Ryan Day has made his first big move of the offseason with the hiring of Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. After a tough two-year run on the defensive staff, the Buckeyes are looking to overhaul the unit, which is indicated in this hiring. Leading the No. 3 ranked defense at Oklahoma State, and leading successful turnarounds at Duke and Oklahoma State, he will look to do the same for the Buckeyes.
“I have offered a position on the Ohio State football staff to Oklahoma State University defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and he has accepted it,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said. “Knowles’ official start date will be on Jan. 2 and the Buckeyes will have to make a decision on one of their remaining staff members.”
Over the last four years, Knowles has been responsible for the turnaround of the Oklahoma State defense from allowing 452.5 yards per game in 2018 to 273.6 yards per game in 2021. Knowles also had success as the head coach of Cornell and as the defensive coordinator for Duke. Ohio State gave up 366.7 yards per game this year, but on the back of how 2020 ended and the two letdown performances for the Buckeyes in 2021, a change had to be made.
This seems pretty good:
Under Jim Knowles, OK State finished the regular season No. 1 in defensive EPA, defensive run EPA, sacks per game, TFLs, and 3rd down defense.— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) December 7, 2021
Ryan Day went outside the Ohio State family for this hire, and brings in a defensive coordinator who has been successful at his most recent stops as the architect of multiple turnarounds. His philosophy and schemes are different from what Ohio State currently runs, so it will be interesting to see what direction this defense takes. His prowess of creating pressure through different packages and his ability to coach up the front seven will be especially pleasant news to Buckeye fans everywhere.
Day will still have to make at least one tough decision on the defensive coaching staff, as someone must be let go in order for Knowles to fill his new role. In all likelihood, this won’t be the last move Ohio State makes among its defensive assistants, as this staff as a whole has widely underperformed. However, as far as first steps go, this is an excellent hire for the program, and one that should instill a ton of confidence in Ryan Day doing what he can to put together a better 2022 campaign in Columbus.
And finally, for your OSU-to-OSU meme-ing pleasure: