After just one season in Columbus, co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley is leaving Ohio State.
The engaging young coaching talent is headed to Boston College to command his own program, though he is expected to remain with the Buckeyes for as long as they're standing in the College Football Playoff.
Losing Hafley so quickly is certainly a tough pill to swallow but for one, it was inevitable his stay would be short and two, having assistant coaches that aren't in demand isn't a great recipe for success either.
While all Ohio State fans process losing such an elite coach so quickly, do remember Hafley wasn't alone in turning around a group of players that ranked just No. 71 nationally in total defense a season ago.
Co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who is expected to remain on staff heading into 2020, along with other guys like Al Washington and Larry Johnson, to name a few, also played key roles in the defense's incredible turnaround. None of this mentions a group of players that, largely intact from last year, made their own personal strides to shore things up in historically great fashion.
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Simplifying the defense's overall approach so their players could play fast was central to Hafley and Mattison's mission and the numbers speak for themselves.
Playing far less man press and instead deploying more zone looks, rolling almost exclusively with a single high safety and showing multiple linebacker schemes all paid dividends in limiting the big plays Ohio State gave up seemingly at will in 2018.
With Hafley guiding the secondary, Ohio State's pass defense is performing nearly 100 yards per game better than a season ago. The Buckeyes also have 15 interceptions so far this year, good for No. 9 nationally.
Overall, his defense is giving up less than four yards per play, leading the country, and easily the best mark of any Ohio State defense dating back to at least Urban Meyer's arrival.
Ohio State still has at least one game left to play against an elite opponent so the 2019 season numbers could still inflate just a bit. That said, there's no question as to Hafley's pivotal role in setting a new standard for defensive success in Columbus.