Jim Knowles has kept memories of the College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Georgia fresh as the Ohio State defense looks to bounce back this season.

“I won’t be over that until we write a new script,” Knowles said in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s the way it should be.”

On paper, Ohio State’s defense improved throughout the season, but in games against Michigan and Georgia last season, the Buckeyes left something to be desired. Knowles said he understands that more is expected.

“You can look at it statistically from someone who didn’t know any of the games or anything that happened,” Knowles said, “and they would say, ‘Oh, you really got better across the board.’ But we’re at Ohio State, and it’s different, and that’s what you sign up for. Got to do a better job.”

No matter how the numbers look, it’s important to keep working, he said.

“This is my profession. You go at it as hard as you can and, yeah, it’s not going to be perfect, but you never admit that to yourself,” he said. “You never take any shortcuts and say, ‘Well, it’s the first year and growing pains (are inevitable).’ No, you just push as hard as you can, get to where you get to, and then you re-evaluate and say, ‘OK, what can I do better?’”

Knowles, 58, is open to change, and said he’s not one of those experienced coaches who are set in his ways.

“You’ve got to be willing to change,” he said. “You’ve got to be willing to grow. You’ve got to be willing to look at things you do. You’ve got to evaluate everything all the time. A lot of guys get older in their career and they (say), ‘This is just the way I do it and I’m going to keep doing it.’ That’s not me. I want to keep growing.”

As for this year’s unit, there’s plenty to be excited about.

“The sky’s the limit,” Knowles said. “I feel like we have all the pieces. We need some things to shake out at the safety position. We need some depth on the D-line to step up. But when you look at it, you say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a shot. We’ve got a shot to be great.’ Now we have to make plays. It looks good on paper, but you have to play.”