Chris Ash's Greatest Hits

By Jeff Beck on January 27, 2014 at 1:00p
Gettin After 'Em

With the hiring of co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash officially announced last Thursday, I thought now would be as good a time as ever to take a look at a few of the gems Ash has orchestrated over the years. So without further adieu, here are Ash’s greatest hits.

#3: 2012 Ohio State

Number three on the list might not look like a greatest hit on the surface. After all, the Badgers were defeated by Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes 21-14 at Camp Randall Stadium. However, digging a little deeper one finds an incredible defensive performance put on by Ash’s Badger defense.

Coming into the game, the Buckeyes were averaging 40 points per game. They were 10-0 and rolling up 424 yards of offense per outing. With that said, Wisconsin was no slouch. Brett Bielema’s boys were 7-3, but had lost all three games by a combined 9 points, including one loss in overtime. No one expected a win against Wisconsin to come easy, but it’s hard to say anyone predicted the Badgers to stifle OSU en route to their lowest point total in regulation for the season.

Ash Swaggin'Ash will be looking to add to his greatest hits in 2014

Wisconsin held the Buckeyes’ offense scoreless for three out of four quarters with the Scarlet and Gray’s sole touchdown coming via a Carlos Hyde 15-yard run on the first possession of the second quarter (the other score came via a Philly Brown 68-yard punt return).

Braxton Miller was essentially shut down, tossing for only 97 yards (a season low) and rushing for just 48 (the second lowest total of the season). He was also sacked three times. The game was the only one in which Miller was held out of the end zone in 2012.

With the exception of the Purdue game, the contest was the most panic-inducing for Buckeye fans in 2012. The majority of that anxiety was due to Ash’s defense. They did something no other opponent was able to do during the season: stop the Buckeye offense in their tracks.

#2: 2011 Nebraska

In 2011 Ash was promoted to defensive coordinator on Bielema’s staff. During that season, the Badgers gave up 19 points per game (good enough for 13th in the country in scoring defense and 15th in the nation in total defense).

The pass defense was especially good allowing just 163.6 yards per game through the air pegging them at fourth in the nation. In addition, the secondary hauled in 16 interceptions over the course of the season, good enough for second in the Big Ten.

It’s safe to say 2011 was an incredibly successful year for Ash, and no game exemplified that success better than the Badgers 48-17 dismantling of #8 Nebraska.

Ash’s defense gave Bo Pelini’s squad an incredibly rough B1G welcome. The tilt was especially hard on sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez who threw 3 of his 8 interceptions during the game (a single game record for Martinez).

The punishment was doled out early by Ash’s squad who dropped Martinez for a sack on just the sixth play of the game forcing a fumble. Martinez was able to recover and eventually led the Huskers down the field for a score.

Nebraska was able to score again on their first possession of the second quarter, but after that it was tough sledding as Ash’s defense applied the clamps.

Martinez’s next two possessions ended in picks and Nebraska wasn’t able to put any more points on the board until a field goal in the final quarter of play. The 17 points the Huskers were able to muster fell far short of their 31.9 points per game average, and it tied for their lowest point output of the regular season.

#1: 2010 Ohio State

Buckeye fans aren’t so fond of the greatest hit of Ash’s career. Coming in at No. 1 is of course the 31-18 dumping of the top-rated Buckeyes, the only loss on the 2010 schedule. At the time Ash was serving as the Badger’s defensive backs coach and his unit played a huge role in the upset.

Coming into the game the Buckeyes’ offense was firing on all cylinders, averaging 43 points a game while rolling up 448.6 yards every Saturday.

The game started off horribly for the Scarlet and Gray as Badger return man David Gilreath housed the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. That score was all the Badgers’ defense would need for an entire half, as the Buckeyes were held to a mere field goal before heading into the locker room.

Ash’s secondary completely shut-down Terrelle Pryor who went just 4/11 in the first half for 25 yards. In fact, things were going so badly through the air that Pryor completely abandoned the passing game in the second quarter, tossing the ball three times (and completing only one) for a total of 6 yards. That’s right, you read that correctly, six total passing yards in the second quarter.

Things picked up slightly for the passing game in the second half with Pryor ending the contest going 14/28 for 156 yards. Still, his 50% completion percentage was the second lowest of the season and he never found the end zone through the air, the only time that occurred during all of 2010.

The Badger defense put on a clinic against the Buckeye defense and much of that success was due to Ash’s no fly-zone.

The addition of Ash to the Buckeye staff has generated quite a bit of excitement heading into the 2014 offseason. He is young, experienced and knows how to win on the biggest stage. Here’s hoping we haven’t seen the last of his greatest hits.


