VickVega24's picture
February 1, 2014 at 3:43a

We all seem to get on to the fire Fickell or thank goodness Withers is gone wagon.  However, we really need to think about our defense since Dantonio.  It really hasn't been that great against Top Tier Teams......maybe Mark Snyder was good.  I hear all the pro-Heacock fans down voting me now, but read USC's comments about our D when we got our azz kicked in the Coliseum.  It was a dreadful day for myself(just purchased an Authentic Eddie #27 jersey that day) and wore it the Coliseum.  USC players knew exactly the way we lined up, how we played our zones, when we blitzed, and knew Tress would punt if he had an inch to go.  We have not had an elite D since with it.  We have had the players, but our coaching has since Dantonio left has been predictable and subpar.  I could go on and on about the Fiesta bowl meltdown against Texas or the last 6 minutes against USC in the shoe.......Jim Heacock was bend don't is Luke Fickell.....Withers was the guy....screw fundmentals...get the pick or the is time get back to basics....4-3.....give me some zone blitzes....some man press coverage and let our safeties play hasn't happened....when was the last time we saw a corner....shorter than 7 yards off the line scrimmage......sorry for the rant....but we haven't seen a good defense called in a long time.

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DudeNick4's picture

I agree with you on the "truly dominate" comment. But I also am of the understanding that the way teams play offense these days (spread and zone read) prevents a defense from being overly aggressive and forces guys into space where the the guy reacting is almost always at a disadvantage. Bottom line. Guys need to make a play. 

JohnnyKozmo's picture

The spread offense has neutralized defenses to a point, but there's a reason the Hawaii's and Houstons and Texas Techs of the world haven't won anything.  When they run into a dominant defense, more specifically, a dominant D Line they are shot.  The 2010 Rose Bowl team that beat the ducks showed this.  The key to beating a Spread team is D Line Penetration.  Outside of that game, it seems as the recent philosophy for tOSU against the spread teams is to play zone and let them dink and dunk all the way down the field, hoping for a turnover or other self inflicted mistake.   What has made the upper tier SEC Teams so dominant, is that they get so much penetration and pressure from just the front 4, that they can do whatever they want to confuse the offense with the back 7.  A lot has been made about Bamas D this year and struggling with A&M and Auburn, but in all honesty, it was a lack of talent and experience that is normal with college football.  Rosters are completely turned over every 4-5 years.  Growing pains do happen, even for Bama. 
Meyer also knows this.  It's not a coincidence he has been bringing in truckloads of talent on the D Line.  If Ash can teach some basic tackling techniques to the secondary, the back end will fix itself as a result of the D Line continuing to improve.  Then you should see press coverage, blitzes from everywhere, zone blitzes=essentially controlled chaos, which is what I think we all want to see from the Defense. 

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

Wesleyburgess1's picture

You sound like you know what your talking about. I completely agree with everything you said. When the talent starts to show we will start to see more aggressive/creative defense. Until then same ol'stuff. Cant wait for talent loaded defense to take the field wearing THE Scarlet & Grey.

kmp10's picture

We have not had an elite D since with it.

Maybe not (I've not taken a look back at the defenses in the decade since, but for the sake of argument I'll grant you the lack of an "elite" defense for the moment), but here's what I know: the Ohio State defense under Fickell has been abysmal, and was THE sole reason the 2013 team was considered an afterthought in the national championship conversation. That was never the case under Heacock. Never. Since Fickell has been running the show, 2011-2013, the defense has gotten progressively worse and is, without question to even the most ardent Luke Fickell supporter, the thing that is holding this team back. 
We've been down this road a thousand times before. Fickell, Coombs, Withers and yes even Vrabel, simply didn't get it done as a staff. Fickell has the title and the salary so he gets the bulk of the blame (deservedly so), but Coombs (I know, 11W staff disagrees) has not developed the corners, the safety play was embarrassing and the D line was inconsistent. One half the defensive staff is now gone (by choice or by encouragement) and of the two remaining coaches, both have seemingly been demoted (Coombs is now the special teams coordinator who will "assist" Ash with the corners, and the days of Fickell being the ultimate decision maker / play caller are seemingly over). 
To suggest that Heacock produced the same quality of defense that Fickell (and his staff) did the past two years is just wrong. Under Tressel/Heacock the defense was never considered the weak link. As a matter of fact, the defense was almost always one of the better units in the country during the six season Tressel/Heacock run. 

thePhilipJFry's picture

2005 #2 in S&P+
2006 #9 in S&P+
2007 #1 in F+ ranking
2008 #16
2009 #9
2010 #2
2011 #20
2012 #20
2013 #45
I'm not sure how you are defining elite defense, but 2005, 2007 and 2010 should qualify.  2006 and 2009 were really good defenses as well.  I'm not really seeing a good argument for Withers in those numbers either.

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

It's a tall order to field an elite defense year in and year out in college.

Just as it's been a tall order for Ohio State to field an even decent defense the past few years.

I'm a fan of the new faces, coach and players, coming in on that side of the ball. I think we will see improvement, but I'm not going to sit back and realistically expect an elite defense. But that's not say I'm fine with what I've seen lately.....especially in pass defense.

Vince Lombardi told his players upon arrival in Green Bay that while they would never be perfect, they'd be relentless in their pursuit of perfection.

That's a philosophy I think translates well for our folks in the S&G, and hopeful to soon see the Silver Bullets back on a more consistent basis.


