Defense: Winning Championships Since Forever

By Kyle Rowland on October 7, 2013 at 9:15a
The defense has shown strides, but still needs to improve.

EVANSTON, Ill. – The 2013 Ohio State football season has played out in predictable fashion thus far. The Buckeyes sport a 6-0 record, sit inside the top 5 of the rankings and remain poised to earn a spot in the national championship game.

But certain components of the team have not gone according to plan, namely the defense. The hope at the midway point of 2013 is that the unit has a similar second-half surge as last season’s group, because a continuation of the current product won’t result in an undefeated season.

On Saturday, the fourth-ranked Buckeyes won a close game on the road at night against the then-No. 16 team in the country. It’s not a win that should be scoffed at. Northwestern could very well be the second best team in the Big Ten. But the Wildcats exploited Ohio State’s secondary and defense as a whole, an event that’s occurred at an abnormal rate the past two seasons.

The past two weekends served as statements by the Buckeyes, most specifically to the Big Ten. Ohio State is back atop the conference with challengers virtually nonexistent. Wisconsin and Northwestern were supposed to provide answers, though, and instead there are more questions. Or the answer could just be that the defense still hasn’t reached the elite level of seasons past.

Already in 2013, red flags have been raised in wins over Cal, Wisconsin and Northwestern. Each team found tremendous success throwing the football against the Buckeyes. It’s come with such ease at times that some may have thought Ohio State was playing a prevent. 

In mid-September, Cal torched the Buckeyes to the tune of 503 total yards – 371 passing – and 34 points. Coaches and players said after the game that yards and points were inevitable when considering the amount of plays Cal runs. But head coach Urban Meyer admitted he was concerned about peeved about the number of missed tackles.

Two weeks later, it was Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave and wide receiver Jared Abbrederis that were efficient against the Silver Bullets. Stave threw for 295 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Abbrederis reeled in a career-high 207 receiving yards and a touchdown. Most surprising was that almost all of the yards came at the expense of All-American cornerback Bradley Roby.

Meyer took part of the blame, saying the coaches were so concerned about stopping the run, which they did, that it resulted in Roby being left on an island.

In the latest game that saw deficiencies in the defense, Ohio State allowed 437 total yards with 343 coming through the air. And it wasn’t just the openness of the receivers that is cause for concern, the inability to tackle in space became a critical downfall for the Buckeyes. Northwestern had what seemed to be 100 yards after contact.

It was the week before, following the win over the Badgers, that Meyer emphatically slammed his hand down on the podium when speaking about the season-ending injury senior safety and captain Christian Bryant had suffered just moments before. It was evident his leadership would be missed, but Bryant could also turn out to be the defense’s most irreplaceable player based on his on-field play. 

“That man has a certain vibe about him and he has a certain swagger to him that he adds to the defense,” Roby said. “Without him, I feel like we did a good job stepping up. It’ll only get better from here.”

Starting in his place was Pittsburgh Brown, and the fifth-year senior struggled from the opening snap on. He was beaten by quarterback Kain Colter who lined up as a receiver on the Wildcats’ first touchdown. Brown gave up several long receptions, missed tackles and was run over by Northwestern running back Venric Mark.

Earlier in the week, Meyer said the development of true freshman Vonn Bell would be sped up. Now, that could include taking over the starting safety position that Bryant previously occupied.

But it wouldn’t be fair to just pick on the secondary. The defensive line failed to apply pressure on the Northwestern quarterbacks much of the game. However, when the defense was called upon, it delivered.

Doran Grant came up with a critical fourth-quarter interception, the unit held the Wildcats on 4th-and-1 late in the quarter, and other than one 80-yard drive, Ohio State limited Northwestern to 139 second-half yards.

Grant said adjustments made during halftime led to his timely interception.

“The defensive line committed themselves to us and we committed ourselves to the defensive line,” he said. “They got the pressure on the quarterback and I did what I had to do to make a play for the team.”

Third-down conversions was arguably the biggest stat of the game, a tale of that tape that told a significant story. The Wildcats entered Saturday night’s showdown converting more than half of their third-down attempts. But a bend-but-don’t-break gang of Silver Bullets held Northwestern to just 5-of-14 on third down. The Wildcats only converted two third downs in the second half.

