Even before the defense hit rock bottom last season, many Ohio State fans were clamoring for a return to the press defenses of the late 1990s that were the first to earn the nickname, “Silver Bullets.”
Such a switch is easier said than done, however, in this day and age of spread offenses that were much more rare back then and not as diverse as they are now. Continue reading →
So what to make of spring football at Ohio State for 2014? Is it possible to come away feeling good about the defense without also questioning the offense? I’m going to start off by saying yes, but I can’t promise not to change my mind.
The OSU secondary appears to have taken to the new, more aggressive approach brought by co-coordinator Chris Ash. Of course, we had not really gotten to see Gareon Conley or Eli Apple in action much before this spring, but veterans Doran Grant and Armani Reeves seemed to thrive in the new attack as well. All of them certainly seemed comfortable, even from the first day reporters were allowed to watch practice. They got right in the faces of the OSU receivers in position drills, seven-on-seven and scrimmaging. We saw a fair amount of coverage busts — especially involving the tight ends deep — on that first day, but those appeared to dissipate as the spring went on. Continue reading →
So Ohio State finally confirmed the hiring of Chris Ash as safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator. Along with new defensive line coach and assistant head coach Larry Johnson, Ash completes Urban Meyer’s staff for 2014.
After the two get off the road from recruiting, they will find a defense left in shambles at the end of last season, the last of three years of regression that followed a decade of stellar play.
Johnson has a reputation as an outstanding position coach, and he will find a group that performed well in a trial by fire this past season. The stout, fundamentally tough play he taught at Penn State could blend very nicely with the aggressive style outgoing coach Mike Vrabel instilled in the group.
Ash’s job figures to be much tougher, though he will have a nearly clean slate when he and holdover Kerry Coombs work to rebuild a secondary that gave up 268.0 yards per game last season, almost 25 more than a year earlier. Continue reading →