Everything We Know About Ohio State's New Defensive Scheme

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IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

I've said this before, I think Lincoln Riley in 2017 showed how to attack Greg Schiano's defenses and our opponents with spread offenses just followed the blueprint. Add Bill Davis who wrecked the LB corps and a disgruntled safeties coach Alex Grinch who phoned in his job and you have the three core reasons the defense imploded. I gotta have faith that Mattison, Hafley, Washington, Barnes, and LJS are all on the same pages, synced up, and get along with each other. The results will show on the field if they are.

"You're the patron saint of the totally effed" - Hot Tub Time Machine

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Mortc15's picture

They all appear to be professionals and willing to work with each other for the good of the team. 

Last year was certainly a power struggle at times and some coaches not being willing to adapt to personnel. Hopefully those days are over. 

Buck-I4Life

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Bucks19's picture

Grinch phoned it in? You mean the guy many on this very site that hailed him as the next greatest DC in Ohio State history? That guy?

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Dstacify's picture

Tbf many think he phoned it in because he didn't like being demoted to co-DC when Schiano lost out on the Tennessee head coaching job and unexpectedly returned to OSU as a result. Grinch could still be an excellent defensive coordinator out in Norman (though he'll have less talent to work with on the defensive side of the ball there than he did here). Overall that was just poorly planned out by Meyer when the hire was made and it led to power struggles among the defensive staff as a result.

11 Strong.

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3rdtimesacharm's picture

We all get it dude. You hate ohio state fans. What does it matter if people hailed him the next great DC before the season started? What were they supposed to do? Predict he would suck and be a terrible recruiter? Nobody knew what he’d be like until well into the start of the season. You’re like the guy who goes to a star wars movie then sits around and rips on all of the star wars fans in the audience.

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Bucks19's picture

I don’t hate our fans, just the fickle fans who are ga ga over everything and don’t live in reality. It’s makes us good fans look pathetic.....dude. 

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NorCal Buckeye's picture

"us good fans"

In the words of Bucknut1994: "Lol"

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3rdtimesacharm's picture

Oh how convenient that you anointed yourself one of the “good fans”. On top of that you fancy yourself a “realist” too. Ive found that anyone who identifies themselves publicly as a realist fan ends up being just as annoying as an over the top homer if not worse... dude.

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Hovenaut's picture

This is welcome news across the board.

The attack (because defenses should, imho) has to start up front. So hell-to-the-yes on the Rushmen doing exactly that. Which benefits the linebackers in less reads and focus on cleaning up any leftovers in the running/passing lanes.

I'm a fan of rotation outside of QB and offensive line, so I'm eager to see the Rushmen continue to do so, as well as the other defensive units - keep people fresh, keep opposing offenses guessing, get talent out there and expose and take advantage of any personnel mis-matches.

Multiple looks for the win. Love, love, multiple defenses...having good flashbacks to some of those Bill Young/Fred Pagac/Dino 4-3 sets from Cooper to Tress.

Excellent stuff.

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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esap153's picture

Normally I would agree with you on not rotating QBs and O-line, in fact I still do about the QBs, but apparently Clemson rotates their O-line and seem to have found success with it... With as many quality offensive linemen as we supposedly have, it might be worth a try. After all, if we can make it work the advantage of keeping guys fresh would be worth it.

Seattle Buckeye, Green Tony

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ibuck's picture

IIRC, in the 2006 game at Texas, OSU/Tressel successfully substituted the entire offensive line for at least one long drive.

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

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oldebucke's picture

Seems like the 2i alignment should be perfect for someone like Landers. I would think it would put more responsibility on whoever is at ML though. But what do I know.

If you have two people that agree on everything, that only means one of them is not thinking at all.

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Trebor40's picture

It is honestly a hybrid of what we tried to do last year. I have played behind this vision in another lifetime and it leads to one clear issue - O-Line leave the D-Lineman unblocked and he MISSES the tackle MLB has problems! This can occur quite often when there is a QB/RB mesh that focuses on the D-Lineman like say JTB and his endless interior runs! 

I would rather be on hand with 10 men then elsewhere with 10,000 - Timur Lenk

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Evansvillebuckeye's picture

Count me as one who is excited for the defense to take the field this year.

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dvo45's picture

Heacock used to say “go through their throat”

Fickell used to say “It’s 11 on 11, somebody has got to whip someone’s ass”

Mattison calls it “knock back”

The message is the same...the DL must WIN UP FRONT...and win by DESTROYING The Blocking Scheme

”That way the LBs can play their game”

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Bucks19's picture

That’s the key to any great defense. Has been for 100 years 

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TURD_BUCKET's picture

I am as excited about the defense this year as any in recent memory.  The "talent" is there, it just needs to be turned into results.  This article is a good read and gives us information on the likely changes/improvements to the defense. I like the rotating players, too.  I like what I just read a lot.

See ball, get ball.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

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dgrimm_6's picture

Love what I am hearing about this new defense and it has me ready for the season. Does anyone know the exact day Preseason camp begins I can't seem to find it.

