Ohio State needed to revamp its defense this offseason and went after former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles to bring fresh ideas to the locker room. With plenty of talent to work with, he has started the early stages of reshaping the Buckeyes unit into his mold.
During a media session last week, Jim Knowles discussed the trademarks of his defense over the years and how it will show itself to Ohio State fans this fall.
“I think the pursuit – and every defense wants to be great pursuing the football – but I call it smart swarm,” said Knowles. “I think our angles, guys understanding the field, understanding where their help is. It’s an 11-man game, and taking great angles to the football is something I think you can see when you watch a game. There’s a right way and a wrong way to miss a tackle, because you will miss. But if you’re on the right angle, good things can still happen.
“I think the way that a fan or anyone can watch our defense, just be in the right place, understand the plays their getting. I think the way we adjust is a trademark of what we do. If something’s hurting us, we fix it. I think that’s my job, I have to do that. And we have a system, that’s how we’ve build it so we can adjust when we have to adjust.
“Then I like to think of pressure as a trademark of the system. And that’s not necessarily just through blitzing, but it’s also through just making the quarterback take a little extra time to read which gives our guys a chance to rush.”
Jim Knowles on defensive improvement
Knowles has been impressed with what he’s seen from Ohio State as a whole thus far. Now, he wants to see the Buckeyes continue on the track that they have been on.
“I really have just been impressed with our whole process, from Coach Day to Coach Mick,” Knowles said. “We just need to stay the course. Those guys know what they’re doing in terms of how to structure this time of year. Stay the course in that aspect.
“From a defensive perspective, we need to just continue to meet whenever we have the chance individually and groups when we’re allowed. The schedule dictates all that, but we’ll take advantage of every opportunity we have just to have short meetings again to keep things fresh in their mind and maybe grow in some areas that we weren’t able to touch in the spring.”