’s staff.

Seven Nittany Lion defensive linemen Johnson coached became first-team All-Americans — ends Courtney Brown, Michael Haynes, Tamba Hali and Aaron Maybin and tackles Devon Still, Jared Odrick and Jimmy Kennedy.

Johnson inherits a defensive line that was the strength of a 2013 defense that had a disappointing year overall.

Ohio State’s lowest passing and total yardage outputs (97 and 236) since Meyer became head coach of the Buckeyes came against a Wisconsin defense Ash coordinated in 2012.

Ash spent three seasons coaching the Badgers secondary (including the last two as co-defensive coordinator) from 2010-12, in which time Ohio State posted passing yardage totals of 156, 89 and 97.

He’ll take over a secondary that allowed 268.0 yards per game last season (110th in the nation) and is scheduled to return only one regular starter.

Ash and Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman coached together at Iowa State in 2009.