Comments Show All Comments

German Buckeye's picture

So now we have to root for things change.

Berniebucks78's picture

Funny how you say that. I despised the UF version of Urban. However, I learned that my malice was very conditional once he put on the S&G. I love the man now!

"Indecision may (or may not) be my downfall."

D-Day0043's picture

I hated Urban's guts after that gut stomping we took by Florida, but it was jealous hate. I'm just being honest.
Now as far as Bert, I simply don't like the guy, and I'm not particularly fond of anyone who would work for him, but if Ash can come in and revive the Silver Bullets, then I am on board.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

Codeezy's picture

Almost falls into the "if you any beat 'em, join 'em" category except Mr. Ash was proud and honored to be offered a job at our institution and will surely be an upgrade! Seems like a great fit and players love him. 

ToledoMan's picture

I'm looking forward to the attacking, aggressive secondary play.

gm3jones's picture

I cant wait to see his defense in action! I hate the offseason :-(

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

sigzeta's picture

It's great to have him as a Buckeye. He has proven himself with far lower talent - from his boss.
Fickell is in a no win situation. If the defense responds well next year, it will because of Ash.  If it fails, it will because Fickell is still on staff.  

buckeye4life050233's picture

Most people, me included, blamed Fickell a lot for the train wreck our defense was last year.  I look at MSU and what Narduzzi and Co. did with far less talent, yet produced a really strong/aggressive defense.  Specifically with regards to Mike Tressel coaching the linebackers.  When their best lb was ruled out for the Rose Bowl they brought in someone who hadn't played much all year and he played better than our lb's minus Shazier.  We need that type of production from this offseason for our lb's in order to make it through the grind that is going to ensue with the playoffs this year

slicksickle's picture

I still laugh at the thought of Ash leaving Arkansas and Bert for a pay cut. Its a good feeling knowing this man came to OSU because he knows he'll win here.

rkylet83's picture

I like the hire, his defenses at Wisconsin were always solid.  His specialty (secondary) is exactly where we need help the most.  I am never completely sold until I see a year of our guys under his leadership, but my hopes are pretty high that our young athletes will be making big plays instead of giving them up.  

hetuck's picture

Note the name on the jersey in the center. He would have had a real problem with the current rules. Biggest headhunter I can recall. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

rkylet83's picture

Another point about him joining us is his past experience of planning for us.  I think it would be safe to say he'll have some good insight into how other coaches in the B1G prepare for Braxton Miller and what they focus on to stop us.  He could end up making our offense better.

IGotAWoody's picture

This is an EXCELLENT point! I hadn't thought of that aspect of his hire....

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

AkronBuckeye13's picture

Scrolling down I had a feeling that I knew what #1 was. Still cringed when I saw it.

pcuzz1's picture

Off topic. But does anyone know if/where Ash played college ball?

pat cozzens

OSUFlash's picture

I'm still not sold because Ash didn't do it alone when at Wisky, he must have had a better supporting cast of coaches and obviously better developed talent.


Furious George 27's picture

That does not really make much sense, he will have a much better supporting cast of coaches and talent at OSU than what he ever had at Wisconsin. If anything it would be more of a reason for him to succeed, he has the stats to back him up so far. If anything I could make the case that the former FSU DC has a lot to prove as well.... After all he's been handed #1 recruiting classes at Bama and FSU.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

OSUFlash's picture

Once again down votes for someone expressing an opinion is just unbelievable.  
I agree that he will have better talent around him from a player perspective but if the current defensive coaches at Ohio State are / were so wonderful why was our defense below average for basically 26 games and we have 4 and 5 star athletes constantly be labeled as under achievers.
I am merely saying I'll believe it when I see it but I wouldn't be shocked to see some ridiculous Fire Ash topics on this site if things start off very shaky a few games into the season.


Furious George 27's picture

I understand skepticism, but the major problem with defense has been the secondary play. Ash is a secondary coach with a good resume to date. The DL played quite well last year and should only be better w/ LJS leading the unit, as for the LB corp they lacked depth as evident when Boren and a walk on had to step in to play. This year with the red-shirts and some talented freshmen the LBs should have some depth. Bottom line is he took the talent he had at Wisconsin and got great production out of them. As of now I am at a wait and see, but it appears he has a good resume and some great endorsements. The hire if anything will tell us who was making the calls last year.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

jedkat's picture

Some more quotes from Aaron Henry who played under Ash at Wisconsin and was a B1G all-american:
“If it was up to Chris Ash, that guy would blitz and play man press all game. He loves pressure and he loves for his corners to be in your face. I’m sure he’s going to have a little say in the defense. That back end will be better. He wants his guys to play fast. I know he’s a huge fan of Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears (he coached). They don’t run too many schemes. They run what they run, but they’re really, really good at it. He’s not a complicated guy. He does what he does and he dares you to beat him at it.”
“Every so often you have a guy who was born to do this. I’ve got a very special place in my heart for him. There’s not a shadow of a doubt that he’ll be successful. I don’t think they have a clue how good this guy is. They have a really good coach.”

