Defensive line earned valuable lesson against Oklahoma

Nick McWilliams, Staff Writer
Buckeye Grove
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - There was little time to get down to what exactly went wrong for the Ohio State football team did wrong against Oklahoma with Army West Point on the horizon. An entirely different look forced the Buckeyes to take a week away from "normal" football and focus on stopping the triple option.

Now, with the kind of football the coaching staff and players are familiar with back on, there was a chance to learn from their mistakes and dissect the tape. Defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle feels confident moving forward the problems his group had against the Sooners have been addressed.

"We watched the film, and got corrections for our base defense, because against Army we didn't really run our base defense," Sprinkle said at media availability Tuesday. "So we're getting right back to playing our defense now. We're going to be smooth settling."

The Ohio State defensive line failed to effectively pressure Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, and put pressure on a secondary that was relatively unproven. The results were a home loss against a top-five team, which still leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the players.

Sprinkle said the defense adjusted to the speed of Army's offense option quickly, helping lead to a win. Now Ohio State will be tasked with returning to defending spread attacks and much more traditional college football offenses.

Against UNLV, the Buckeyes will have to stop one of the more surprisingly effective offensive attacks. Sprinkle said he and the defense have been able to pinpoint the keys they will have to focus on in order to win.

"We see a great quarterback and some real fast running backs," he said. "They also have a good wide receiver and some experienced guys along the offensive line. Right now they're doing very good on their offense and we know that, and we're prepared for them."

A team that feels prepared this early in the week can be a good sign, but whehte ror not Ohio State is truly ready will be come apparent on Saturday.

Sprinkle's counterpart — defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones — is equally as confident, even though UNLV is an unfamiliar opponent. The Buckeyes and the Rebels have never met in college football.

Jones said he feels UNLV is a little different considering they're from an area Ohio state rarely plays teams. He feels the defenisve line has done it's job in disrupting the passer, and expects more of an uptrend in the defense play this Saturday.

"I think we've done a great job," Jones said. 'We gotta just keep applying pressure because our DB's and our linebackers need our help. We're a team. They need us, we need them."

Ohio State put things in motion in the right direction against Army, but it's still a work in progress. The Buckeyes will have to slow a running game that features a running back who is averaging nine yards per carry and a quarterback who flashes explosiveness when he carries the ball.

The momentum gained from last Saturday will be huge moving forward, according to Jones.

"After a tough loss against a tough team at home, that was really a confidence booster, for sure" Jones said.

Ohio State kicks off against UNLV at noon on Saturday in Ohio Stadium.

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