The argument that spread offenses have changed how defenses are built is valid. The spread can be stopped but you need a special skill set. Stanford has been equipped to stop Oregon but couldnt stop sparty. bama struggles vs the spread so much saban wants it abolished. I think Meyer knows this and hes recruiting accordingly. But its going to take him a while.

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

sivaDavis's picture

Did we win? Did we win?

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

ShawneeBuck74's picture

Not against the last two ranked teams, coach. -Pizza Guy

You win with people. 

9 Units Strong. 


ShawneeBuck74's picture

The Heacock defense has had its moments. I think it was great in 2009 & 2010 when we shut down Oregon & Arkansas. That 2010 D was dominant...only that loss to Wisky (grrr) in Madison. In that case, I blame the offensive play calling (pun intended). In fact, the three losses in those two years were largely due to Pryor's limitations as a passer and subsequent bad decision making (esp. Wisky & Purdue games...I blame the USC loss on Tress' conservatism).  
The 2010/11 season (tatgate erased year) was probably Tress' best team at tOSU...should have been his second national championship at tOSU. Should've still had a shot at the NC, but by then the eSECpn narrative of "weak B1G" was totally embedded. Even beating Arkansas didn't help that. The "cheating" narrative had taken over.  
I think Tres knew how great that team was, and that lead to his downfall.
Agree with the original post, though, on the whole. Dantonio/Snyder defenses were generally more disruptive than Heacock's....but I think Heacock's d-lines were really stout. 

You win with people. 

9 Units Strong. 


cuttyrock's picture

It's simply we haven't had that defense since 2002. I've said it before and some agree some don't. You know who we also miss but people never look at it this way. We miss Bill Conley he was the guy that found Hawk, Carter, Pace, George, etc. He kept quality talent especially db during his watch. Springs, Plummer, Winfield, Moore, Berry, Doss, Nickey, and others are talent he found or had a had of finding. I'm still mad he was let go. He knows talent and that maybe one of the hardest jobs in the world. Looking at thousands of film each year and decided who's your top players at each position.

m4's picture

I agree with most of what you said with the exception of Nickey, he had no business of ever seeing the field. He was one of the worse starting players to ever play for osu.

SPreston2001's picture

Nickey was terrible! I had a friend who played 3rd or 4th string RB for OSU while Nickey was there and he said Nickey was a different animal in practice. He said he would make spectacular one handed INT's and shut down the WR's which kept him in good graces with the staff but it never translated into the games....

Dublin68's picture
Dublin68's picture

andretolstoy's picture

"Bend don't break" Who is it that came up with this to describe a defense? I don't think there is a defensive coach in the history of the game that would subscribe to this sort of defensive philosophy.

VickVega24's picture

bend don't break is usually synomous with zone or prevent keep offense in front of you so you don't get beat.....however, the spread exposes that type of scheme.....i think it would be more effect to employ man to man coverage or a bump and run to disrupt the timing of the short pass and allow the athletes on the d line to penetrate

Sometimes you just got say WTF!

andretolstoy's picture

I get it. But zone defenses are still devised to actually stop the offense.
Our defenses didn't have much luck stopping offenses this year. So it really has nothing to do with the schemes or calls bending or breaking, or man to man or whatever.
A defensive player worth his salt can stop or, at least, disrupt an offensive player no matter what scheme.

TomD's picture

Since offenses have become so dominant, defensive strategy and tactics needs to be more explicitly defined and refined.  Old school defense won't cut it anymore.  You hear a lot of talk about aggression on defense.  It's necessary.  A reactive defense, with today's sophisticated offenses, is not a winning strategy.  But it must be smart and measured aggression, ultimately selective in its execution . . . at the right point in the opposition offense's possession.  Finally, these modern defensive schemes and adjustments must not be too complicated for players to learn and to execute.
While talent in players is critical, as is the on-going development of that talent, with today's sophisticated offenses, both pre-game defensive strategy and during-the-game adjustments are often what wins football games, especially important games.  A defensive coaching staff that can make adjustments on-the-fly to what offenses are executing successfully, is a capability that will win most of the important games.  More than on offense, the heart of an excellent defense is an excellent defensive coaching staff.  Said another way, while offense can be built around an individual player's talents, defense must be more of a team approach, beginning with coaching.
And as a recent example of in-game defensive adjustment, if Carlos Hyde consistently gains 5+ yards per carry, the defense - let's say Michigan State's defense - must adjust to stop Carlos Hyde . . . unless, of course, the offense stops calling the play (!?!?!?!?).

"I love football.  I think it is the most wonderful game in the world and I despise to lose."  WOODY HAYES

OSU_1992_UFM's picture

I couldn't agree more. Ive been saying the same thing,but everyone on 11W and any other TOSU site knows it too. The way we are playing defense clearly does not work,the only common denominator in this entire tragedy of defends is Luke Fickell. I personally think Luke has too much on his plate,though no one knows if he really calls plays or not,either way I think he'd be better suited as a LB or Dline coach(he'd be good at both) and let Ash call plays. Im actually leaning toward Ash calling plays next season,it just has that feel to me and that fact that Gene Smith wouldn't say who was calling plays leads me to believe that it will be Ash

Spring football is like non-alcoholic beer.  It looks like what you want, but only intensifies your desire for the real thing--Earle

Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

Im wondering if Urb will have a competition thru the next few months between Fick and Ash. He demands competition from everyone so why not the 2 co-D coordinators? Id like to see the 2 squared off in the spring game against each other and let the best man win.

I speak the truth but I guess that's a foreign language to yall.~~Lil Wayne