Florida Atlantic targeting an Ohio State assistant coach for its vacant head coach position is not new, but the names circulated today are.
Withers is in his second season as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Ohio State after four seasons at North Carolina where he was defensive coordinator and secondary coach for three seasons before spending 2011 as the interim head coach.
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While Withers has never coached in the state of Florida, Drayton spent four seasons as part of Urban Meyer’s Gators staff. Drayton is in his third season at Ohio State, where he coached wide receivers in 2011 and running backs the past two seasons. He also had the title of assistant head coach on offense this season.
Both Withers and Drayton have coached at a variety of colleges throughout the South and east with NFL stops mixed in.
Gran became offensive coordinator for the Bearcats this season after two years as an assistant at Florida State. The California native was a Miami (Fla.) graduate assistant early in his coaching career and has stints at Mississippi, Auburn and Tennessee among those on his resume.
A reporter for the Sun Sentinel in South Florida, Kurtenbach reported in November that Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell was the top candidate for the FAU job that became open following the exit of Carl Pelini.
Fickell — and to a lesser extent, Withers — has been the subject of criticism from Ohio State fans this season as the Buckeye defense struggled to maintain the standard of excellence set during the previous decade.
The complaints only intensified toward the end of the season as the Buckeyes allowed 75 points in their last two games, a 42-41 near-loss to heavy underdog Michigan on Nov. 30 and a 34-24 upset loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game Dec. 7.