Ohio State forced three Northwestern field goals, none longer than 32 yards. And while Mark finished with over 100 total yards, he was kept out of the end zone and came up shy on a huge third-and-short play on the possession Northwestern faltered on fourth down.

The Buckeyes were aware of the Wildcats’ third-down success and keyed on changing that trend.

“They were one of the top teams on third down and we were one of the top teams on defense stopping [third downs], so we knew something had to give,” Roby said. “We wanted to make sure we were the ones that won.”

In the end, Ohio State had to rely on its defense to come up with a stop. And they did exactly that on the season’s biggest play.


Comments Show All Comments

whobdis's picture

Brown didn't look good. Honestly..with the bye week and some weaker competition I'd think Bell may be given a look. I hate playing true freshman at safety but he may as well learn now.  Frankly it's one of those positions that learn the most from actually playing another opponent imo. Practice can only prepare so much.

gumtape's picture

We need to give credit to Josh Perry for making the play that may have saved the season:
On the 4th and one from the 34 play, he came in from the edge, grabbed Colter's arm that was holding the ball, and pulled it back. When the linesman spotted the ball, it was based on the location of the ball when Colter was considered down.  Perry's instincts in that situation made a huge difference.

High and tight boo boo

Northbrook's picture

Thanks for that info. I didn't see that.

d1145fresh's picture

I am not one of the chicken littles that often freak out about the Bucks after each game (not disparaging you all just saying I'm not one of them), but I have noticed a bad trend for the Bucks as well as all of college football. It seems that the gang tackling concept is starting to disappear some in football. Many of the 'bad' plays that I see on defense stems from one missed tackle and the other defenders somewhat giving up on the play allowing for the offensive player to gain more yards. I see this with Roby a lot where he tends to stop playing when another defender has the guy wrapped up only to then have to chase down the guy after he breaks free.
Part of me wonders if this is due to the increasing number of flags for late hits/personal fouls with tackling. As I previously stated, while I see it with OSU, I also see it all around college football. I hope as the season progresses the defense will return to that swarming the ball mentality and gang tackle opponents to reduce the bigger plays. But if they keep winning I guess I can forgive them for the time being.

whobdis's picture

It's all over CFB..but the Buckeyes certainly seem to be worse than others. My wife sat down and watched some of the game with me(first time this year). She asked if NW players had teflon on their uniforms because they always seem to be slipping out of their grasp.


^ That's a possibility, the fear of the 1 hit that will get you ejected. That would not surprise me at all. I also think the athleticism of today's skilled offensive players has something to do with it. There are some freak athletes out there that can make even the best defenses look bad.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

d1145fresh's picture

I would agree the athletes are getting better and it is probably multiplied because offenses (like ours) now try to get their playmakers into space where if you really only need to make one guy miss instead of running up the middle and relying on a number of different things. I just see more and more of the guy jumping onto the tackle being flagged for a late hit or leading with his head that I wonder if it has something to do with it.

1MechEng's picture

I would also add that there is a very real fear amongst the defensive players that the ballcarrier will duck down at the last second, and cause the defensive players to hit each other. This actually happened during the NW game, and caused some of our guys to be real slow to get up. (Though I don't remember who, I think Shazier and Bryant may have been involved.)

AndyVance's picture

The changing rules and fear of being penalized for making what would have once been a great play is certainly a part of the problem worth considering, but I have a much bigger concern with what I call the "highlight reel mentality."
Bradley Roby is a good example: on several occasions Saturday he looked more like he was trying to be Clay Matthews, making a flying leap at a ball carrier, rather than keeping his feet on the ground, his head up, and making a sure tackle. The ESPN "Top Plays" mindset has guys trying to make big hits and huge plays rather than just taking care of business and getting the man on the turf the old-fashioned way.

buckeyepastor's picture

I completely agree.  With many of the missed tackles, I see our DBs leaving their feet, not keeping their body under control - bad fundamentals.   I think there is a bit of a "highlight reel" mentality.   Lots of plays where guys tried to tackle with their shoulders instead of their arms, and where they couldn't "run through the ball carrier" on the tackle because they were off their feet.  
When he was an underclassman, Christian Bryant did that sort of thing all the time.   But now, until his injury, he was I think the team's most sure tackler.  

