The Jim Knowles era in Columbus is getting some strong internal reviews. Knowles was hired by head coach Ryan Day as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator in January. The Buckeyes chose not to retain Kerry Coombs after last season.

Tight ends Gee Scott Jr. and Cade Stover delivered some praise for Knowles’ defense after Saturday’s scrimmage. Stover even called Knowles “the smartest mind” he’s encountered on the defensive side of the ball.

Should Ohio State fans be optimistic? The Buckeye defense ranked No. 59 nationally in total defense and No.38 in scoring defense in 2021. That will need to improve if Ohio State wants to return to the College Football Playoff this season.

Moreover, the unit is facing a high-powered offense in practice. Knowles and company are scheming against CJ Stroud, TreVeyon Henderson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Stroud is a legitimate contender for the Heisman Trophy. Both Henderson and Smith-Njigba are two of the better weapons at their respective positions.

We will see what Knowles brings to the table when Ohio State faces off against Notre Dame in Week 1.

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