COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State has flaws. Those flaws were apparent in the Buckeyes week one win against Minnesota and were detrimental in OSU’s 35-28 home loss to No. 12 Oregon on Saturday.
Below is a breakdown of those flaws and what the Buckeyes had to say about them after the loss.
Kerry Coombs is on the hot seat
Ohio State was atrocious against the pass in 2020. That could be explained by a shortened, irregular season due to the pandemic as Coombs adjusted to his first year as defensive coordinator. 2021 should’ve been the year Ohio State got things figured out, but they have not and more importantly, Coombs has not.
The Buckeyes got run through by Minnesota’s ground game in the first half and it was even worse against the Ducks. Ohio State allowed more than 250 yards rushing and more than seven yards per carry. That simply cannot happen. The way it happened was two-fold, most notably with Oregon constantly beating Ohio State on the edge and finding wide open space to run on the boundary. Without fail, the Buckeyes crashed hard up front leaving it up to the linebackers and secondary to seal the edge. The problem is Ohio State failed to do so time and time again and Coombs didn’t adjust his strategy even at halftime when the issue was glaring.
As mentioned above, the problem was two fold. The second failure on defense was an inability to guard the middle of the field. And that has everything to do with Ohio State bringing down its safeties to try and defend the boundary. Oregon recognized what the Buckeyes were trying to do and exploited them for it finding consistent success throwing across the middle of the field, which was a big reason why Anthony Brown threw for 236 yards and kept OSU off balance.
Coombs addressed the media after the loss and took full responsibility for Ohio State’s defensive collapse.
“I will take full responsibility for that . . . we’ve got to do a better job of setting the edge on defense,” Coombs said. “I have to do a better job.”
If Coombs doesn’t do a better job soon, he could find himself without a job before the season ends. Ryan Day was visibly upset with Coombs in the first half after OSU was forced to take a timeout after the Buckeyes put too many players on the field when the Ducks were in the red zone.
“When you’re in the heat of the battle, we have to get things addressed and fixed and it’s just kind of how things go,” Day said.
Ohio State’s offense was ‘out of whack’
Ryan Day said that. Ohio State’s head coach said the offense was out of whack despite totaling more than 612 yards. You read that right. Ohio State had 612 yards. But those yards weren’t distributed evenly. The Buckeyes had 484 passing yards and only 128 on the ground. That’s a recipe for predictability, which puts redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud in bad situations when the defense knows what’s coming.
“[The offense] seemed a little out of whack today,” Day said. “That’s something we’ve got to go back on as an offensive staff and get fixed because we want balance . . . when we’re not balanced we’re out of whack.”
Miyan Williams has emerged as Ohio State’s leading rusher while true freshman TreVeyon Henderson shared the carries with him while Master Teague did not record a single carry.
Which Buckeyes are available?
The third biggest concern for Ohio State is losing one of its better defenders in free safety Josh Proctor.
The senior was carted off the field in the third quarter and did not return. He was also injured in the second half against Minnesota and listed as a game-time decision against the Ducks. Day said his injury did not ‘look good’ and an already inexperience defense may get more so heading to week three and beyond.
The good news for OSU is Cam Brown returned and started at cornerback but Sevyn Banks’ availability continues to remain a mystery. Once again Jerron Cage was unavailable at nose tackle putting a majority of the workload on Antwuan Jackson, which hurt Ohio State as the game wore on.
On offense, Luke Wypler once again started at center with Harry Miller unavailable. The Buckeyes didn’t run the ball well and that doesn’t fall squarely on Wypler. it may not even be an issue with Wypler. But it’s worth a closer look at why Ohio State shied away from the run and what it’s going to take to get the offense back to being balanced.
Ohio State returns home next Saturday for a 3:30 game against Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane are 0-2 this season.