Ohio State has named the architect of one of the best defenses in college football as its new defensive coordinator.
Jim Knowles, who reached this year’s Broils Award Finals after leading the Oklahoma State defense who ranked third in the nation in yards allowed per game (278.4) and eighth in the Divisional Football League in points allowed per game (16.8) this season, Leave the Cowboys to become the new leader of the Buckeyes defense.
Knowles will officially become Ohio State’s defensive coordinator on January 2. The current Ohio State coaching staff will continue to coach the team through the Rose Bowl.
“I have offered a position on the Ohio State football team to Oklahoma State University defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and he has accepted it. Beginning January 2, Knowles will be the Bucks’ new defensive coordinator,” Ryan Day said Tuesday in a statement. We put our players in the best position possible to finish the season by winning the Rose Bowl. To that end, we will continue to plan and prepare for the match with our current team of 10 assistant coaches.”
At least one member of Ohio State’s current coaching staff will need to leave to open a place for Knowles, but it’s not yet clear who will leave or how the defensive coaching staff will be built around it. While Kerry Combs will no longer be the defensive coordinator, it is possible that he will remain on the staff with a reduced ability.
Knowles, who has been Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator since 2018, may be exactly what the doctor asked for an Ohio State defense who has been struggling since Jeff Havley left the program after the 2019 season. College football for the 2021 season at a school not known for playing elite defense.
The Oklahoma State Defense in 2021 ranks sixth in the state in yards allowed per dash attempt (2.74), 14th nationally in yards allowed per pass attempt (6.26) and second in opposition to a third pass down percentage (25.8%), It is an area where Ohio has struggled constantly this season. The Cowboys also leads the nation in both tackle loss (113) and sacks (54).
Born in Philadelphia, Knowles has more than three decades of coaching experience in Ohio. Knowles began his coaching career at Cornell, his alma mater, where he was an assistant coach from 1988-1996 before returning as head coach from 2004-09. In between, Knowles worked as a defensive line coach and defensive coordinator for Western Michigan from 1997-2002 and as a quarterback coach for the Ole Miss in 2003. Knowles was the defensive coordinator at Duke from 2010-17 before heading to Stillwater in 2018.
Knowles has experience coaching at all levels of defense – he’s been a defensive line coach, quarterback coach, and safety coach – and is known for being an aggressive defensive player. While his 4-2-5 defense at Oklahoma State was similar from a personnel point of view to that conducted at Ohio State in 2021, his defense used a variety of formats and has been consistently more successful this season while playing with mostly three-star recruits. . Compared to Ohio State’s four- and five-star talent.
The Oklahoma State defense did not allow more than three touchdowns in a game during the 2021 season. Oklahoma, the Big 12’s biggest offensive of the season, advanced 441 yards against the Cowboys in the regular season finale, but no other opponent gained more than 374 yards, while holding six opponents under 300 yards.
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