The Ohio State football team has a host of new coaches. For the first time in his head coaching career, Ryan Day decided he needed to make some real changes to his coaching staff. He practically cleaned the house on the defensive side of the ball.
These new coaches he hired will determine the path forward for Ohio State’s football program. These coaches will help bring the defense closer to the type of defenses we are used to with the Buckeyes in the past. One hire, however, is Day’s most important hire.
It’s the hiring of Jim Knowles as defensive coordinator. I’ve spoken many times about the importance of him, and the new system he brings with him, to the overall success of this team. Quite simply, the quality of defensive coaching determines whether this team can win a national championship this year.
Even if you look past this year, Knowles is still Day’s most important recruit. His ability to recruit and develop prospects is an indictment of Day as a head coach and his skills in evaluating coaches. If Knowles fails, Day could be considered a failure for hiring him in the first place.
Knowles was the best choice for the job, there is no doubt. He was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given to the best assistant coach in the country. He took a poor defense from Oklahoma State and made it one of the top five defenses by the time he finished there.
If Knowles does the same at Ohio State, Day will be considered a genius for bringing it on. I already think he’s a genius. A better defense would help his street credibility even more around college football.