Ohio State coach Ryan Day appears open to a lot of changes to fix his team's defense.
Day said Tuesday at his weekly news conference that the team was "going to look at everything" to improve a defense that has given up a lot of yards to start the season. The No. 9 Buckeyes (1-1) have allowed over 200 yards rushing in each of their first two games of the season and gave up 505 total yards in a 35-28 loss to No. 4 Oregon on Saturday.
"Yes, he’s still the defensive coordinator," Day said. "But we’re going to look at everything and we’re going to seep working towards Tulsa and figure out how the staff is working together, how the scheme works together and then we’ll go from there."
Buckeyes allowed over 300 yards passing per game in 2020
Ohio State brought back five starters on a defense that really struggled against the pass in 2020. The Buckeyes allowed over 300 yards passing per game in 2020 and opposing quarterbacks completed over 69% of their passes.
The pass defense has given up less than 450 yards over the first two games of 2021 against Minnesota and the Ducks. But it hasn't looked great at times. And more worryingly for Ohio State, the run defense has regressed. The Buckeyes gave up fewer than 100 yards rushing per game a season ago and have allowed 472 yards in two games in 2021.
"Took a long hard look the last 48 hours at everything that’s going on and certainly going to make some adjustments here and not only of how we’re attacking other offenses and just structurally, how we’re doing our day-to-day operations," Day said.
Coombs is in his second season as Ohio State's defensive coordinator after he coached cornerbacks for the Tennessee Titans for two seasons. He replaced Jeff Hafley as the team's coordinator after Hafley left for the head-coaching job at Boston College. In 2019, Hafley's last at Ohio State, the Buckeyes gave up fewer than 14 points per game. That number ballooned to nearly 26 points per game in 2020 as Ohio State lost in the national championship game to Alabama.
The Buckeyes play Tulsa in Week 3 before their last non-conference game of the season in Week 4 against Akron. Ohio State is favored by four touchdowns against the Golden Hurricane and an improved performance from the defense is likely going to be necessary to cover that 26.5-point spread.