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Colin Hass-Hill's picture

It hasn't been announced yet, but it should begin within the next two weeks. Possibly as soon as the end of next week.

allinosu's picture

Colon, the scholarship grid on here still has us at 86 with two weeks to go. Is there a walkon with a scholarship that's going to get pulled in that count or is someone going to get surprised soon?

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Colin Hass-Hill's picture

If there's no more attrition, I'd anticipate Kevin Woidke not being on scholarship. Ryan Day put him on scholarship for the spring, but he didn't commit to having him on scholarship in the fall.

brutus360's picture

Oh man, I just gave you an upvote based on your only vote that’s was down. Must have been because of Colon. 

"Age wrinkles the body, quitting wrinkles the soul" Woody Hayes

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Colin Hass-Hill's picture

For the record, I didn't give him the downvote lol

RunEddieRun1983's picture

The theme I'm seeing in all this is that it won't be one static defensive theory. They're going to be flexible, they're going to give the LBs less to do mentally so they can apply what they're good at physically, quicker.

I like what I'm reading here. Let's go!

Urban Meyer left an incredible legacy. 12/4/18 Ryan Day begins his.

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brutus360's picture

I see it being that way too RER. Gives me a lot of confidence they can play free and react. I still want a thumper in this defense with speed that the offense runs away from. Young on one side with a mid to late thumper on the other is what I want.

"Age wrinkles the body, quitting wrinkles the soul" Woody Hayes

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Canukbuck's picture

Someone once said that defense, "is just stepping across the line and throwing a fit" ..... However, just taping your ears back and flying up field is susceptible to counters and dump passes, so gap control will be so important for the front four, while still getting up field in a hurry.

I'm more excited to see what the new defense, with basically the same personnel from last season, will bring to the table this year.  Last year was not a Silver Bullet season and I'm anxious for us to get back to Ohio State defense .... 

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brutus360's picture

Couldn’t agree more Canuk About a return of the Silver Bullets!! 

"Age wrinkles the body, quitting wrinkles the soul" Woody Hayes

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jwm552002's picture

Lots of talk here. Let's hope the defense is better then last year but until the game is played I have my doubts. Seemed like swiss cheese on defense.

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Montana silver bullet's picture

Great write up! Come out blazing Silver Bullets

Montana Silver Bullet

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OSUlewis's picture

Great read! Thank you Colin.

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Arizona_Buckeye's picture

It feels like the Spielman era is back... see ball, crush person carrying ball!  As stated over and over, the defensive schemes over the last few years seemed to be way too over thought and complicated!  Bring back the less thought, more crushing opponent defensive mindset!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

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buckeye phi's picture

"The linebackers will be trusted to make the majority of calls this fall"

This makes it critically important that we settle in on a starting middle linebacker as soon as possible.  Obviously, its best when those calls are coming from the middle of the field.  We have to have a consistent signal caller in that role. 

I believe we should substitute freely everywhere on defense except MLB and free safety.  As Colin pointed out in the piece, one of the outside linebackers will be coming out of the lineup when we go a little lighter and faster with the "Bullet" taking on that role - so it really should be the MLB making the calls for the sake of consistency. 

By the way, the nose tackle is also (and more accurately) often referred to as the "1 technique" defensive tackle in a 4-3 over - which, I believe is how we'll be lining up most of the time this season.  It's nothing new for that position to line up (typically) on the inside shoulder of the weak side guard.  We're just going back to that alignment - which I agree, is a smart move. 

All of these changes look very smart to me.  Can't wait to see it in action -

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. - Will Rogers

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Mean Mr Mustard's picture

Yeah, having a 1-tech DT should help w/ some of the numbers advantages that a lot of offenses try to create in the box. 

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oldebucke's picture

I agree. I know these " titles " are often to justify the pay scale, but generally it is better to have one guy in charge and hopefully that guy lets his assistants have input to help him make HIS decisions.

If you have two people that agree on everything, that only means one of them is not thinking at all.

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BuckeyeinFlorida's picture

So much to look forward to. Can't wait to watch the defense come together and seriously frustrating every team we play.

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JohnnyKozmo's picture

Biggest takeaway for me has been the talk about changing personnel to match the offense.  I honestly can't believe we saw them go the entire 2018 season without realizing that 3 LBs, one of which clearly wasn't 100% in Borland, isn't a good idea against spread offenses.  How many times does an RPO have to be run and consistently thrown to the same spot right behind the LB to think it might be time to change?  

That being said, this change is probably the biggest challenge facing defenses today when they face uptempo, no huddle, spread offenses, because they can catch a desired defensive personnel package on the field by getting 1st downs and not subbing. That means the defense can't sub without risking a penalty for too many men or getting caught out of position.  IIRC, that's why Ash instituted the walk out LB position (as a result of the Boyd/Watkins show), which was essentially a bigger Bullet position when Darron Lee played it.  It was someone who could eliminate some of the bubble screen/quick hitting plays out to the flats, but also be effective in run support.  

