Jim Knowles Ohio State Buckeyes Defensive Coordinator

Jim Knowles Preparing For Talented Penn State Offense

COLUMBUS — Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles met with reporters on Wednesday to preview Saturday’s top-10 matchup with undefeated Penn State. Knowles discussed several players on his defense, the problems presented by Penn State’s offense, and much more. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.

  • Knowles is confident in freshman CB Jermaine Mathews. “He’s got a lot of guts. He’s got a lot of moxie.”
  • Have you noticed Ryan Day being more fiery this year? Every team is different and requires different ways to motivate them. You can get after veterans harder. You can challenge them more. “Coach Day is always fiery since I’ve known him. He understands that practice is what makes us better.”
  • What is wrong with being a bend-don’t-break defense in your mind? “I don’t know, I just don’t like the way it sounds.” How does he describe this defense? “One that prevents points. That’s our job.”
  • On the Penn State offensive line? Notre Dame was pretty good. Penn State is just as good. They’re really big with veteran players. They adjust well.
  • What is challenging about an offense that grinds it out without big plays? Their time of possession is awesome. They have the most red zone plays in the country. You have to find ways to get them off schedule. You get them behind the sticks, then win the third-down situations. If you win on third down, it’s like stealing a possession.
  • Cody Simon and Steele Chambers are neck and neck. Simon can play both linebacker positions. He’s earned the time. He brings an added dimension in the run game because he’s more of a Mike linebacker type. Steele Chambers brings stronger athleticism and can cover in space.
  • They’ll have both packages ready in terms of playing three linebackers or having Sonny as a Sam. They’ll always have both.
  • You have to challenge receivers in the intermediate areas this week and put pressure on the QB if you’re going to create turnovers.
  • What are you seeing from Penn State’s rushing attack? “I don’t look at the statistics but I look at the video. It’s impressive. They’re hard running. Their 1-2 tandem. They bounce plays. The film shows that they’re really good.”
  • From the first day he arrived on campus, Knowles knew Jermaine Mathews would be able to contribute this year. He’s competitive, and he showed that right away.
  • Kayden McDonald has been getting praise from the scout team coaches on offense. He seems to be a real force inside. He plays with a high motor. He’s got a chance to push into the lineup.
  • How much freedom does JT Tuimoloau have to experiment during games? “We like to let JT play because he’s going to be a guy who comes up with the big play and big moments.” But there are calls where he needs to do what is asked rather than freelance.
  • “Jack Sawyer’s always been there, man. He’s been close.” They’ve faced QBs who get the balls out quickly. Just one of those things you knew was going to happen.
  • JT Tuimoloau has increased his football intelligence. He’s understanding more about the defense and his role in it and where the ball is coming out.
  • Tyleik Williams simply boils down to reps. The more reps he gets, the better he’ll get. He gets better with more work.
  • “It’s our job to deliver the ball back to the offense as quickly as possible without points.”
  • What sets Tyleik Williams apart right now? He never gets down. Really positive attitude combined with athleticism. He is strong at the point of attack, but his real strength is being able to get off blocks.
  • How do you prepare for a team that could just dink and dunk it on you? Prepare for everything, stop everything. Drew Allar makes good decisions.
  • Jordan Hancock’s versatility is big. he embraced the move to nickel. It’s not as easy to move back and forth and play that nickel position. It started with his willingness. He wanted to learn it and embrace it.
  • Why is Tyleik Williams batting down so many plays? “I wish I was calling that play.” That’s all Tyleik. It’s an effective factor for the defense. He batted one pass on a busted coverage that saved them from a first down.
  • Could Sonny Styles and Jordan Hancock play together? It’s a possibility but you have to pick and choose your moments. How much do you overload them with and how much do you let them play?

Go to discussion...