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

saltybuck61's picture

I remember Roby always tackling like that. Usually he gets the guy though. He has always dove at the feet/legs in order to tackle people, probably because he is much smaller. When guys have 80 pounds on him, he is almost forced to go for the legs because if he tries to wrap up, they just run right through him. 

Nutbuck1959's picture

I don't know how the line is going to get pressure when I see only 3 men rushing on some plays! On the interception, we had at least 4 (maybe 5) and played the dbs tighter with Grant making the int. It seems like we could do that more often

SMP's picture

I would up vote 100 times if I could.  The three man rush accomplishes nothing unless your playing against Matt Schaub (Pick 6 record holder).  

JLP36's picture

I would like to see the D, especially the secondary, play more aggressively.  The shift to that in the NW game paid off.  I realize that this will result in some big plays, but those big plays have to be MADE.  I far prefer that to CONCEDING 8 to 12 yard throws. 
I also think that while the zone schemes may be sound, the secondary is by and large slow to peg their responsibilities.  So if you start off 10 yards off the ball and are a fraction slow to recognize the result is big spaces in which to complete balls and move chains.  This is harder to see on TV but extremely apparent when watching live.
I just think a more aggressive style is better suited to our impressive athletes in the secondary. 


lippertini's picture

Yes, yes and yes.

SMP's picture

I agree, agree, and agree!

ScarletGray43157's picture

Offense puts butts in the seats and Defense wins championships.  
If this defense improves to its potential, then OSU will collect hardware this season.  If it does not, then that goal will be very difficult to reach.   

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

Hovenaut's picture

Still optimistic.


There's enough talent and experience now in that secondary to step things up down the stretch. There's no replacing Christian Bryant, but there's also no excuse for what's been turned out after six games.

Hate being critical, as I haven't played competitively in over twenty years (and nowhere near at their level).

I think it's up to the coaches and players alike to get on the same page and find what can work (better) here.

Doc's picture

Herbstreit, Saturday night, kept wondering why our defenders were playing so far off of the ball and not jamming the receivers at the line of scrimmage and redirecting them.  I was wondering the same thing during the Wiscy game.  I think we need a more aggressive defense that plays bump and run or man coverage on receivers.  Something that disrupts the offenses timing on pass plays.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Seattle Linga's picture

Agreed - when given room they are splitting the seams and if the ball is caught it gives them an opportunity for big plays. We have the ability to disrupt each and every play. We also have the talent. 

Bamabucknut's picture

That was very obvious.I thought Fickell was showing a belief  that we cannot cover one on one and so played soft to help the defensive backfield prevent long gains.So now we have a 8-10 yard pass completion any time the offense wants.Opposing quarterbacks do NOT fear our defense. Instead they set passing completion and yardage records.
Against good teams games become shoot outs to see who will score the most points.We saw last Saturday what happens when our quarterback under performs.

HotSauceCommittee's picture

You play 8-10 yards off receivers allowing multiple things to happen. 1). WR can run exact practiced route, 2). WR get off line and run perfectly timed routes, 3). WR catch the ball and have time to turn, make a move, leading to missed tackles, 4). QB develops a rhythm, 5). DB confidence dips.
Maybe, just maybe, this soft coverage strategy is also leading to our poor tackling.

jayt's picture

exactly!  wish I could rep you!

Oldschoolbuck's picture

"We saw ... what happens when our quarterback underperforms."
Yeah, we still win.
I don't mean to be snarky, really I don't, but I think we're forgetting that the majority of this D has played 6 real games!
We have TRUE freshmen getting significant reps on D, and just lost a captain and vital cog from that unit. NU is a REALLY GOOD team, especially on O, with All B1G players at QB and running back.
I think a lot of the angst we're experiencing is due to a hangover from last year when we saw the Bullets struggle in ways we're not used to seeing (bad tackling, being out of position, etc.). Analysts always talk about the huge step from college to the pros - it's also a major difference when a kid goes from HS to college. These guys are getting OJT in the most demanding of circumstances in front of fans that expect nothing less than perfection (and I actually believe THAT'S a good thing, after all we ARE tOSU!).
As these guys develop I believe we'll see a high powered weapon loaded with Silver Bullets. Inevitably, there are going to be growing pains with young, inexperienced players.
What stood out to me was the way they manned-up when it mattered. This game will give them a "nitrous boost" in terms of confidence and their development.
The tackling issue that some commentors have pointed out has been evident at all levels of football (including The League!) for a while... And, yeah, I start screaming at the TV when I see it too!

