COLUMBUS — Ohio State now knows for sure that the biggest change that it could possibly make on defense won’t be happening.
Nick Bosa isn’t walking back through that door to provide an enormous boost to the pass rush, which would have a spillover impact for the rest of the defense as a whole. The superstar junior was that good, that important and that much of a difference-maker before his core-muscle injury, and his absence will continue to be felt moving forward for the reigning Big Ten champions.
But now the Buckeyes must really knuckle down if they’re going to defend that title in December, because the signs of weakness haven’t completely vanished even with some positives to point to in last week’s win over Minnesota. And with an explosive Purdue offense on deck, there’s really no time to waste.
“There’s constant evaluation of that,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “It’s ever-changing with personnel, when the guys get dinged and hurt. And like last week, we were out five starters on the majority of the game on defense. It’s hard to drastically change right now.
“But We held them without scoring for the better part of three quarters, and had three turnovers and three sacks. I see what you see, as well. We expect them to be snuffed out. But this will be a big challenge this week with everything [Purdue does], that’s what we do all day is just constant evaluation.”
Every unit for the Silver Bullets will be under the microscope, but it’s the defensive line that might be under the most scrutiny now that it’s clear Nick Bosa intends to withdraw from school and won’t be chasing a national championship ring.
Ohio State is expected to get Jonathon Cooper back at defensive end this week, and if Chase Young continues his development on the other side, the Rushmen may be able to pick up some slack up front. But that still leaves some issues at linebacker and the secondary for the Buckeyes to dive into, which is the focus of the latest BuckIQ.
Former Ohio State linebacker Zach Boren returned to the Lettermen Row film lab to look at a few of the issues that caused problems for the defense last week. Some of them are familiar, and Boren weighed in with a suggestions for tweaking the coverage and the alignment of the linebackers, two areas which could be crucial against Purdue.
Roll the tape!
Like the Elite Program shirt Zach Boren was wearing for BuckIQ? Check out the Lettermen Row Equipment Room for that and more branded gear.