Week-Eleven Game Thoughts: OSU Defense

Even though the offense was the primary culprit for Ohio State in Saturday's 21-14 loss to Michigan State, the defense had problems stopping the run in the second half.

- The Chris Ash led defense certainly wasn't awful Saturday in the loss to the Spartans, but they weren't able to stop Michigan State from running the football right at them in the loss. Even though a lot of practice time was spent on stopping Connor Cook and the passing game, it shouldn't have been a tough adjustment to move to being run stoppers. 

- I thought Ohio State might go to more of a "bear" front with Michigan State not wanting to throw the football. They could have brought Tyvis Powell into the box and had the linebackers crowd the line of scrimmage, daring the Spartans to throw, but never really sold out to stop the run. They could have removed a linebacker and went to a fifth down lineman, again with no worries from the passing game.

- As an undisciplined team all year, it was fitting that Ohio State would kill themselves by foolishly jumping offsides four times during the game. That is on Larry Johnson to have his group play disciplined football, and also be stronger against the run. I realize they prepared to face a passing QB this week, but had this group been stronger against the run Ohio State still might have won. In the end, the MSU O-line wore these guys out and kicked their tails. By the fourth quarter these guys had nothing left in the tank. Not a good showing for the defensive linemen, and the tackles got worked all day.

- The linebackers seemed to take bad angles at the Spartan runnningbacks, and were out of position often. This was not Raekwon McMillan's best performance, and a lot of yardage was gained because he could not clean up the play. I thought Josh Perry played pretty well, but Darron Lee was surprisingly quiet. Hard to place too much blame here, because the defensive line getting handled was the story against the run. 

- The DB's didn't have much to do in this game but make tackles ten yards down the field. I thought Eli Apple got wronged with a bogus pass interference call that led to Michigan State's first score. Gareon Conley was strong in coverage when they went after him. Tyvis Powell could have been stronger against the run, and Vonn Bell seemed to play well. Had Ohio State been able to force Michigan State to throw, I believe this group would have held up well against the Spartan wideouts. 

- Ash should be thought of pretty highly in national terms, and he should draw interest once the coaching carousel gets underway in full. Iowa State makes a lot of sense, and I would expect them to want to interview him. The cream of the MAC, Bowling Green and Toledo should both open up in a few weeks as well. Regardless, it might be Ash's time to land a head coaching job and this is what he wants. Ohio State was always going to be a stepping stone to a head coaching gig, and he has done a great job for the Buckeyes. I do not expect him back at Ohio State next year. 

- Michigan presents some challenges for Ohio State's defense this coming week, especially now that they have been throwing the football so much recently. Stopping the run should still be the primary focus this week, as I think Apple and Conley can handle Chesson and Darboh in man coverage. If they can stop the run on early downs, and force Michigan to throw in second and third and long, it will play into Ash's hands. 


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