Following its first loss of the young 2014 season, the Ohio State defense is trying to regroup.
After allowing nine third-down conversions from the Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday, redshirt-sophomore safety Tyvis Powell said Monday that simple mistakes cost the Buckeyes defensively.
“We looked at the tape, reviewed it, everybody else talked about what they needed to work on. We communicated the mental errors,” Powell said. “We went over it yesterday in practice, got it corrected and we are looking forward to the future now.”
Co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash said a lack of execution, especially on third downs, is what led to the defensive struggles.
“Third down, especially in the first quarter, I think we were 0-5 … (Virginia Tech) did a good job, but it was more about our mistakes,” Ash said Monday. “(Third downs were) critical situations outside of first and second down, but situations you work on all the time, you really need to be at your best. We were not at our best Saturday night.”
Ash said he was disappointed his defense could not hold the Hokies at the most critical point in the game after the Buckeye offense tied the game at 21.
“When you talk about momentum changers in a game, it is absolutely a turning point,” Ash said. “The stadium was alive and the team was juiced up on the sidelines … (then) we had a couple mistakes. It was more about us than Virginia Tech and what they did.”
Coach Urban Meyer said Monday he thought the defense was “average” against the Hokies and he expects the Buckeyes to improve on that side of the ball.
“We had a couple third (downs), didn’t get them off the field (on) third down in the first half,” Meyer said. “But for a good 2 1/2 plus quarters, it was a very good defense. It’s not four quarters of defense. I like the direction we’re going, we just need to get there really fast.”
Ash said he believes his defense will be able to make the necessary changes prior to the Buckeyes’ next game against Kent State.
“It is still a new defense to the guys,” Ash said. “Are we discouraged about the game Saturday? Absolutely. Could we have played better in a couple situations to make a difference? Absolutely. Do we still have a chance to be outstanding? I believe so, and we all think so.”
Meyer said because of the loss, there was no victory meal for the first time after a regular-season game since he arrived in Columbus. He added that his players would be given the rest of Monday to be upset before getting back to work Tuesday.
“I can tell they’re hurting,” Meyer said. “So we get to hurt the rest of the day today, and then coaching staff and players need to move forward and try to get our second win.”
The aftermath of the loss and lack of a victory meal is an experience Powell said he doesn’t want to have again.
“It is something that I really didn’t enjoy and something that I cannot get used to,” he said.
The Buckeyes look to rebound Saturday at noon against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Ohio Stadium.