Jim Knowles Press Conference

Jim Knowles Talks Notre Dame, Next Steps For Ohio State Defense

COLUMBUS — Ohio State defensive coordinator met with the media on Tuesday for his weekly press conference. He was asked about his defense’s performance this past weekend and what kind of challenges they will be facing on Saturday at Notre Dame. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.

  • Matching up against Notre Dame? You just fight and do everything you can to get better. You emphasize the positives of the last game. You show the challenges of this game. Then you come up with a plan to win.
  • Sam Hartman is smart, efficient, and experienced. When you have a lot of experience as a quarterback it helps you figure things out and get rid of the ball. He has great vision.
  • James Laurinaitis is a wonderful person to have around. A legend at Ohio State who can relate to the players and what they go through on a daily basis. He can be a mentor to the guys because of his age. Then he has the NFL experience. He brings a lot to the table as a coach.
  • How do you figure out when to put Sonny Styles out there? It’s a week to week plan. You want to get the talented guys out there but it’s also about matchups. They knew they were going to face a lot of passing so they stayed in more of a “true nickel.” Jordan Hancock is still a work in progress there but he has the skills. Just needs more snaps.
  • ND RB Audric Estime and the offensive line are a difficult combination to handle. Estime is a strong running back and he works well with the physical ND offensive line. He can get behind that line and can also be elusive. It will be a challenge to play downhill and put their faces in the fan.
  • What did you learn about the OSU secondary against WKU? Learned that they can compete against a high-level passing attack with an NFL QB and NFL WR. It will get harder and harder every week.
  • Do you want to see the DL rotation pared down this week? No, they go with the plan. You want them to be fresh and strong in the fourth quarter.
  • “Such is the dilemma” of knowing when and how much to blitz. You take it play by play and situation by situation. There is no easy answer to that question. If there was, he’d be smoking a cigar right now.
  • The confidence level in the secondary right now? “I’m confident but we won’t stop practicing.”
  • How comfortable is Sonny Styles at spots other than nickel? He’s comfortable at nickel and deep. He’s a smart guy with great football intelligence. They will keep working with him without overloading him.
  • Tyleik Williams just being healthy has been big in his play. He’s extremely athletic.
  • Does the DL have to be felt more as a group of pass rushers than in previous games? “They have to keep doing what they’re doing.” They only had a couple of sacks against WKU but the QB was under duress all the time. Just keep doing what they’re doing up front. Talented, hard-working guys. They want the sacks and the hits, but it’s also about disrupting timing.
  • “I never feel good” about the defense. It’s a constant striving to get better. You emphasize the positives and you build on all of it. They need to continue to get better at the confident approach and controlling the game on defense.
  • Jack Sawyer and JT Tuimoloau are playing excellent. They are talented and coachable. You couldn’t ask for more out of either of them. They do whatever you ask them to do. They fix their mistakes.
  • “I love Chip [Trayanum].” He was looking forward to working with him on defense. He’s a great team guy.
  • Chip Trayanum and Steele Chambers both have physicality and football intelligence. They see the big picture and aren’t just locked into one thing.
  • How much more do you know about Notre Dame’s offense compared to a year ago? You have more film after four games. They are a different offense with different personnel. You look at the QB, the new coaches and their schemes.
  • Sam Hartman is a great decision maker. That’s huge, as is leadership at quarterback. He’s an impressive guy to also be a captain as a transfer.
  • This is a bigger test defending the play-action than in previous weeks. It’s about maintaining keys and discipline, but he’s seen good things from his defense.
  • He’s comfortable putting Mitchell Melton in the game at any point now.

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