Schiano fi xes defense in person
Just after Army marched 99 yards to its only touchdown Saturday, Ohio State defenders reported there was no panic within the ranks.
There was a sense of urgency in the second quarter to correct some things, though, and it was supplied by the presence of a new entity on the sideline, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.
“He brings a lot of juice and energy to the defense, and we love it,” defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle said.
One thing Schiano did immediately after that drive was tighten some bolts, especially in the way the Buckeyes were playing on the inside. It went a long way toward turning a close game early into a 38-7 win.
Fullback Darnell Woolfolk had been a major factor on that long drive, which wound up accounting for two-thirds of Army’s 273 total yards. But once the Buckeyes neutralized that threat, the Black Knights couldn’t sustain things on the wings with their triple-option offense.
Defensive end Sam Hubbard said Schiano’s input was key, and not just on the sideline but in what he conveyed in getting the defense ready during the week.
“I know for this game it was great having him down there because (while coach at Rutgers) he’s played Army, Navy or Air Force like 15 times,” Hubbard said. “He’s had a lot of experience (against the triple option) and just knows what they’re going to do. Having him able to talk to us in person was really helpful.”
The scheme was part of the secret, too. Ohio State deployed most of the game in a defense that featured four linemen to handle the gaps inside, two linebackers to key on quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw and Woolfolk, and five defensive backs — usually three safeties in Damon Webb, Jordan Fuller and Erick Smith — to handle the edges and the occasional pass but also creep up and play as linebackers, too.
“It was the ultimate assignment football,” Webb said. “Everybody just played unselfish and read their keys.”
What also turned out to be key was the play of redshirt freshman linebacker Tuf Borland. He entered for the first time near the end of Army’s 99-yard drive when starter Chris Worley suffered what coach Urban Meyer said was a foot injury after a legal cut block. Borland played the rest of the game, usually flanked by Jerome Baker.
“Tuf played fantastic,” Meyer said.
He led the Buckeyes with 12 tackles, including one for loss.
“I knew Worley and 'Bake' were going to play some, and I knew I was going to be rotating in, but I didn’t know my role was going to be to that extent,” Borland said. “But I’m just thankful for the opportunity to help us get another win.”
Linebacker Tuf Borland came in to relieve the injured Chris Worley and registered 12 tackles for the Buckeyes, including this one of Army backup quarterback Luke Langdon.