Buckeye Defense Struggles Through Another Uneven Game

Ohio State football Buckeye defense Greg Schiano Alex Grinch

If you just look at the final score, you might think the Buckeye defense did more or less what it was supposed to Saturday afternoon against a sluggish Minnesota offense.

The Gophers finished with just 14 points in a 30-14 Ohio State win.

But anyone who watched the game, or who looks beyond the top line of the box score knows there are still major questions for the Buckeyes to answer.

Minnesota averaged 7.1 yards per play. Freshman running back Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 157 yards, and averaged 6.8 yards per carry. True freshman quarterback Zack Annexstad threw for 218 yards, and averaged 9.5 yards per attempt.

Minnesota came into the game with the 111th-ranked offense in S&P+. On a per rush, per pass, and per play basis, the Gophers outgained the Buckeye offense.

Only a pair of missed field goals and two red zone turnovers kept P.J. Fleck’s team from making the final minutes very uncomfortable for Buckeye fans.

“I was disappointed in the run (defense),” said Urban Meyer. “Their back had 160 yards rushing against us, and that’s not acceptable.”

The pass defense was a concern for Meyer as well, as he watched the Buckeyes consistently give up big gains on simple slant routes.

“We’re a team that challenges every throw, and when you get beat, that’s a problem,” Meyer said.

Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said that those slants came off of plays that put the Buckeye linebackers in no-win situations.

“In college football with the run/pass option, which was the bulk of what they did offensively, it’s very difficult to take one man off the run game to ensure that you have multiple bodies in throwing lanes,” Grinch said. “You’ve got to make sure that you’re gap-sound. To take a linebacker out of a fit to play coverage, you leave yourself susceptible that way.”

Grinch tried to remain positive after the game, pointing out that the Buckeyes shut out the Gophers in the second half, and forced three turnovers. Still, he knows the clock is ticking.

“We’re running out of time in terms of being young. This is a work in progress. I think it always is, but it’s time now for us to get our feet underneath us and perform better,” he said.

Meyer said that missing a handful of starters also made Saturday more challenging than it should have been.

“You lost Damon Arnette, BB Landers really did not play, and then you have Malik Harrison and Jonathon Cooper. So everybody’s dealing with it, but it’s a fact, and we have to play better,” Meyer.

But injuries or not, Grinch knows his defense needs to figure things out soon.

“We keep saying it, and patience is running thin for us as coaches,” Grinch said.

27 Responses

  1. defense and OL is not play off caliber. Haskins is awesome, still cannot understand why they do not use Victor, he should transfer

  2. Many of the same problems we’ve already seen but the Minny performance was worse in this way: the Bucks got beat on both lines of scrimmage.

    The Gopher Oline blew out the vaunted Buckeye Dline all day. OK, there’s injuries. I get it. But this was Minnesota! Not MSU, Wisky, PennSt or Meatchicken. Wtf was that?
    Our Oline is slow and clearly has overworked pass protection at the expense of practicing run blocking. Add to those Oline problems that there seems to be little-no depth.
    The Dline was supposed to be deep, full of top recruits. Now we’ve seen the true depth after a couple injuries. The Dline got pushed around like jello on a wet plate.

    All you guys crying about Purdue are overreacting but things have to be fixed by MSU or we still may lose 2-3 games including The most important Game.

  3. Defense should change scheme and what’s up with the o-line they better do something the Purdue Spoilermakers are licking their chops and can’t wait to see you at their place!

  4. Said during the game that on Monday before bye week that Urban needs to fire and replace it better yet hire real LB and DB coaches. Schiano made a jackals of himself yelling at the red fir the obvious pass interference call. Greg how many weeks need to pass by b4 you teach the CBS to turn their head? Very poorly coached D and I saw a glimpse of the foolishness in Greg’s behavior.

    1. I said the same thing about Schiano. Obvious pass interference and he is screaming at the refs. Pathetic.

  5. You cannot look at this ill-prepared, poorly coached group of four and five star linebackers without putting the blame for their horrendous play squarely on the back of Urban’s best man. You might think that Urban should have learned his lesson about the dangers of making decisions based on family considerations instead of the team. It is so painfully obvious that not only do this group go into every game unprepared for what the other team throws at them but they simply are not coached up on the basics of how to play defense. It is a sad state of affairs that I simply find it impossible to blame on the players.

