What Jim Knowles at Ohio State means for the Buckeye defense – .

What Jim Knowles at Ohio State means for the Buckeye defense – .

After consecutive seasons of defensive weakness, Ohio State has found the man he believes can bring this group back to Silver Bullet level. Tuesday evening, the head coach Ryan day announced that the state of Oklahoma Jim Knowles accepted the position of defensive coordinator with the Buckeyes and will begin Sunday, Jan. 2 when the team’s offseason officially begins.

Knowles, 56, brings 33 years of college coaching experience to the Scarlet and Gray, much of which has been spent training on the defensive end of the ball. The former Philadelphia defensive end also has experience as a head coach, leading his alma mater, Cornell, from 2004 to 2009.

Knowles’ appointment will hopefully take a defense that was just in the country’s top 50 in yards allowed per game and just in the top 25 in scoring defense, despite superior talent and athletes to most opponents. , and get the group back to the levels it was in 2019 under Jeff Hafley.

Before we see how Knowles will proceed, it’s worth pointing out that at least one Ohio State staff member will need to leave the program. Buckeye’s current staff, which has the maximum number of members, are expected to remain intact until the start of the signing period on December 15 and at the Rose Bowl on January 1, but sources told Bucknuts that the defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs or secondary Matt Barnes, who took over Coombs’ calling duties at the start of the 2021 season, possibly both, could be on the verge of disappearing. Knowles will also likely want to bring in coaches he’s used to working with or who match his specific style.

Knowles began his coaching career at Cornell where he was in charge of the defensive line. He also coached running backs and linebackers for the Big Red before leaving for western Michigan. Knowles coached SEC linebackers with Ole Miss and led the ACC defense with Duke.

All of this led Knowles to Mike Gundywith the Cowboys in 2018. Over their four seasons in defense at Stillwater, Knowles’ squad have improved every year, including being one of the top units in the country in 2021, helping to carry an offense. OSU who placed 67th nationally in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The Cowboys finished the regular season third in total defense (278.4 yards per game) and tied for seventh in defensive scorers (16.8 in points allowed per game). His defense was the 12th best in the country against the pass (187.2 yards per game) and the fifth best against the run (91.15 ypg). Oklahoma State finished in the national top 10 in sacks (1st), tackles for loss (1st) and third down defense (2nd).

Knowles’ defensive tenets aren’t that different from what the state of Ohio ruled last year. He typically operates on a 4-2-5 look – a four-down front was a requirement for the Buckeyes’ new defensive coordinator – which has been a hit with the Blue Devils and has helped Stillwater’s defense go down. improve every year. was in charge.

While the start of Knowles’ defense will seem familiar to fans of Scarlet and Gray, there will be several differences.

First, Knowles used what he calls the “Jack” linebacker. While in many similar defensive schemes this Jack is a standing edge player, Knowles likes to move his player around. It also allows Knowles to do different things with his other two linebackers to be better prepared for modern offensive looks.

Who will play linebacker Jack for Ohio State will be determined later, but the Buckeyes have a number of athletic players who could fill the role. While Knowles will need to train the post in his vision, he will have more naturally talented players with Scarlet and Gray than he has in any of his previous stops.

The Bullet position, which finally emerged last season after being brought up the previous two years, will likely always be a part of Knowles’ defense. Will the linebacker be Malcolm Rodriguez is a converted defenseman who has led Oklahoma State with 118 tackles this season, 33 more than the next best defenseman. While Ronnie Hickman, also a mix between safety and linebacker, didn’t register as many tackles (95), he had 41 more strikeouts than next player Scarlet and Gray.

Like some of the best defenses in the state of Ohio under Urban Meyer, Knowles will be aggressive. Not only does he enjoy bringing blitzes from different areas of the pitch, but he generally deploys the media coverage that has helped the Buckeyes produce NFL corners such as Marshon Lattimore, Denzel neighborhood, Eli Pomme and others.

While this style sometimes meant OSU’s defense gave up big plays, it also helped to place fifth in the nation in less plays of 10 yards or more allowed. If the defense is strong there will be success more often than not, especially with the talent of the players Knowles will work with at Ohio State.

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As for Knowles himself, he’s a dedicated worker. As described in a profile with Brandon Marcello of 247Sports, Knowles has a very specific way of starting his preparations each week for the next game:

The start of each game week is the same: Knowles locks himself in his office, turns on the game movie, studies the opponent’s recent games, reassesses the Cowboys’ strengths and weaknesses, and writes down ideas that quickly transform. into a game plan. . He does not argue with his assistants. He’s not asking for a head coach Mike Gundyadvice from. All he has is a notepad, a pen, a few hours of time, unlimited access to the team’s video database and, most importantly, his own thoughts.

Getting Buckeye’s defense back to the level set in Columbus, and helping the Scarlets and Grays match the high levels of offense and thus bring the team back to the Big Ten champions and college football playoffs, won’t be an easy task. Knowles, however, is up for the challenge, as evidenced by the way his Cowboys stopped the Big 12’s top-flight attacks last season, and he will put players on the same page.

“Ten thousand hours,” Knowles told Marcello. “You want to be awesome or an expert at anything, it takes 10,000 hours of work… It took time, it took trial and error and it took the ability to look at myself and change. when I needed to change and admit when we weren’t doing the job and find ways to fix it within a system.


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