This same line of thinking is also why I think you're hearing the experiment with Ruckert at H and 2 TE packages.  Ruckert can act as a big 3rd WR when split out and presents matchup nightmares.  Suppose the Buckeyes go big with 2 TEs on a 3rd and 1 and get it.  Then hurry up on 1st down and split Ruckert out instead of in tight.  Assuming the D matched the big set with extra LBs, now they're caught with either a slow LB or undersized safety on Ruckert...I'll take that matchup.  

You're too stupid to have a good time. -Dalton

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Ole Buckeye's picture

It's all good... what I really liked were two things: 1., line up in one look and then run something else. Deception! Love it. and 2., mix it up, vary things. 

anytime offense OR defense gets too predictable it's bad. 

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Steelydan54's picture

Modern college offenses are designed to get favorable 1:1 matchups and exploit same. Spread, motion, RPO etc are methods that all offenses use.  College defenses have a couple of counters to all that offense; study like mad and discern tendencies, then beat offense to the point of attack; be faster and more disruptive than offense, taking away their advantage; exploit the weaknesses of the offense allowing better athletes to make better plays. We will be deep and talented enough to do all three. It won't be smash mouth defense ordinarily but it will be fast and dominant. Look forward to seeing it in action. 

Steelybuck54

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Ole Buckeye's picture

I love our interior line guys.  Hamilton and Landers are great.  Also VERY excited to see Togiai get his chances, and develop.  Seems like recently we've developed a reputation for great DEs, and that's wonderful, but going back to the NC team of 2002, I've always loved watching the inside guys wreck it. 

yeah, it's getting harder to wait for the season to start. 

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tcm1968's picture

I'm still of the opinion you can't win the whole thing with Tuf at MLB. He does not have the speed to cover anyone from the teams that are legit chasing the playoffs. All of the changes don't change the fact that a guy like Lincoln Riley would just call plays that put Tuf in match-ups he couldn't handle. Same for Bama, Georgia, Clemson etc.

We should be able to win the first 4 games with anyone on the roster at MLB. Give the BULK of the snaps in these games to dudes not named Tuf. If they don't work out we can always go back to Tuf as a band-aid. He is what he is at this point. Don't see any reason to give him starters snaps before the B10 starts. Give me HEAVY doses of Mitchell and Browning in the non-conference games and hope to heck one of them grabs the position and never lets go. 

Go Bucks!

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esap153's picture

I liked Tuf in his first season but tearing your Achilles is a really tough injury to come back from... People who do usually just don't get back to the same level, their speed and acceleration are affected. He just visibly seemed too slow to cover guys. I'm with you, I want to see Mitchell and Browning in the middle. It sucks for Tuf but this is Ohio State, you can't have charity starters if you're chasing Championships.
However that said, it wasn't all on Tuf Borland - I don't know how many times I saw all the linebackers lost in coverage, or shedding blocks in the opposite direction of the ball carrier. That falls back on the coaching, scheme, etcetera. Hopefully we won't have to worry about that this year

Seattle Buckeye, Green Tony

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Ole Buckeye's picture

Coincidentally, just last night I was watching a 2017 game, and I swear to God I was saying, who is that 32? Fast, hard hitter, cleaned up a lot of tackles.  I actually froze the video at one point to verify it was Borland. 

I hope his 2019 looks like 2017 and not 2018.  

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BuckIDave's picture

Change is good when you consider how the Buckeyes underwhelmed on defense last year. Status quo is definitely not recommended. Minimizing big plays will make a big difference in the PPG stat. There's no reason why OSU can't be in the top 3 of the B10 in defense and top 10 in the nation. The talent is there for sure.

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esap153's picture

Like everyone on here I'm really excited to see how the defense looks this year - I was super relieved when I first found out about the personnel changes Ryan Day made to the defensive staff, even before I knew much about them.
After reading the article on Lathan Ransom's commitment I feel justified in that. Dude said that the d-backs improved a lot in just 3 weeks!
Besides, after last year it can't get much worse.
Incredible to think the Buckeyes only lost one game last year with an epically porous defense.
Gives me a ton more respect for what Dwayne Haskins and the receivers accomplished, especially considering they didn't have a reliable run game for half the season...

Seattle Buckeye, Green Tony

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TJG32's picture

It’s simple. See ball, tackle ball. 

TG Proud Buckeye alumnus.

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southalabamabuckeye's picture

Change needed to happen. Ohio State has way too much talent to be an average defense. I expect that the Silver Bullets moniker will be justifiably used this season.

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NorthPoleBuckeye's picture

Defense has the horses, just gotta let them run.

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avail31678's picture

I really think we'll be a top-30 defense this year.  Which should help a lot in the games where our offense and new QB might have some growing pains.  I'm excited. 

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Trebor40's picture

I believe we will be a tremendous defense particularly in the first half of games, which might in fact end 8 of our games right then and there. We will see how well our team makes adjustments yet clearly this is something they are comfortable and preparing for in the matter of recognizing and attacking tendencies! If our defense masters those and our coordinators evolve quickly then we are in business through the other 4-7 games we play! 

I would rather be on hand with 10 men then elsewhere with 10,000 - Timur Lenk

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