Bank Blog: Quick Thoughts Defense

Ohio State defeated Michigan 42-41 Saturday in a game that literally went to the game's final play. While the game was wildly entertaining and a thriller to watch, there wasn't much defense played by either team.

- Ohio State is just not a good defensive team, which is not a surprise to anyone, but it was confirmed as official today. In this conference, it might be acceptable, but this is not a good defensive team.

- It's not my nature to call out coordinators and if you go back over these writeups this year, you will see it's true. But Urban Meyer/Luke Fickell entered the fourth quarter with a 14-point lead and the Michigan offense reeling under the pressure. Michigan was stoned in the second quarter and third quarter to the tune of six straight possessions of ZERO points. What did Ohio State do after grabbing a 14-point lead? Went to a three-man line with soft coverage and gave a wounded Devin Gardner new life. Brilliant.

- Devin Gardner deserves a TON of praise and he was as good as any quarterback has ever been in this rivalry, but taking off the pressure was foolish. He was playing on guts alone toward the end, and when given time he picked Ohio State's weak pass defense apart. If the secondary can't cover with 4-5-6-7, then you might as well blitz and try to disrupt a hurting quarterback. In the end, Michigan could have won and played well enough to do so. Had they recovered the onside kick at the end they would have won.

- Aside from scheme, the Michigan offensive line kicked the butt of the Ohio State defensive line. I look at rushing stats of 60 yards against Iowa, -21 yards against Nebraska, -48 yards against Michigan State, and wonder how could Michigan stick 152 yards on Ohio State. They averaged over 4 yards per rush, and the answer is that the Ohio State defense just isn't very good when the defensive line is getting rolled. Whether it's the first half against Iowa, or the entire game against Michigan, the back-seven for Ohio State is so average that the defensive has to dominate or they will give up lots of yards and points. On this day, the defensive line got beaten up by the Michigan offensive line. Gardner dropped back nearly 50 times and was only sacked three times and averaged over ten yards per pass attempt.

- In the first quarter, Michigan threw everything they had at Ohio State and they emptied the playbook early. Ohio State got things under control in the middle quarters and could have won comfortably had they kept up the pressure, in my opinion.

- I did think Josh Perry had some good moments in this game, and there is hope for his future. Ryan Shazier was not as good as Ohio State needed him to be, and it shows when he isn't great. There isn't the talent around him in the back line to make up for him not being great. The other linebackers need to be better next year, or replaced by younger players. Simply put, this group is not what is needed to be at national championship level.

- The defensive backs struggled in coverage, primarily the star and safety spots, and this shows up when the pass rush is neutralized. Jeremy Gallon destroyed the cornerbacks, and Devin Funchess dropping the football covered up coverage errors by the back line. They should be alright next week against the Michigan State passing attack.

- I think Brady Hoke did the right thing going for two, although I would have put Gardner on the edge with a pass/run option. He was never going to stop Carlos Hyde, Braxton Miller or the Ohio State offensive line in overtime, so taking one shot to take down an undefeated team was the right move in my opinion.

- Ohio State is still right where they need to be to play for the national championship, and Alabama is tied with Auburn as of this writing. Ohio State can win the national title, mainly because of what is happening on offense. But this defense is not good, and they might not have to be if the offense can win a shootout.

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