Ohio State Defense Excited to Play More Traditional Offense Against UNLV

By James Grega on September 19, 2017 at 9:01 pm
Ohio State defense

Before Ohio State opened its 2017 season against Indiana, and before beginning preparations for Oklahoma, the Buckeye defense was already taking time in practice to prepare for Army's triple option offense. 

But just exactly how much time was spent in spring ball, fall camp and game week practice on the triple option? 

"We had been working on the Army offense for awhile now. We probably had over 700 snaps of it (in practice)," Ohio State safety Erick Smith said Tuesday evening. "I am just happy to get back to playing regular 'Cover 4.'"

The extra reps against the Black Knights seemed to help as Ohio State allowed just seven points in its 31-point win on Saturday. However, the Buckeyes are now turning their attention to a Rebel offense that ranks eighth in the country in total offense. 

In preparation for UNLV, the Buckeyes are dusting off the tape from their 31-16 loss to Oklahoma, which had been put away while Ohio State prepared solely for the trial-option attack from Army. 

"(The defense) spent all day yesterday on Oklahoma," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said Monday. "Graded the effort and rewarded the effort in (the team meeting room) with me and the team, and they went to work. And they'll continue to work on, because now we'll see another spread offense."

The Rebels are led on offense by redshirt freshman quarterback Armani Rogers and an NFL prospect at wide receiver in Devonte Boyd. While UNLV is a run-first offense, the Rebels have the ability to throw the ball downfield. 

After two weeks of play, the Ohio State defense ranked dead last in the FBS in pass defense. Smith said after watching the Oklahoma film this week, many of the Sooners' big plays came on self-inflicted wounds from the Buckeye defense. 

"When you break down the Oklahoma film, almost every play, from the front guys to the back-end, there were mistakes that just added up," Smith said. "It made it look like they out-schemed us, but we were really beating ourselves."

While the Ohio State secondary has had its issues, the Buckeye defensive line has, for the most part, held its ground so far this season. Indiana rushed for just 17 yards in the season opener against Ohio State and Oklahoma barely cracked 100, rushing for 104 yards on 37 attempts. 

Playing against an Army team that attempted just eight passes, Ohio State's rushing yards per game are inflated and don't show how dominant the Buckeyes have been at the line of scrimmage. 

Defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones said Tuesday that for the Ohio State defense to be successful as a whole, the Buckeyes need to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. 

"That triple option is no joke," Jones said when asked about the idea of facing a more traditional offense again. "I think (the defensive line) has done a great job. We just have to keep applying pressure. Our defensive backs and our linebackers need our help. We're a team. They need us and we need them."

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