Ohio State on defense since 2007

thePhilipJFry's picture
December 11, 2013 at 4:28p

Stats man, stats.

This is what opponents have done on offense against Ohio State from 2007-2013 (per cfbstats.com)

  rating yards att comp int td td/int comp % ypa ypc carries rushing yards rushing td total td td/play plays
2013 129.6 3374 494 299 14  26  1.86  0.61  6.83  3.1  430  1334  8 34 0.037 924
2012 116.84 2922 457 267 14 15 1.07 0.58 6.39 3.55 392 1393 14 29 0.034 849
2011 126.75 2366 352 214 13 18 1.38 0.61 6.72 3.84 479 1840 13 31 0.037 831
2010 98.58 2152 385 207 19 9 0.47 0.54 5.59 3.1 404 1253 9 18 0.023 789
2009 95.75 2230 416 226 24 10 0.42 0.54 5.36 2.88 410 1180 8 18 0.022 826
2008 105.23 2386 440 253 15 12 0.80 0.58 5.42 3.53 406 1433 7 19 0.022 846
2007 98.74 1952 406 216 11 13 1.18 0.53 4.81 2.53 426 1077 3 16 0.019 832

Is Ohio State's defense broken and if so when did it break?

Broken is a strong word, but the defense is not up to its 2007-2010 standard.  Total touchdowns allowed shows 2007-2010 allowing 16-19 touchdowns per year.  2011-2013 saw 29-34 touchdowns per year.  If you think a defense should try to limit those touchdown thingies, Ohio State got much worse in 2011 and stayed there ever since.

Did the Tom Herman/Urban Meyer spread offense cause this?  Fast tempo leading to the defense out on the field more, leading to more touchdowns?

No.  While there is no argument from me that this could contribute to the defense allowing more touchdowns, this trend clearly started in 2011.  Jim Bollman was in charge of the Bauserman/Miller offense that was decidedly not up tempo.  In terms of plays faced, 2013 is the only year that stands out, 924 plays is significantly more plays than any other Buckeye defense faced.  2012 is probably deceptively small here as it contains 12 games while all others contain 13.  It is also why 2012 is the only defense in the past 3 seasons that gave up fewer than 30 touchdowns.  So the Herman/Meyer shiny new offense is putting the defense on the field against more plays.  If you look to touchdowns per play you see 2007-2010 living comfortably in 0.019-0.023 range, 2011-2013 is in the 0.034-0.037 range.  This is a step function change, it occurred in 2011, Herman and Meyer have solid alibis.  You should also note that the td/play stat doesn't get worse in 2012-13 as the number of plays faced per game increases.

So more touchdowns in 2011-2013, how did the team across the field do that?

Relative to the 2007-2010 defenses in terms of yards per carry (ypc), the 2011 defense was bad against the run, 2012 was ok-ish, and the 2013 defense was right in line with a good 2010 unit.  Rush defense has been getting better the past three years.  While the run defense got better, teams started throwing more.  More attempts, more completions, more touchdowns . . . same number of interceptions.  Completion percentage is noticeably higher, td/int ratio is higher, qb rating is higher, and the yards per attempt (ypa) is 1.35 higher in 2011-2013 than it was in 2007-2010. 

What about Withers defenses at North Carolina?

  rating  yards att comp int td td/int comp % ypa ypc carries rushing yards rushing td total td td/play plays
2011 unc 130.06 3137 455 277 14 24 1.71 0.61 6.89 3.56 452 1611 12 36 0.040 907
2010 unc 122.82 2768 431 259 19 23 1.21 0.60 6.42 3.71 440 1633 10 33 0.038 871
2009 unc 105.3 2262 396 232 19 10 0.53 0.59 5.71 2.83 439 1243 12 22 0.026 835
2008  unc 116.59 2938 466 287 20 15 0.75 0.62 6.30 3.74 484 1812 15 30 0.032 950

Other than 2009, that looks a whole lot like the 2011-2013 Ohio State defenses, possibly worse if rush defense is your thing.

So fire coach . . .

Not the intent of this post.  This is just the facts man, then my attempt to say what happened and when it happened.  This post is really just to see what the stats look like.  I threw Withers UNC defenses in because he was the defensive coordinator there and I wanted to see what they looked like when he was the man in charge.

Comments Show All Comments

saltybuck61's picture

I am unsure if Withers' stats at North Carolina are indicative of his abilities at Ohio State. North Carolina won't have the same caliber of athletes that Ohio State does. Of course it is a little bit telling for sure. It is definitely interesting to see that stats at NC are very similar to the stats at Ohio State.

IGotAWoody's picture

I think comparing the stats at OSU to his stats at NC is valid, because it's not about the comparison of the athletes he coached there vs. the athletes at OSU, but the athletes he coached at each stop vs the athletes he coached AGAINST at each stop. And NC has always hung their hat on Defense. I think it's very telling that his stats at both places are very similar.

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

NoVA Buckeye's picture

UNC had pro prospects at every position at defense during that time period, it's not like Butch Davis left the cupboard bare for Withers

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

GoBucks713's picture

I think the numbers are very valid. IMHO scheme and coaching matters just as much, if not more than the athletes you have playing.

-The Aristocrats!

Bucks777's picture

If we are unsure of who to fault.... I say CLEAN HOUSE@!!!!!!

