After two alarming performances in back-to-back weeks against Wisconsin and Northwestern, Ohio State’s secondary—which was supposed to be the team’s strength on defense—is Urban Meyer’s biggest concern.
The week off has given Meyer an opportunity to address the Buckeyes’ surprisingly ineffective pass defense, and he’s hoping to get things patched up for the second half of Ohio State’s regular season.
According to Zack Meisel of The Plain Dealer, Meyer explained that some of the Buckeyes’ issues stem from a concerted effort to limit their opponents’ rushing attacks.
We made a conscious decision to stop the run. As a result, sometimes you leave people on islands and you don’t have the same focus on the back end. That’s who we are. We’ve won a lot of games doing it and now we have to improve the other end. We’re working, as a staff, very hard on it.
The numbers certainly support Ohio State’s slanted defensive strategy.
The Buckeyes have been stout against the run, ranking No. 7 in the country while holding teams to just 86 rushing yards per game. Ohio State has been good against its best competition, holding Wisconsin 246 yards under its season rushing average while keeping Northwestern 171 yards under its usual 265-yard clip.
The numbers against the pass swing wildly in the opposite direction.
Ohio State is No. 76 in the country defending the pass, giving up 240 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Wisconsin’s Joel Stave threw for a career-high…