Most college football analysts expect Ohio State to field an explosive offense this year in large part because C.J. Stroud is back for another season. The defense, however, is a bit of an unknown.
Ohio State made a notable change to its coaching staff in January, hiring Jim Knowles as its defensive coordinator. He had the same position at Oklahoma State from 2018 to 2021.
Knowles is replacing Kerry Coombs, who was the defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes for the past two seasons.
So far, the early reviews of Ohio State's defense are encouraging.
Stroud told Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network that Ohio State's new defense has "made him a smarter football player."
The reigning Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year highlighted Ohio State's unpredictability and aggression as the strengths of this year's defense.
Last year, Ohio State gave up 22.8 points per game. Oklahoma State's defense under Knowles, meanwhile, allowed just 18.1 points per game.
If the Buckeyes can play complementary football this fall, they might just be the team to beat.
Ohio State will kick off its season at home against Notre Dame. That should be a great test for the program's new-look defense.