COLUMBUS — As Ryan Day examined what went wrong after Ohio State’s 35-28 loss to Oregon on Saturday, he said, “There will be a lot of second guessing. There always is after a loss.”
Maybe he was just being diplomatic. Or maybe he still has some things to learn about Ohio State football fans in his third season as the Buckeyes’ head football coach.
At Ohio State, the second guessing starts when the Buckeyes fall behind by more than one touchdown.
Saturday, OSU fell behind and kept falling behind. An early touchdown put Oregon up 7-0. That lead grew to 21-7. Ohio State got to within seven points three times after that but never could quite get over the top.
There was much to second guess but the favorite target was the Buckeyes’ defense.
Several times it looked like it was having as much difficulty tracking Oregon’s receivers and running backs as radar has trying to locate the stealth bomber that did a flyover above Ohio Stadium during the national anthem.
Day said it wasn’t all the defense’s fault. “There’s enough blame to go around,” he said.
But the last three times Ohio State has been on the field, its defense has given up 505 yards to Oregon, 408 yards to Minnesota and 52 points and 623 yards against Alabama in the national championship game.
So, it is only natural that the defense leads the way in the blame game. And the point man taking much of that criticism is defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs.
Coombs, a former Ohio State defensive backs coach, had never been a coordinator before Day hired him away from the Tennessee Titans before last season.
There have been questions about personnel, schemes and Coombs’ coaching last year and this year.
Asked about that criticism after the loss to Oregon, Coombs said, “My response is that I’m responsible. I’m not blaming players. Our standard on defense is a standard of excellence. I have to do a better job.
“I’m disappointed. I hate losing. I hate it with a passion. You don’t come to Ohio State to get beat. You don’t come to Ohio State to get beat in The Shoe, so I’m disappointed,” he said.
“I will own all of it. I can assure you we will get better. I don’t think there is any question we have to do things differently going forward. Obviously the result today is not acceptable. We have to do things better.”
Day also talked about studying what changes might be needed on defense.
“You have to ask yourself is it personnel, it it scheme or is it coaching?” he said. “If it’s the scheme, we have to get it fixed. If it’s coaching, we have to do better. If it’s the personnel, we have to make some changes.”