Week Four: Thoughts On The OSU Defense

Ohio State defeated Western Michigan 38-12 Saturday afternoon in the final tuneup before conference play begins. How did the defense perform?

You have to love the final point total allowed by Ohio State, and 12 points in this era is a decent showing for sure. Another key component of this team is the ability to take the ball away from the opposing offense, and score with it. Whether it was Darron Lee last week, or Adolphus Washington Saturday, these are huge, momentum changing plays. 

- The negative would be the fact that Western Michigan was able to move the ball on the ground inside with ease, and this was not the finest moment for the defensive tackles or Raekwon McMillan. That WMU offensive line was extremely physical, and pushed the OSU D-line around far too much in this game. They ran for 169 yards, and that's too much to give up against a MAC team. 

- They used several defensive tackles in the game opposite Washington, and none of Tommy Schutt, Donovan Munger, Michael Hill or Joel Hale had much success trying to stop the inside running game and they were repeatedly knocked off the ball. Washington had the big pick and rushed the passer, but also wasn't real good inside. This group was out-physicaled and that should not happen. 

In terms of the linebackers, while McMillan took some poor angles and got tied up too much by blockers, Josh Perry was pretty spectacular. People often mention players that just keep getting better and better, and Perry is the perfect example of that. He is becoming a great player. Darron Lee is just too valuable to not have on the field, so they have to be thrilled his injury was nothing serious. The dropoff behind the starting three is pretty drastic. 

In terms of the defensive backs, it's a shame that Damon Webb is now suspended because he was starting to really come on. I do not expect him back. Marshon Lattimore got a shot and got smoked by Daniel Braverman for the touchdown, and that took care of him. The cornerbacks were really good again in coverage, and both Gareon Conley and Eli Apple are so reliable. Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell are also very good in coverage, so there are no worries at all with the back line. Love the way they destroy the bubble screens and jet sweeps, a huge weakness a few years ago.

Not sure if special teams falls under offense or defense, but I'm going to mention them right here. It's a joy to watch these coverage units, because you cannot return the football against them on either punts or kickoffs. They make no mistakes and stay in their lanes, yet explode to the football. Cameron Johnston is as good as they come, and the place kicking is at least serviceable. 

- The one thing that occurred with Western Michigan running the football so well was it limited possessions for the Buckeye offense. Fir the game, WMU ran 74 offensive plays to OSU's 70. Ohio State also committed 12 penalties, and that needs cleaned up. 

In terms of Ohio State being national title worthy on the defensive side of the football, there's no doubt in my mind that they are just that. They need to be more physical at the defensive tackle spots, and someone needs to step up out of that group to team with Washington. But OSU is a very hard team to throw the football against, and the pass rush and pass coverage are both huge strengths. 

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