If there was one major knock against Ohio State last season, it was its struggles on defense, espeically late in the season.
So, new co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Chris Ash was tasked this spring with finding a way to make the Buckeyes more efficient on the defensive end.
“It gets back to the effort and not making a lot of mental mistakes,” Ash said last week. “The way you get great effort and minimizing mental errors is simplicity. Be simple with your approach and do what you do extremely well, then you can branch off from there. We’ve got to be great teachers, teaching the concepts, getting them to understand how we want them to play, and we’ll expand more.”
Ash and the rest of the Ohio State staff welcomed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano to practice. And while Ash wasn’t quick to give up a lot of what Schiano taught the staff during his time in Columbus, Ash did say the staff found his input useful.
“Coach Schiano has been a very successful coach in a lot of different stops,” Ash said. “He’s a great defensive mind, very smart, very intelligent. He got a chance to come out and evaluate our practices. He’s watched some film with us, got to pick his brain on some things whether it be scheme things or fundamental things, just different philosophies on defense. So, it’s been great to have him around for a couple days.”
Ohio State ranked 46th nationally in total defense with 377.4 yards per game, but allowed just 22.6 points per game. Of course in its final three games of 2013 – games in which Ohio State went 1-2 – the Buckeyes allowed 115 total points. Ohio State had allowed just 202 total points in its other 11 games.
Ash said he doesn’t think Ohio State needs to complicate its defense to fix it, but he does think that the success of the 2014 season hinges on the consistency the Buckeyes didn't show in those final three games.
“We’re not going to be a defense that’s going be what I call a ‘guru defense’ or ‘junk’ defense. We’re going to be executors of what we do. It’s going to be about the effort and the fundamentals and consistency.”
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