73buckeye's picture

A defensive backs first responsibility in a man to man is to cover their man (duh) and to cover an area of responsibility in a zone. Pretty simple concepts. Our backs seem to constantly lose their man or fail to see someone coming into their zone because they appear to be watching the quarterback. I think they are looking for interceptions. Most interceptions happen because of a tipped pass or a mistake by the quarterback or a poor route by a receiver, not because of a fantastic play by a defender. These guys are great athletes. They have the ability to cover the receiver. The coaches need to let them.


ibuck's picture

If the DBs are looking for interceptions and big hits, so they can be on ESPN or other videos, then they are "I" guys rather than team guys. And coaches Fickell, Withers & Coombs need to discipline them firmly NOW. As baseball announcer Mike Krukow says, "Grab some pine, meat."

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

Boxley's picture

The defensive game plan was to play off the receivers like they did in certain coverages, however also part of the game plan was for them to make the tackles on the first contact, and not continuously whiff and give up all of the extra yards.
The secondary improved greatly in the second half, better tackling except for the one long pass play. given that once again we had to shuffle the secondary insert a new starter against a very good passing offense they did learn from the first half and improved in the second half. Part of that improvement was due solely to the D line getting much more heat on the QB.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

gravey's picture

I wonder how much money Roby cost himself over the last two weekends.  Will he drop out of first round consideration? Maybe El Guapo, who earned a few extra bucks against NW, can help him out after cashing that signing bonus check.

teakwood's picture

Sorry I think the D line is great. The way the secondary is playing the receivers is the problem. That soft coverage doesn't allow the Dline the actually make the play every receiver is open by like 2-5 yards. That makes it so easy for the qb to get rid of the ball. The line was in his face all game and missed on only a couple runs. They made a tone of plays. Basically I think the coverage is to soft by the corners. Maybe there's a reason but that doesn't help the line any

tussey's picture

I think you are spot on.  Outside of Rick Ross Chris Carter, everyone on our d-line can pass rush.  When you have a good pass rush or a blitz on you want to run a tighter coverage because the QB is going to have get the ball out quick.  I would like to see us jam a little bit more and make it difficult for the receivers to get off the line.  The interception came while running press coverage.

ChazBuckeye's picture

I agree with the Defensive line comments above.  Joey 'The Beast' Bosa, Diesel Washington, and Noah Spence have been machines (along with the others too).
As far as the defense as a whole, NW did exactly what I thought they would and watched Cal and Wiscy games to see how to exploit OSU's defense. I HATE the idea of bend don't break, which exactly what they are at this point.  It's tough to watch.  I don't think it's all the coaches fault besides this, coverage and blitzes or lack there of.  When OSU blitzes and plays man to man or man press, they pick off the pass by creating pressure (or come close to a pick and/or make a sack or at least a hurry up pass).  When they sit back in zone coverage (like that have a majority of the year) then they get over 300+ yards passing against them.  That last part is what bothers me that is a coaching choice or decision(s).   At least the defense has been good against the run to this point of the season...that's about it though.

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

Buckeye06's picture

I am 80% on board with this.  The only thing I wonder is do the blitzes work so well because they are unexpected to the other team too, which causes them to make a mistake?  Would the blitzes work as well if we called them 25% more?  I don't know the answer, but would like to see some experimenting over the next few games.

Frankly Scarlet's picture

It seems obvious that in order to protect your corners you have to get mondo pressure from the front seven.

"Buclkle your chinstrap, we're gonna grind meat!" - Woody Hayes  

KLF Buckeye's picture

Call me a nervous Nancy, chicken little, or whatever, but like Kyle, I have real concerns about the secondary. Let's consider this group of schools giving up much fewer passing yards per game than we are:
Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, Oregon, Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida, Louisville, Miami (FL)
We are currently #19 in total defense and #20 in total offense. Like the 2002 Buckeyes, I think we need one of these rankings to be top 5 at season's end if we are going to win it all. Let's go Bucks!

