Game Observations: Ohio State Defense vs. Indiana

Ryan Day knows the defense has room to grow, but he's not riding an emotional roller coaster while watching them compete.
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Let's get one thing straight right off the top ... Ryan Day is exactly the kind of coach Buckeye fans should be proud to have leading their team.

Ohio State allowed nearly 500 passing yards and five touchdowns on Saturday against some really talented players. Coach Day certainly didn't go back in the locker room and start scrolling through an angry mob on social media, but I'm sure he's aware that he would be asked about how the defense struggled at times on Saturday. Indiana had four plays that went for more than 50 yards, including two touchdowns.

But in his typical fashion, Day exuded a sense of calm in his post-game press conference. He never called anyone out individually for making mistakes. He praised Shaun Wade's pick-6. He pointed out some really big stops they made in critical moments.

He sets the perfect tone.

The fact is, giving up 500 passing yards isn't acceptable - especially for a team that's trying to win a national championship. Everyone knows that, including the guys in the locker room.

"There are probably things that are repeating," Day said. "But teams attack you differently and we have to get it fixed. We need to identify what's going on. Any time you have a problem like that, it's one of three things: do you have the right personnel there? ... What is the scheme? Does that scheme give our guys the opportunity to be successful? And then if both of those boxes are checked, it goes to coaching. Are we coaching it correctly? When you're trying to fix something, you have to identify one of those three things.

"We'll figure out what needs to get addressed - it may be a little bit of each. But that's what Sunday's are for. And if you look at the first half, it's not like we're not capable of doing it. There was some really good football being played there for a good chunk of this game."

I think his message was right on point.

It's easy to get caught up in the fact that they gave up some huge plays and let Indiana back in the game. But there's a lot more to focus on that was promising. The Hoosiers were so ineffective running the football they literally stopped trying. Part of that was probably them finding success through the air, but the Buckeyes held Indiana to -1 rushing yard for the entire game.

I thought Josh Proctor, Baron Browning and Pete Werner played extremely well. The linebacking corps continues to be the backbone of the defense and the Buckeyes have fantastic leadership there.

Tommy Togiai played well again, despite only registering one tackle. Jonathon Cooper provided a great, consistent pass rush. Browning and Harrison each recovered fumbles and Wade had a pick-6 ... hard to be too mad about a 3-takeaway day against a Top 10 team in the country.

It wasn't perfect. Nothing about this season has been perfect. But that's the beauty of what this team is going through. It's a heck of a lot easier to learn from mistakes when they don't cost you the game. Considering all of the sacrifices the team has made to get to this point, watching them learn and go through have ups and downs is what being a fan is all about. It makes the taste of victory that much sweeter.


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