The Buckeyes defensive line have been having issues getting to the quarterback this year with only seven sacks to show so far. That 1.4 per game mark is 112th in the country, falling from last year’s 2.62 per game that was good for 34th.
The Buckeyes have not been concerned with the lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and it seems to be somewhat by design with defensive coordinator Jim Knowles’ new approach this year. The main goal for the team has been to avoid giving up big chunk plays.
“Winning third down, winning fourth down, and limiting explosive plays. That’s the most important thing. So, we seem to be on a good track with that. And we want to we want to keep that up. Everybody loves a lot of sacks. So do I. I think when I was younger, I was probably driven more by that… But the bottom line is eliminate the explosive plays, win on third and fourth down. So that’s what we have to continue to focus on.”
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson said he’s not concerned about it either, saying their time is going to come to get those counting stats. It has been tough for them to accumulate because quarterbacks are getting rid of the ball so quickly.
“The ball is coming out fast, 0.6-0.7 (seconds). There’s no way you can get there,” he said. “So, all we have to do is create pressure, push the guy into the quarterback. Now hands up, see what happens. I’ve been very pleased.
J.T. Tuimoloau recorded 1.5 sacks against Maryland last week, his first of the season, which he said was nice to finally get. Knowles called him a complete player, saying he doesn’t need to get sacks to have an effect on the game, he has been changing offenses plans all year with his presence and pressure.
Knowles said he wants to get Caden Curry more time on defense, so they are still trying to find the best combination and times to have players on the field, but with the new plan to limit explosive plays, and the fact that they have been able to do that so successfully this year, it’s hard to say the line hasn’t been doing their job.
The Buckeyes haven’t allowed a single play for more than 40 yards, and they are third in the country with only 10.2 points per game allowed. Until the lack of sacks come back to bite them, which it could with the bulk of the Big Ten schedule coming up, the Buckeyes don’t seem to be worried.