By any number of measures, the 2018 Ohio State defense has been well below the usual standard for a Buckeye team.
They allowed 26 points or more in seven of their 13 games. Washington, their opponent in the Rose Bowl, hasn’t allowed more than 24 points in regulation all season.
The Bucks are 79th in the nation against the run by S&P+, 74th against the pass, 72nd in standard downs, 114th in passing downs, and 124th in the country in allowing explosive plays.
It’s been a shocking fall for a unit that’s accustomed to being in the top-10 in virtually all of those categories most years, if not the top-5.
Much of the blame for the struggles has landed on the shoulders of defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.
During his three seasons in charge of the OSU defense, they have seen their points allowed per game increase each year.
In 2016, they allowed an average of just 15.5 points each game. In 2017, it was 19.0. This year, they’re giving up 25.7 points per game.
That’s an extra touchdown and field goal every single week compared to just two seasons ago.
Thursday morning, Schiano met with the media to preview the Rose Bowl, but the conversation quickly turned to his future with the Ohio State program.
He didn’t give a specific answer, but you didn’t have to read too far between the lines to figure out what’s likely to happen after the clock hits zero on New Year’s Day.
Schiano said he has already talked with the team’s next head coach, Ryan Day, about next year.
“I’m going to keep that all private. Ryan and I have discussed a little bit,” Schiano said.
“I love being here. My family loves being here. But, again, anytime there’s a coaching change, whether it’s internal or not, a head coach has to select the staff that he feels gives the team the best chance to win, and whatever Coach Day decides to do, certainly his prerogative,” Schiano said.
He nearly left for Tennessee after the 2017 season before a backlash by Vols fans killed his chance at their head coaching job. He was also reportedly interested in Temple’s head coaching position this offseason.
Schiano said when he came to Ohio State, he didn’t have a specific length of time in mind that he planned to stay.
“When I go take a job, I go take it to be there. And as long as the Lord wants me there and I work as hard as I can at it until it’s time to work to the next thing,” Schiano said.
It’s starting to sound like that next thing may be coming soon.