Buckeye06's picture

The yards don't matter to me AS much as points, but yea it's a little nerve wracking
I guess my real problem with all the complaints is this; OSU fans knew the D was the weaker unit heading into the year.  However, we thought the front 7 would be more of the problem than the back 4.  Regardless, we all realized it would take some time for the D
6 weeks in, it has taken some time for the D to gel.  The offense has carried us through, like all of us expected and thought would happen.
Aside from which position on the D I was most concerned about, the season has played out similar to how I figured.  Actually, the offense hasn't been as good as I thought it may be, if anything

ibuck's picture

Perhaps many Buckeye fans thought the offense was going to be fabulous because they were shredding the OSU defense in practice. Like others, I suspected our D wasn't that great. And that seems to be true. But I'm hoping they improve a lot over the bye week.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

d1145fresh's picture

I would agree that the D needs to play a little better and your postings simply allued to that (unlike others who think this is the worst team they have ever seen) but to counter your point some: I personally have yet to see a team in college football with a legit lockdown defense this year. Alabama was suppose to be legit on defense but A&M lit them up and Va Tech played pretty well against them as well. Most of the other teams on your list have given up 30+ points when they actually faced another good team.

Oldschoolbuck's picture

Excellent point, D1145.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree that the Silver Bullets have a ways to go, but they have been stout against the run, which is the most important/telling stat.
For example, I don't think they're as good as Bama yet, but fwiw Ohio State is 7th in rush defense (allowing only 2.69 per rush) while Bama is 6th (but allowing 3.11 per rush). Ohio State has faced three good offenses (Cal, Wisc, NW) while Bama has faced only one (Tex AM). 
As I mentioned last night, if the Buckeyes' D can get to the point that they're simply average in pass coverage, while their DL is a brick wall against the run and puts heavy pressure on QBs, they will be a lethal defense. That's how important stopping the run and getting pressure on the QB are.

throttlefinger's picture

The zone coverage does not seem to be working. Think given their talent, man coverage would be better for this group. Regardless, DL needs to blueprint that 4th quarter pressure and apply for 4 quarters. With Bennett, Spense and Washington (and Bosa, the monster frosh), they have the beasts to do it.

steveoz49's picture

" But the Wildcats exploited Ohio State’s secondary and defense as a whole"
I thought that the defense did a great job against the run.  Or am I missing something?
43 carries
94 yards   (a long run of 8 yards)
2.2 average
(this doesn't seem like exploitation to me)

dlb72osu's picture

Totally agree. I couldn't believe I read that statement about "the defense as a whole".
The passing game needs a new look, however every time I read the doom and gloom comments I think back to a sunny Saturday in 1980 in the 'shoe, in front of a capacity crowd, when a senior qb from Illinois threw for a then ncaa record of 621 yards. Dave Wilson torched osu secondary like nothing before. He had his team marching freely down the field over and over again. Anyway, just reflecting on previous passing performances against a good osu defense. BTW, final score OSU 49 Ill 42.                                

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

- Invictus

GH_Lindsey's picture

It really seems to me that these issues come down to defensive coaching. Whether it's the scheme (12 yard cushions against teams that love the short pass) or how the players execute (or don't, at least when it comes to tackling), it comes back to coaches like Fickell, Withers and Coombs (Vrabel is exempt because he's done fantastic things with the Dline). They need to reexamine how they're coaching this team and find a way to get the D playing fast, aggressive and punishing. 

Qujo's picture

I would agree with the narrative that we aren't playing good enough D to make it to the NC game. Maybe our expectations are too high, mine included.
seven new starters, eight now with Bryant out would suggest it takes a bit of time to gel a Defense. That to me should be the expectation.  I also think these zone read, spread offenses generally put up more yards lately against top defenses (see Bama vs A&M). And isn't that the reason these offenses are deployed? To create matchup problems for defenses? The same reason Urban deploys it for the Buckeyes. 
Maybe our expectations should be that we are ranked #4 and complaining when we don't move up the rankings given so many new starters.
equally maybe our expectations should be that we may never be the D we once were because the offenses have changed ( for the most part).
I think we are in a good position if teams ahead of us fall. I can't be unhappy with the potential to make it to the NC game given eight (now) new starters on D. Yet if the teams ahead of us don't falter I won't be overly disappointed as B1G champ and Rose Bowl champ.
just top of mind comments...

