“We want to challenge every throw, and we’ve had some excellent corners around here. I believe we have excellent corners now,” Meyer said Monday.
“(Press man) is obviously something we believe in, and we will continue to believe in it as long as we can,” Meyer said. “But that’s a skill set that’s very difficult that we ask them to do. And we just gotta continue to work to get better. The risk-reward on that, once you get great at that you’re playing great defense now.”
RELATED: Meyer talks about heatlh, running game, etc.
After the game, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano agreed the Buckeyes are continuing to give up too many big plays and put the onus on the coaching staff to fix it.
“Whether it’s (defensive pass interference) or a completed pass — we play press man-to-man around here,” Schiano said Saturday. “When you play press man-to-man, you invite vertical threats. If you cover ‘em, they stop throwing ‘em. If you don’t, they keep throwing ‘em. So we haven’t done a good enough job covering them.”
The task this week — while also preparing for a visit from Minnesota this weekend — is to identify the problems and fix them.
“First is it something we’re teaching, we’re coaching? And then second, can it be improved? Do we have to make a change personnel-wise? There’s a lot of steps,” Schiano said. “We didn’t come out of the Penn State game (a week earlier) feeling like we played great. We made some opportune stops like we did today.”
Recent history offers reasons to stay the course.
With a different quarterback and primary target, Indiana also lit up the Ohio State secondary last season. Despite a 420-yard outburst by the Hoosiers in the season opener, the Buckeyes ended up a respectable 30th in the nation in yards allowed and 13th in pass efficiency defense.
Perhaps even more informative is the 2014 defense that helped Ohio State win the first College Football Playoff.
Those Buckeyes were not exactly a shutdown unit in the playoffs — they gave up 407 yards and 35 points to Alabama and 465 yards and 20 points to Oregon — but they made key plays when necessary, allowing the offense (42.0 points per game) to take care of the rest.
The following spring, then-defensive Luke Fickell told attendees at the annual Ohio State coaches clinic the key to success was not as much related to the specific scheme as it was consistency.
Despite a shaky start to the season, those Buckeyes stayed with what they had been doing and subsequently got better at it. Fickell thought that played a role in individuals such as Centerville’s Michael Bennett finding a new gear in the postseason. That in turn helped the Buckeyes play better team defense late in the year.
Can this Ohio State defense follow the same path?
The most recent game also offered some positives.
Although two of Ohio State’s defensive pass interference penalties occurred in the second half, the Buckeyes allowed only 89 yards and six points.
“We look at everything, overanalyze everything,” Meyer said. “So it’s not as simple as this. It’s a variety of things, but we tried to build on positives, and the positives are that the second half they played outstanding.”
Minnesota at Ohio State, Noon, FS1, 1410