Simply put, last season was a disappointing one for everyone invested in Ohio State football. The expectation in Columbus is to compete for championships every season and NEVER lose to the team up north. Head coach Ryan Day understands that his position comes with those high expectations and knew last season was unacceptable. Day responded to last season by completely revamping the defensive coaching staff as there are three new defensive coaches.
Jim Knowles led Oklahoma State to the best defense statistically last season and is now the new defensive coordinator at Ohio State. Knowles has a lengthy coaching career as he began coaching in 1988 at Cornell University. Coach Day wanted the best defensive mind on his staff and got an elite coach in Knowles:
New Ohio State defensive coaches:
– Tim Walton, Cornerbacks Coach
– Perry Eliano, Safeties Coach
– Jim Knowles, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Eliano spent the past two seasons in Cincinnati where he helped develop top five 2022 NFL Draft pick Ahmad “Sauce” Garnder and fourth round selection Coby Bryant. Eliano has proven that he has the ability to develop talented athletes. Tim Walton has coached for over 25 years that include both NFL and college football experience. Ohio State fans can expect to see new defensive schemes and techniques this season in hopes to improve defensive play from previous years.
The coaching changes were necessary due to the defensive woes Ohio State has experienced recently, but Ohio State’s defensive players will need to play better to compete for a College Football Playoff berth. Ohio State finished 59th in yards allowed per game in 2021 giving up 372 yards and finished 28th in sacks. There is lots of young defensive talent in Columbus, Ohio that have gained a year of experience and another offseason to get faster and stronger. Ohio State fans should be on the lookout for a big year from the defensive line as they have multiple premier edge players that will be wreaking havoc in the backfield during the 2022 season.
On the defensive side, Larry Johnson is the lone holdover on defensive staff. Lot of questions about whether there is a star up front. No lack of candidates – Jack Sawyer, JT Tuimoloau among those standing out in what should be a deep rotation. pic.twitter.com/9Xh0uIUp43
— Dave Revsine (@BTNDaveRevsine) August 11, 2022
Zach Harrison is entering his final year in Scarlet and Gray, so he will put everything on the line to win a championship. Standing at six feet six inches and weighing 272 lbs, Harrison has NFL level size with the skill to be a dominant force for the Buckeyes in 2022. Harrison’s running mate off the opposite edge will be former number one recruit, J.T. Tuimoloau. Tuimoloau played in every game as a true freshman and had three sacks during the season. Lastly, Jack Sawyer will be utilized in various ways to put pressure on the quarterback and stop the run. Sawyer mentioned “this defensive has enabled us to fly around and make plays” when speaking about Knowles defensive scheme. Defensive line coach Larry Johnson raved about the progress Tuimoloau and Sawyer made in the weight room which is exciting due to athletes making the biggest jump year two according to Johnson. Buckeye fans have a lot to look forward to this upcoming season and it starts with the defensive line.