Our arch rivals.... 11 National Championships, 10 before 1949 - eight of eleven shared. Trying to respect them... trying.... Ugh!

stittracer99's picture

Northwestern is a good team, with good coaches and skill players, and a good scheme. They had an extra week to prep for us and drew up a solid game plan. On top of that they were fired up and executed their plan pretty well. We also turned the ball over a few times when we shouldn't have, once giving them a 20-yard field to work with. It was said once last week by Chad or Ross (sorry can't remember for sure) that you can't completely shut down both the run and pass against a good team, or else they wouldn't be a good team.
Everyone complains that the B1G is weak and that the other teams need to step up their game, but when any of these teams have success against us and put up a fight we immediately jump to conclusions that we suck. I, personally, saw this game back in June as the toughest of the year and think our guys played well. I think the offensive play calling (in the first half) was much more suspect than the defensive play calling. Plus the turnovers killed us. We left 18 points on the board through turnovers and conservative play calling in the red zone. If our O plays better it's never even a game.

ejoceans's picture

If you already havent checked this out, please do. Its just a little thing that makes me scratch my head and think, wow, ppl really do think this way about TOSU and the big ten in general.
Yeah, its not cool at all but its the thoughts of most ppl around the US if your not a buckeye fan. I too think we just ran into a GOOD team that was well rested and well prepared for us.  Ppl tent to forget that this team was really good last year and will be again this year. Although i think we will see them again in the Big ten champ game I do think we will handle them a little easier(if we don't turn the ball over that is).  One last thing is a agree with most that say we should of been playing up on the receivers a little tighter.  I think our guys can hang man to man with most teams and should do it more often if they are just dink and dunking us to death.  O   H  baby!

Lets do this Brutus

southbay's picture

A lot of people are running scared right now. They know the Buckeyes have the talent and they know what Urban Meyer is capable of. The haters will do what they can to keep tOSU out of the championship game.

ibuck's picture

Saw Couch's piece and I agree with the reply by "streetsahead."  Slanted slander not based on actual facts, but isn't that "de rigeur" for Fox?

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

gumtape's picture

I like our chances:
Clemson will pull a clemson, that is they are the sparty of the ACC.
The Stanford/Oregon winner will have to play UCLA in the pac championship.
The SEC teams will beat each other up and Georgia will come out on top, with one loss.
We only need two of the above three things to happen and we are in good shape.
Bobby Bowden said the same thing for years, even when he was starting to get senile. That is the MNC problem always works itself out in the end. Coaches and Harris voters figure out what matchup they want to see and they vote accordingly.

High and tight boo boo

ibuck's picture

There's  a lot of social engineering, mostly in one area of the country, in determining who gets into the MNC game. Want to guess which area?
Sportswriters  in SEC territory have been plugging their league and denigrating good teams in other parts of the country for decades. (And not just in football.) Coaches have changed their votes in polls to insure the SEC teams get higher rankings (and non-SEC teams lower rankings) in the polls and thus entry into the best bowl games. As if they have an inferiority complex. Add in SEC's oversigning and 30-minute suspensions and you have the current situation, where people are brainwashed into actually thinking that one SEC team vs another is the best MNC game. And when SEC teams play bowl games that are essentially home games, their home-field advantage improves their bowl records. Social Engineering Conference.
I pray that when the playoff teams (either 4 or more) are selected in coming years, that the committee regards the conference championship games as the first round of those playoffs, and only consider the conference winners for those 4 teams.
Edit: Another place that emphasizes social engineering is Bristol, Connecticut.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

This isn't really on topic, but did anyone else pay attention to Jamal Marcus on Saturday?  That guy is a beast in obvious passing situations.

Yeti's have feelings too.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I noticed it. Get Washington fully healthy, Schutt back in the rotation, and maybe 1-2 other interior guys making strides, and this DL will start to get really nasty. Chris Carter didn't play much against NW because of the matchup, but he's been stout occupying blockers, as well.
With all that depth and versatility of talent and size, this DL can cause serious problems both for spread and power teams, by reconfiguring their personnel to suit different situations.
As the young Vipers (Marcus, Spence) get more reps and confidence and apply increasing "speed" pressure from the edge, along with the inside/outside pressures from Washington, Bosa, Bennett, et al, QBs are going to be shell shocked, if only the coverage guys can tighten things up just a bit. 