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Buckeye5000's picture

Henry's description of Ash's proffered style sounds a lot like the team we played in the B1G championship game. And we all know what happened in that game.

2014 Undisputed National Champions!

2002osubuck's picture

I really look forward to seeing what he can do with the talent we have stocked at DB. I just remember he had that Shelton kid playing unbelievable as a freshman and making plays all over. He should make a big difference in the secondary and hes already familiar with the B1G so that should make the transition smoother.

2002osubuck's picture

I found this article that has some great extra quotes about and from Ash:
Saved from the cutting room floor -- Chris Ash edition | Buckeye Xtra Sports
Sorry the link won't copy for some reason.

Crimson's picture
It looks good.  I'll have to give it a read.
Edit: here's the quotes that really stood out to me, in case you aren't excited yet.

I’m not a guy who worries about who gets credit for this or that. I’m here to help get this defense to a championship level. That’s it. That’s the bottom line. As long as I felt like I was going to have a chance to provide the input needed and the direction needed to get us to that spot, great. I want to win. I want to win at a high level and I want my input to affect that. I felt like that was going to be the situation.

He’s not going to tolerate not being sound . . . He’ll be a stickler with that.

He’s got it all. He’s got talent. He’s a great teacher. He’s a mentor, he’s a coach. He’s a helluva recruiter. He has a lot of fun with his players and yet he’s going to set high standards and demands on that defense to make sure they can be as good as it can be. He’s not going to accept anything less than their best.
He’ll be a great success story at Ohio State. There’s no doubt about it.

If it was up to Chris Ash, that guy would blitz and play man press all game. He loves pressure and he loves for his corners to be in your face.
They don’t run too many schemes. They run what they run, but they’re really, really good at it.
I don’t think they have a clue how good this guy is. They have a really good coach.

Hovenaut's picture

Here's to looking back at this somewhere down the road and making the necessary updates.
Coach Ash - feel free to throw in a January date or two.

tcm1968's picture

Love his style but again if he's not calling plays the scheme will dictate what our defensive backs can and can't do. If Ash is coaching our DBs to play nose to nose on the line of scrimmage and Luke is calling a scheme that calls for the DBs to be 8 yards off the WR we will continue to have the same problems next year.

+1 HS
dlb72osu's picture

That's a pretty naive football outlook on schemes, input and teamwork from the coaching staff. If the DB's coaches are talking in the meetings that the corners and safeties are coached, taught and have practiced in a certain defensive scheme the DC is not going to call for opposing schemes. We can all have a certain amount of faith that the coaches at this level are all working toward the same objective.

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

- Invictus

Furious George 27's picture

With his many comments on keeping the scheme easy to follow, leads me to believe that he will have a lot of input on what is being called.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

bull1214's picture

a well rounded db coach will teach more than one coverage because NO DEFENSE EVER went a whole season just playing one coverage. fickell and ash being on the same page is something that has to happen but even then there's the d-line playing a BIG part in putting pressure on the qb which helps the pass defense. its a combination of things for every team not just our team.

Crimson's picture

From what I've read, Ash keeps things simple, but he obviously uses more than one coverage.  The only thing I saw in particular is that he doesn't run much cover 3 and thinks it's only good against the run.

Seattle Linga's picture

The leadership will really gel this team together nicely in the months upcoming.

bucknut94's picture

I"m sure Ash has some added incentives in addition to his salary. I imagine he will get bonuses as division champions, conference champions, bowl games and national champions.

PittBuckeye's picture

Excited to feel like the d will be very different next year, scared that it won't be. 
Loving everything I hear about Ash though.

buckskin's picture

It seems like his defenses performed without a lot of "big name" guys.  There were some (Watt), but he coached up a lot of his players.  Imagine V. Bell, C. Burrows, Eli Apple, and Gareon Conley being coached up and learning the most important part of football:  being fundamentally sound.  Hopefully those fundamentals and coaching will spill over to the backers as well, an area in which we need marked improvement this year.

huber57's picture

How can you not like a man who was responsible for this?

Why does Dublin have so many round-abouts? Because everyone in Dublin thinks they have the right-of-way.