The Defense – Confidence Level 9
When was the last time the Ohio State defense was championship-level? The 2019 Ohio State Buckeyes defense was pretty good, led by first-round talents like Chase Young and Jeff Okudah. But that 2019 team lacked depth, which rose to the surface in 2020 and 2021 when there were more holes on that side of the ball than swiss cheese.
In stepped Jim Knowles, and for the most part, his 2022 defense looked much improved. That was until the final two games of the season when once again the big play was the defense’s undoing.
Now the defense has a different buzz about them heading into Knowles’ second season as the “head coach” of that side of the ball. It is well documented that wherever Knowles has gone, his defenses have improved dramatically from the first to second year under his system. Now the Buckeyes look to do the same in 2022.
Indiana’s offense is an enigma. They have had a quarterback competition of their own this offseason, not to mention they have had a huge influx of transfer portal talent, coupled with some key contributors returning from injury from last year’s squad. As Brandon Dubich from The LEO Podcast highlighted in my interview with him during a recent podcast, this Indiana team is even a mystery to their fanbase.
Despite the Hoosier mystery, I am extremely confident in this Ohio State defense. They are now experienced, two deep at most positions, and poised to return to championship form.