To say Ohio State’s offense was ahead of the defense last year would be an understatement.
A massive one, in fact.
After the scoring unit suffered heavy losses to the NFL and the guys on the other side were presented with a nearly all new coaching staff, the two sides are said to be having a competitive preseason camp so far.
Among the things that stood out to head coach Ryan Day during the team’s first big scrimmage on Saturday were turnovers.
Before grading the film, he cited interceptions as a factor in determining the defense carried the day, leading to an inevitable question: Is that a good sign for the revamped defense or reason to worry about an inexperienced quarterback room?
“Defense is being really opportunistic,” Day said. “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.”
Being better ballhawks could go a long way toward the Ohio State defense being more effective this season than last when the Buckeyes ranked 59th nationally and ninth in the country with 11 interceptions.
With a shift toward more zone coverage, there is an expectation OSU will pick off more passes this season, but turnovers are an even bigger negative for a quarterback than they are a positive for a defense so Day is having to temper his reactions now that he is in charge of the whole team after serving as quarterbacks coach the last two years.
“As the head coach now, you've got to kind of wear both hats and feel that out,” Day said. “There’s an interception, was it just a bad read, bad pass or was it just a really good play on defense? I think that's what you have to look at.
“Anytime you're competing and you've got two sides going after each other, there's going to be some carnage in there, and you've just got to kind of sort through it and make corrections where you need to and then enhance it on the other side.”
>>READ MORE of Day’s takeaways from the scrimmage
He hopes committing some turnovers in a game situation provided a good learning experience for the quarterbacks.
“What happens when you play quarterback in practice there's no real ramifications for throwing it late in the down, throwing it downfield,” Day said. “If a play is made, it's made. If not, it's the next play in practice. But when you're in scrimmage, you're in the game we obviously know it could be detrimental the whole game. What we tried to create that environment today, and hopefully some learning lessons there.”
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