There is no question the defense of the Ohio State Buckeyes needs much improvement before the 2014 season, especially if the Buckeyes want to compete for a championship.
Things started looking up for the Ohio State defense with the hire of great defensive minds like Larry Johnson from Penn State and Chris Ash from Arkansas, formerly of the Wisconsin Badgers. Under Ash, the 2011 and 2012 Wisconsin defenses ranked 15th nationally in total defense. He then followed former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema to Arkansas where he coached in 2013. Ash wasn’t looking for a new job before he accepted the position at Ohio State. Urban Meyer convinced him otherwise, and he is now the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the Buckeyes. What can Ash do for a struggling Ohio State secondary?
Ohio State’s pass defense was awful in 2013, ranking 110th in passing yards allowed. Their last three games saw the pass defense give up 1,133 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air and included losses to the Michigan State Spartans and Clemson Tigers as well as a near-loss to the lackluster Michigan Wolverines. Ash is the ideal coach to fix their problems. He says his defensive philosophy is to keep it simple and focus on the fundamentals, efforts of the players and the players believing in themselves. He says it’s also about being a good teacher and developing strong relationships with his players while also getting them to trust and respect him. One of Ash’s former players says that Ash is one of those guys who you want to run through a wall for, and others have said that Ash has a work ethic similar to that of Meyer.
The athletic ability and speed that the Ohio State defense already has along with Ash’s coaching style makes him a perfect fit at Ohio State. Ash wants to get the results on the field that the Buckeyes could not get last season, and that could mean great things for the whole team.