  6. This is week 7. Seemingly no improvement and if anything we have gone backwards defensively. This is not going to be fixed. It’s the scheme that they refuse to acknowledge does not work.

    Since Weber’s opening 186, we have had little run game. Offensive line are statues. Massive, stuck in quicksand statues. As soon as the backs receive the handoff, they are hit. Zero push or attitude from this line.

    Injuries or not, there are HUGE voids on this team. Haskins and the receivers can’t be expected to have massive games weekly to out score everyone. Had Minnesota not shot their self in the foot yesterday, this could’ve been a much different outcome.

    I’m sick of this staff. Yup, even the states highest paid state employee and the same ugly effort I see weekly. Sloppy, undisciplined, and stumbling around like teams are just going to surrender because they are playing OSU.

  7. Defense is a mess and this directly reflects on coaching. Time for Urban to get in some coaches and players grill. Demand execution by coaching and players. Schiano’s schemes are a mess. Maybe Urban needs to take charge of defense. Players look lost half the time. Especially linebackers. Worst group of linebacker play I have seen in years. Possibly ever at OSU.

    Running game is a “dumpster fire”. Line is not pushing anybody off the line of scrimmage, rarely ever, so no running lanes. Not firing out and keeping pads low. Act like pass blocking on running plays. Time for personnel change possibly. Wilson claim all good on line no player changes needed. Not sure what game he was watching. Not only could not run block but were getting beat on edge consistently. There is not much left when can’t run block and then can’t pass protect. Give others an opportunity and possibly light a fire unde some butts that their job is not secure. Perform or get off the field.

  8. our defensive coachs take too long to adjust, for example, mcsorley ran all over us, we never adjusted, this week they kept throwing slants, we never adjusted………….poor defensive coaching, the offensive passing game looks great……NO running game, will catch up eventually

    1. Agreed. Time to start watching ScUM’s defense. Very impressive yesterday.

  9. I’m more convinced than ever that the assistant coaches are hired primarily as recruiters and coaching, scheming, game planning, and player development take a backseat. Coombs, Johnson, and Fickel are the three who come to mind that can/could recruit and teach and only one is left.

    1. Said during the game that on Monday before bye week that Urban needs to fire and replace it better yet hire real LB and DB coaches. Schiano made a jackals of himself yelling at the red fir the obvious pass interference call. Greg how many weeks need to pass by b4 you teach the CBS to turn their head? Very poorly coached D and I saw a glimpse of the foolishness in Greg’s behavior.

  10. And you “POSITIVE” people that can’t see the big picture of how bad this really is…well you are in for a real shock when they get smoked by a team that can stop our passing game, because that is the only unit that is good…We may have won, but we have been exposed badly by one of the WORST offensive teams in the nation….

    1. Thanks Russ, appreciate the kind words. Keep up the good work

  11. Ineffective coaching, developing, and the fact that Urban does not have the balls to make the necessary changes will be why we lose to Purdue next week.. This is a BAD football team right now, except for Haskins and Hartline’s squad. So hard to stay positive when week by week same lack luster, lazy, players under-perform and get rewarded by being allowed to play the next week. I am laughing at Grinch saying LBs were in “no win” situations all day……Bullshit…every play is a win OR lose situation…..the better prepared, disciplined player wins most of the time….we are neither..Mr Grinch. The problem with his theory that i see is we were not in a position to stop either option, run or pass, i guess thats why he felt it was a “no win” situation. I now see why our players can’t play, its because our coaches can’t coach , and it appears me,NOT able to figure things out… Cant wait to see this staff gone next year,but unfortunately we will suffer another underachieving season…..again

    1. Why aren’t you in coaching? You have all the answers, seems you should run them instead of Urban. LOL

      1. Please rebut him Randy. Snide comments are not a rebuttal…

  12. In the big scheme of things – a win is a win. Somebody once said – “You play to win the game!” – and by my count the Buckeyes have won every game. I’d be concerned if there were great teams out there to be afraid of – but nobody in the B1G scares me (not saying the Bucks go undefeated); nobody in the PAC12; nobody in the Big 12; nobody in the ACC (Clemson doesn’t look all that impressive); Notre Dame doesn’t scare me (a glorified Penn State); perhaps Alabama (who hasn’t had much of a schedule at all) – but nobody in the SEC other than that – so, even with the obvious defensive flaws with this team – I say compared to what? So, I know its a long season (but not by much) and if the Buckeyes lose all the I told you so Joe’s will jump out there – perhaps with good reason – but I just don’t see anybody else out there without flaws. So, I’ll keep enjoying the wins until I can’t. By the way – Urban doesn’t seem to be the type of guy who’s gonna call out ineffective coordinators/position coaches – he will wait until the end of the season and make the change.

