Jim Knowles Ohio State Buckeyes Defensive Coordinator

Jim Knowles Leaving JT Tuimoloau Alone, Adding Plans For Sonny Styles, More

COLUMBUS — Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles met with the media on Wednesday to answer questions about his defense. The Buckeyes have the No. 3 scoring defense in the nation, but there was more to talk about than just that. Knowles covered a gamut of topics on the afternoon. The highlights of everything he had to say can be found below.

  • How have the linebackers been playing? “I think they’re playing well.” Everybody can play better. They are managing things well.
  • Jack Sawyer is doing everything they ask him to do. He is strong at the point of attack. He is one of 11 and they can count on him.
  • Why is JT Tuimoloau so good against the run? It’s strength combined with athleticism. He can defeat any block at the point of attack, but he’s also athletic enough to maneuver in the trenches. And he’s football smart. He’s a complete player. Do you need to find more ways to use him or just leave him alone? “Leave him alone.” They can do other things with him but he is performing well what they’re asking.
  • Caden Curry is a guy who you notice. He plays with his hair on fire. He plays above his measurables. He’s just one of those guys that will fly around. It makes a difference. It’s a great change of pace against an offense. What’s a good number of snaps for him? As many as you can. You have to go with the flow of the game and what they’re seeing. There’s no exact number.
  • Sonny Styles did well in man coverage. There are some tough matchups in the slot, but he was right there, so was Jordan Hancock. Just have to continue to coach where to shoot your hands and body position. He’s a weapon as a blitzer. Always looking for new ways to use him in ways that will surprise the offense.
  • What’s the difference for Tyleik Williams this year? Being healthy, having a larger number of snaps. That allows him to use his athletic ability for the defense. He is also seeing the play before it happens now.
  • Why isn’t CJ Hicks playing? Great kid, excellent athletic ability. They are getting a lot of veteran production and knowledge from the people in front of him. He’s learning every day.
  • What they’re getting out of Sonny Styles is much of what he envisioned in the spring, but they have dialed back what they’re asking of him this season. They like him at the nickel/Sam and he’s productive. He’s about 80% of what Knowles envisions the fully realized package from Styles to look like by the end of the year.
  • Any concern about defensive linemen playing too many snaps? No, they need to win every game that they play. They need to make sure their best players are in the game when they need to be.
  • CJ Hicks is ready to play if they need him. Cody Simon as well. Simon continues to earn more reps.
  • Kenyatta Jackson is ready to go and can play as much as they need him.
  • How did it feel to only call seven blitzes in 47 drop backs? “It felt right.” His change has been happening since the last game last year.
  • They checked to the Sonny Styles blitz on third down against Maryland based on a look they got from the Terp offense.
  • Hudson Card has a strong arm. Impressive arm. Makes all the throws. Athletic enough to scramble and hurt you. Not sure they’ll face another scrambler like the one they faced last week, but he moves well.
  • They contained what had been an explosive Maryland offense. So the concepts worked “for the most part.” There’s always something to fix and get better at. They executed the game plan well enough to win defensively.
  • The defense adjusted well against Maryland. “We fixed our issues.” They moved to some different concepts that they had in their pocket. “Those things that you sometimes save for the second half…”
  • Purdue’s offense does well on third down. They take a lot of shots down the field. They’ve had some turnovers that have hurt them. They have good offensive concepts.

Go to discussion...