Bank Blog: Quick Thoughts Defense

Ohio State roared back once again after trailing at the half, and rallied to beat Iowa 34-24 Saturday in Columbus. How was the Buckeye effort on defense?

- The game with Iowa was a tale of two games basically for the defense. They got rolled early and dominated Iowa late. In between those two games was the 85-yard TD pass where Armani Reeves ran a 7.8 forty trying to catch a 270-pound blocking tight end. No excuse for the effort, or lack of, on that play. And Reeves wasn't the only one on that play. Inexcusable for that to happen.

- What was the reason for the first three drives? Why was Ohio State so bad on those drives? What did Iowa did so well? Iowa scored 17 points on their first three drives, so obviously they were doing something right. What's astounding is that they had only one play over 20 yards on three scoring drives, and that should not happen to Ohio State. Missed coverage? Breakdown in communication? Missed tackles? I get those. The defensive line getting straight trucked for three straight drives covering 216 yards total? Ridiculous. Was the Iowa offensive line all that highly-regarded coming into the game? I do not think so.

- Seeing Mike Vrabel's troops getting thrashed was shocking, and what adjustment was made to get them playing Ohio State football again? I have no clue, but after the first three drives all Iowa had was the long pass debacle over Reeves. Back out the 85-yarder to the tight end, and after the first three drives Ohio State held Iowa to 81 yards on 24 plays.

- To me, once Vrabel found a way to get Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington, Michael Bennett, Joel Hale and Joey Bosa playing like they are capable, Iowa was done offensively. They never really generated much pressure on the passer, but they started clogging running lanes and pushing offensive linemen backwards, instead of getting moved off the line of scrimmage. That was the biggest change to me. And I don't think Vrabel changed schemes, but he might have challenged people and got in their faces. It looked like an effort thing more than a scheme problem to me.

- The tight ends had a field day against Ohio State and credit Kirk Ferentz for attacking the Buckeye linebackers. I'm going to be the last guy to crack on a kid the very week he buries his father, so Curtis Grant gets a total pass from me. That he played the game at all is a credit to his character. He will play better going forward. Ryan Shazier did a lot of good things, but he's played better games for Ohio State. Josh Perry was not good and needs to play better. Perry has been inconsistent all year and the Iowa game wasn't pretty. He needs to be more football player and less combine athlete.

- Trading Bradley Roby for Armani Reeves early in a close game is a recipe for disaster, and that one call could have lost the game for Ohio State. Was it the right call? I have no idea and hate the stupid rule, but it's a rule that almost cost Ohio State. The dropoff in talent is THAT huge. I still think Doran Grant has been the best overall defensive back this year, and he is very dependable in coverage and as a tackler. C.J. Barnett has been average all year and that describes the Iowa performance. Tyvis Powell had a big interception. Corey Brown needs to play better or it's time to look at Ron Tanner, Vonn Bell or Devan Bogard. The back line has suffered from Roby not being Roby all year long, the Bryant injury, the overall safety play being average, and poor tackling. You keep hoping it will get better but it sure doesn't seem to. To their credit, this group has made plays in the fourth quarter when needed. When Ohio State's defensive front is not playing well, it only exaggerates the mediocrity of the defensive backfield.

- It's probably unfair to come down too hard on the defense, but if a national championship is the goal, things need to be better. The Bryant injury is a killer. The Roby suspension has hurt his play in my opinion, and nothing will convince me otherwise. The number-one problem to me is all the inexperience out on the field right now. Only Shazier, Barnett and Roby have a lot of playing time as full-time players, and while a lot of the new guys have talent, they all aren't showing it. They must play better if they think they are going to hold up to Oregon, Alabama or Florida State, let alone Penn State or Michigan. Looking at the offense you see ten guys that have played a lot of games as starters at Ohio State. You just don't see that on defense, and the only way to get experience is to play and learn from your mistakes. One thing is certain: If the D-line doesn't play really well, Ohio State is not going to play well on defense. That's where it has to start.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories