Any chance of Ohio State going undefeated this season went out the window last Saturday, as Ryan Day’s squad lost to Oregon at home.
Ohio State was favored entering its matchup with the Ducks, especially since the latter was without linebacker Justin Flowe and defensive end Kayvon Thibodeau. And yet, Oregon found a way to stun the Buckeyes in front of a hostile environment in Columbus.
With that upset loss officially in Ohio State’s rearview mirror, ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit has revealed his main concern for the Buckeyes moving forward.
During the latest edition of the “ESPN College Football Podcast,” Herbstreit admit that he’s worried about Ohio State’s defense. That unit hasn’t been very consistent since losing Jeff Hafley to Boston College.
“The one thing with Ohio State is their defense was a bit of a mystery a year ago,” Herbstreit said, via 247Sports. “Jeff Hafley left to go to Boston College and become the head coach. Kerry Coombs took over. He went with (Mike) Vrabel to Tennessee and came back when Jeff Hafley left to become the Ohio State defensive coordinator. Since Jeff Hafley left, they’ve had some moments where they’ve been good and some other moments where they just don’t look like they’re on the same page. They’ve not appeared to be as dominant as some of those other defenses that they’ve had in the past.”
The Buckeyes struggled to contain Anthony Brown and CJ Verdell this past weekend. Both playmakers for the Ducks had two touchdowns each last Saturday.
Herbstreit gave Ohio State’s offense credit for clawing its way back in the game, but C.J. Stroud’s performance wasn’t enough to lead the team to victory.
Ohio State should be able to bounce back this Saturday against Tulsa. However, all these questions about Kerry Coombs’ defense will remain until that unit steps up against an elite opponent like Penn State.
Buckeyes fans, are you worried about the defense’s outlook for the rest of the 2021 season?