COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — There was a time not so long ago when Ohio State’s defense was one of the most feared, effective and efficient units in the country.
For this season’s second-ranked Buckeyes to contend for a Big Ten, let alone a national title, coach Urban Meyer knows his defenders have to harken back to the not-so-distant past.
”One thing about Ohio State defense, for a decade they were about as good a defense as there was in America,” Meyer said. ”The last two years, it hasn’t been that way. So I’m anxious to get it back there to the Ohio State level.”
The defense was just good enough to get it through an undefeated season in 2012.
It provided the Big Ten defensive player of the year in lineman John Simon and always seemed to come up with a big play when needed.
No one thought it was a bad defense, but the numbers weren’t very good: 360 yards and 23 points a game, including surrendering 512 yards to California, 481 to Indiana and 403 to UAB.
When they host Buffalo on Saturday, the Buckeyes are seeking improvement despite missing eight starters (including suspended starting cornerback Bradley Roby) on that side of the ball.
There’s a lot to accomplish.
”Right now we still have a chip on our shoulder,” said All-Big Ten linebacker Ryan Shazier, one of only three holdover starters. ”Some people don’t feel like we are worthy to be where we are right now (in the rankings). We’re fighting for championships in November right now.
”We plan on being the best in the Big Ten.”
Continue Reading: Despite losses, Ohio State’s D might be better