    1. In 2014 I put a great deal of faith in the operations of the Buckeye football team. They improved each game. Come December I took a decent size chunk of change and bet on the Buckeyes to beat Alabama and eventually the National Title.

      I wouldn’t bet a well abused plug nickle on this team against Alabama. It would be far uglier than the Clemson beatdown.

    2. We are Ohio State. We know what kind of recruits we have and we know we can do much better than what we have seen so far this year. We are 7-0 and some people even call us an elite team. If we are truly elite, our football team should be setting the standard on how to play this game. Other teams may have flaws, but that is not our problem. We not only have flaws. We have major structural flaws and they need to be fixed before the whole building collapses.

  13. i haven’t seen the quarter by quarter scoring but it seems like the defense plays better and makes adjustments in the second half. The offense still needs to play ball control. we have to run the ball better. work the clock and let the defense settle down

    1. I told everyone around me watching the game today in the Shoe that if we can’t run the ball, we will lose to TSUN. Heck I am not sure if we can beat Purdue, Maryland, and MSU if we keep getting under 100 yds. of rushing and hoping Dwayne Haskins can bail us out.

  14. if things dont improve and NOW, davis and grinch need to go bye-bye..yes today missing THAT much to injuries hurt but the linebacker situation has been going on for 2 years now–it’s just mind-boggling that a horrible offense like minnesota can gash up that many big plays on our defense–it’s sickening and disheartening and some is on the players for sure and much is on the coahes……same for the o-line–worst we’ve head in years and regressing…the coaching losses of Warriner, Fickell, and Coombs are being felt, along with early departures in the secondary…lack of run blocking is sickening..this team needs to get pissed and the coaching fundamentals get going NOW or next week could even be bad, let alone against MSU and scUM..i still believe in this team but HAVE to improve starting NOW

    1. THIS ^

      I would just add that it will be refreshing watching Greg Schiano on the Rutgers sidelines next season, and the Buckeyes bring in a DC who understands how to teach fundamental position skills, tackling, and the purpose of urgency.

      Greg, Greg and Davis for certain must go if Urban actually gives a damn about his players and his Coaching legacy.

  15. I went to the Skull Session at 10AM and Johnnie Dixon spoke for the team. He said the team is pissed off because they have yet to play their best game. I wonder if they will be able to put it all together on offense and defense in one game this year. Next week at Purdue at night will be interesting to say the least. I understand they have a very good freshman wide receiver.

    1. Minnesota entered this game as one of THE worst offenses in all of college football. LOL, their BEST offensive stat was that they were the 91st ranked offensive efficiency team in the land. A walk on QB starting in front of a freshman running back, and a dumpster fire of an offensive line, with exactly 1 somewhat above average receiver. The ONLY reason they didn’t beat the Buckeyes was that their youth shot themselves in the foot.

      Blough is licking his chops for his chance next week to take a huge dump on the Buckeye back 7. For the Buckeyes to win, someone is going to have to find Urban an offensive line to give Dwayne, Mike, and JK room and time to operate. Maybe a final of 56 – 52 in that game. Last team with the ball wins.

  16. Urban’s pressers should be funny to watch this week.

    The Buckeyes have exactly a passing game and a defensive line. The offensive line is weak, lazy and pretty much useless. They are going to end up getting Dwayne, Mike Weber and JK Dobbins seriously injured with their worsening clown show. The linebacker position is the worst coached in all of Div. 1A college football, and probably worse than have of Div. 2. Safety play is reactive rather than attacking.

    ALL that talent on the roster being wasted by lousy incompetent coaching. Urban MUST deal with that sobering problem/crisis in the off season. The guys on the roster deserve far better than they’re getting.

    I already know sunshine pumpers…..a win is a win. Except when it’s not.

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