Ryan Day doesn’t keep score during fall scrimmages, and he didn’t need to in order to know who won the Buckeyes’ first scrimmage of preseason camp on Saturday.
Even though momentum swings back and forth between the offense and defense throughout most practices, it was the defense that maintained control of things on Saturday.
Powered by a disruptive defensive line and an opportunistic back seven, the Buckeye defense made the day a rough one for the Scarlet-clad OSU offense.
According to Day, the first team offense went against the first team defense for around 40 plays. The second teams went a few more plays than that, and the third teams went about 30 plays.
Saturday’s scrimmage consisted of some regular situational football that featured the offense going up and down the field against the defense. They also worked on some third-down situations and some red zones.
Regardless of the matchups or the situations, the defenses were setting the tone.
They were also getting their hands on the football, which is both good and bad depending on the perspective.
“I think our secondary is getting their hands on a lot of balls,” Day said. “We had a couple of pick-sixes out there which was really good today. I think those guys are doing a good job. I want to watch the film and really grade it and see how guys graded out, but we’re going to treat it like a game and see how everybody did in terms of a grade, and then we’ll go from there.
“We had a couple balls on the ground, fumbles-wise, and then I think we had at least two interceptions. Defense is being really opportunistic. Throughout camp they’ve done a great job of getting their hands on balls. Really good. So that’s a positive right there. But on the other side we’ve got to do a better job taking care of it.”
Sophomore linebacker K’Vaughan Pope had one of the pick sixes and sophomore cornerback Sevyn Banks had the other.
This comes just days after the defense came away with four interceptions in a previous practice.
There is a fine line between being excited about a defense doing what Day wants and an offense that is turning the ball over. Film study will let him now exactly how concerned he needs to be about the offense, but he is certainly liking the energy he is seeing from his defense so far.
“A lot of energy out there, guys were fired up,” he said. “Any time you can create a turnover and score it’s huge. Think about the TCU game last year and what that did for that game. So really excited about that. That’s a huge emphasis for us this year, and proud of those guys.
“Those two guys, Sevyn Banks and K’Vaughan Pope, had really good camps. They’ve done really good jobs, and lo and behold they’re starting to make really good plays.”
With how poorly the Ohio State defense played last season, there is good reason for Ryan Day to be happy with what he is seeing from the Silver Bullets.
Despite the excitement about his defense, he was still disappointed in his offense for losing the football as often as they did.
“Very disappointed with the turnovers today, but I think guys were getting after it,” he said. “I think it was physical, I think it was explosive. So again, let’s look at the film and see what it was. It’s never as good or bad as you think, but we certainly can’t turn the ball over like we did today.”