Bucks777's picture

Example: Spence & Washington should have been beasts this year, I mean if you look at their physical stature, speed, athleticism, etc... they are natural athletes with great skills and speed. I would love to have seen the difference in coaching between Alabama and tOSU just to see where they would have been this year in comparison.  Once again, coaching SCHEME and Positional Awareness (coaching), Player development (coaching)!!!
Everyone admits that in the Michigan game our players were constantly out of position; Bosa, Spence, etc..  It went on all game long..no adjustments, no new scheme, nothing...just piss ass coaching....
I believe with Alabama coaching this same talent, you have an argument that they would have all been studs on the defense this year!!!  That says something about our defensive coaches scheme , philosophy, play calling , player development, & motivational coaching....
I believe Vrabel is an excellent coach!  I just feel the defensive play calling and overall development of a disruptive system is lacking, we are playing to soft minus the Penn State Game, by the way where did that game plan get away too?

TMac's picture

Clearly 26 passing TDs against is unacceptable ....well, everything about the 2013 passing against statistics are unacceptable.  And while not exactly apples to apples, the similarities between UNC and tOSU 2013 can't be ignored. 

ONE Not Done!

Bucks43201's picture

At least Withers, and maybe Fickell, too --- need replaced.

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Buckeyejason's picture

Simply put we have sucked since Heacock left.


The Rill Dill's picture

To be fair:  how did Heacock's defense do against TOP teams----like USC, LSU, and Florida.  I'll go ahead and answer----not very well.  They were pummeled by the three mentioned, and there were more. Better than Fickell, yes.  THE best, I say not even close.

Buckeyejason's picture

I'd rather suck on D against those elites than pretty much everyone like we have the last 2 seasons.


SPreston2001's picture

I do agree to a point. But if OSU expects to be a TOP caliber team they have to do well against other TOP teams. Heacock ran alot of that soft zone crap too!! We need a coach who isnt afraid to line the boys up man to man and say cover him!

raki's picture

JIM TRESSEL must be coaching the defense........ That could be the only difference,this co coordinator thing also is not working but the argument to that could be that we didn't had that in 2011, Also in 2011 the defense was coached by heacock. So the only difference is JIMMIY BOY.

Nutinpa's picture

Not sure if you are saying that tongue-in-cheek, but Heacock and every other coach on Luke's dysfunctional staff in 2011 could not wait to get out of there.  Bollman was miscast in his role. 
Luke was in over his head.  Doc Tressel knew that Gene Smith had f**ked over his brother and Heacock wondered wtf he was still doing there.  The ship was rudderless, so I would not use that as a measuring stick.  From what I have heard and read, Withers was ineffective at UNC and he has brought his uselessness to Columbus.  No other way to read this, ladies.

alust2013's picture

Yeah... to be honest I kinda prefer Tresselball with the ridiculous defenses that came with it, especially 2009. Games are a lot less stressful when the defense can make the opposing offense look like they've never seen a football before. Now if we can get back to having playcalling that is neither too cute or too predictable on offense and find whatever was lost on defense, that is a team that would be absolutely terrifying. Like more so than Bama has been over the last few years.

...and Michigan still sucks.

Goalscorer9's picture

I always felt like Paul Haynes and Taver Johnson were very underrated positional coaches.  Tough guys to replace.  Remember they were the guys who turned some unheralded recruits (malcolm jenkins, donald washington, chimdi chkwa) into some pretty good players...Heck you could even give them some credit for Roby

fanfarris's picture

You are right Sir.Its coaches who mold the players,and not the other way around.Does anyone really knows who is calling the plays for the Defense?


Bucks777's picture

No one knows who calls the plays and that is how they want it, you cant point the finger let alone blame if you do not know who is doing what....their is another group of people who have mastered this I think you know who I am speaking of....their house is white..

Barnsey69's picture

My guess is there will be changes, but not until after the bowl game...unless one (or more) of them are hired as a HC somewhere. And I agree with Goalscorer9 that Haynes and Johnson were very underrated. 

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

73buckeye's picture

Think about it this way. If OSU gets their share of the most talented recruits, then talent can't be a significant factor in the performance of the defense compared to other teams or past OSU defenses. It must come down to the quality of the positional coaches and the scheme the coordinators choose to play. Logically, it's gotta be that , or OSU can't recruit quality players. Which do you think is more likely the reason for the poor recent performance?


st pete bch buckeye's picture

Good stats you can clearly see the uptick in td allowed the last 3 seasons.  Right about when Fickell took over.  I think there are too many cooks in the kitchen on that defense right now.  No question they have talent on that side of the ball.  
Can't wait to see Bell and Burrows get on the field next season.  Also it would have been a different story this year if Bryant doesn't get hurt.  Pittsburgh Brown is just awful.  

SPreston2001's picture

Way too many cooks in the kitchen! Give one person the reigns and let him call the shots! All this trying to mesh two different schemes is not working!

AlphaMaleBettor's picture

Thank you for posting.
It's clear that the weak link of the coaches is:
Everett Withers.
It's not working out. Cut your losses, OSU.

alust2013's picture

I can't figure out how Reeves was still the #3 corner with his play this season. He wasn't awful, but after watching Burrows in the Indiana game, it seemed like he should have been the first off the bench.

...and Michigan still sucks.

SPreston2001's picture

Reeves looked slow in every game I saw him in. Got burned quite a few times...

BuckeyeAtHeart22's picture

Apparently our defense in 2007 was 12 pit bulls and a brick wall.  I don't remember us being that dominant but those stats are so sexy.

thePhilipJFry's picture

2007 silver bullets were at 2.5 yards per carry allowed, MSU this year is at 2.7.  The pass defense was outstanding as well, I can't imagine what that D would have looked like if the td/int ratio were more like the 3 years after that one.

BuckeyeAtHeart22's picture

Was our defensive coordinator Stonewall Jackson? How the hell did we pull off those numbers?  Was Laurinitis doping with rabies?

Buckeyejason's picture

That 07 D was 85 Bears like until they faced Illinois and LSU.