HotSauceCommittee's picture

Besides my comment above, I would also like to add that this soft coverage is poor game planning. If teams can take the time to spot our weakness (the short passes, screen passes, etc.) and plan to exploit it, then why cant we look in the mirror and take the time to game plan to stop it.  Rarely, if at all this season, have we got beat deep. It is the 8 yard hitch that turns into 67 yards that is killing us.
Bend but dont break, blah blah blah. If it is a weakness you work extra hard to fix it. If you are a boxer and your jab stinks, you throw 500 jabs a day to improve. If you are a power forward and you cant shoot free throws, you shoot 500 a day to improve. If you cant cover 8 yard outs, than you practice defending 8 yards outs. If you cant tackle, you practice tackling.

buckdubbs007's picture

I was at both NW and WI games and I noticed right away at WI that Roby was playing very lazily, giving a 10-15 yard cushion to Abbrederis.  That seemed to continue this week against NW and it was very frustrating to watch.  BTW, if anyone wants a copy of the game to DL one can be had over at BP where I uploaded it :)

InHartWeTrust's picture

Over the next 4-5 weeks, I would love to see someone other than Pitt get a good on-the-field look at safety.  I know he is a veteran, and has the experience, but I have to believe we have better ability somewhere else.  It's his 5th year and he's never earned the starting job, and every time he has been on the field this year I have thought "they need to get him out of the game" -- and I'm not one to have thoughts like that during a game.  I like him on ST's, though.
For the record, before the pro-everything-OSU police shows up:  I wanted Pitt to play against Northwestern bc of his experience, and I think it was the right move for a big game away.

MassiveAttack's picture

I thought our defensive live played awesome.  They did apply pressure most of the night.  Even when they rushed three they got pressure.  Didn't they get like 5 sacks?  Plenty of times the NW quarterbacks were throwing from a collapsing pocket, or getting outside of a pocket to make their completions.

The Ohio State University - "Haters love us!"

Harold's picture

I really wonder if Marcus could be a linebacker...

Ahhh, the smell of Chris Spielman's Dirty Socks...

ejoceans's picture

D Line was a beast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now the DB's need to catch up! O  H

Lets do this Brutus

Tom57's picture

100 yards on the ground against the two best running teams in the B1G and top 10 in the nation is DAMN good folks.
There are some serious issues in the secondary, only some of which can be explained away by focus on the rush and CB being hurt.
As mentioned above, we simply have to improve the tackling underneath. This doesn't take scheme or experience, and it would cut the problem down by about 30&% which combined with the rush D would put us in the top 10.

biggy84's picture

Dropping 8 guys into coverage and still giving up copious amounts of yards is what concerns me. The defense certainly has the numbers advantage. 

ibuck's picture

Buckeye prevent defense?

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

Toilrt Paper's picture

The new rule didn't seem to bother the Northwestern DBs. They were flying to the ball with their helmet aimed right at the midsection of players, note Marcus Hyde a couple of times. Actually that hit is more likely to knock a player out of a game. Broken/cracked ribs or broken/cracked sternum. There is no protection there like a helmet. At the least knock the wind out of someone, which can feel like you're dying. This would make a ball carrier or receiver think twice about catching the next pass or trying for that extra yard.
A rule change results in a coaching technique change. Are the Ohio State coaches behind the curve on teaching the most violent allowable tackling or are the Nerdwestern players smarter and take coaching better?

ScarletNGrey01's picture

As the season progresses I think our corners and safeties will tighten their coverage and the defensive line will blitz a little more effectively.  On the other side, I expect Miller's knee to heal some more over the bye week, he will get more confidence over the next two weeks by getting a lot of reps in practice, and against some of the upcoming unranked teams in the weeks to come I think we'll see more of Dontre Wilson.  Would be nice to see Jordan Hall move back into the rotation.  I gotta think we'll also see a little of Kenny G. in the fourth quarter in some games or maybe slotted in on a trick play or two.  Could be an exciting second half of the season, make sure your seat belt is fastened and your tray is in the upright position.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

pjtobin's picture

Is it to much to ask that our d shut every team we play out? Hold each team under 200 yds? Or do we need to as long as we win? I don't think we will be able to stop every team we play. Or score at will on every team. I do think we can beat every team on our schedule. I'm still nervous about playing bama or the ducks. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.