Changes foreseen for OSU defense


By Jim Naveau - jnaveau@limanews.com



COLUMBUS — Ryan Day offered no specifics about what the next steps for Ohio State’s defense will look like but promised they will be a departure from the mis-steps the Buckeyes made all too often during a 35-28 loss to Oregon last Saturday.

“We’ve got to get some things fixed. There are a lot of things to look at and we’re going to figure out what gives us the best chance to win,” Day said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

“We’re giving up too many yards and too many points, that’s the bottom line. I think now it’s not just a single game, it’s kind of a pattern. We’re certainly going to make some adjustments to how we’re attacking other offenses but also structurally and how we’re doing our day to day operations,” he said.

“We’re going to make some adjustments and changes but I’d rather not get into that right now. You want to act but you want to make sure you don’t overreact. You want to do things the right way. You allow people to do their job but when it gets to a certain point you want to get things fixed.”

No. 9 Ohio State (1-1) has allowed 505 yards to Oregon and 408 yards to Minnesota in its two games this season after allowing 621 yards in a 52-24 loss to Alabama in last season’s national championship game.

Next up for the No. 9 Buckeyes is a 3:30 p.m. game Saturday against Tulsa (0-2).

Maybe the most alarming statistic this season is that OSU’s defense has given up an average of 236 yards rushing per game, which ranks No. 123 nationally.

“Last year the passing game was the big (defensive) issue and we were top 10 in the country at stopping the run. We made some adjustments to get things fixed in the back end and now we’re having a hard time stopping the run,” Day said.

“You have to look at what is the issue. Is it the style we’re playing? Is it the way we’re coaching it? Is it the scheme?” he said.

The reflexive reaction from some fans is that defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, who had never been a coordinator before Day hired him last season, is the biggest problem with Ohio State’s defense.

Asked if Coombs is still the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator, Day said, “Yes, he is still the defensive coordinator. But we’re going to look at everything.”

Day, a former college quarterback who was an offensive coordinator at three colleges and a quarterbacks coach in the NFL, spends most of his time with Ohio State’s offense. But OSU’s defensive problems have forced him to spend less time with the offense.

“I’m not happy about that at all. That’s part of the deal for me to do what I do on offense is that I need the defense really on point and special teams on point. I need Mark Pantoni to do a great job recruiting and Mick Marotti to handle strength and conditioning,” Day said.

“The minute I get taken away for those types of things it affects the offense. To be honest with you, I’m disappointed. We have good coaches, we have good players so we can figure this out. But we have to ask hard questions and maybe make things uncomfortable. But that’s part of my job.”

Ohio State’s next four games will be against Tulsa, Akron, Rutgers and Maryland so improvement could be achievable.

“We’re going to take a hard look at everything we’re doing, from scheme to our structure and all those types of things and what gives us the best chance against Tulsa to win the game. But no hard decisions have been made yet,” Day said.

By Jim Naveau

jnaveau@limanews.com