The New-Look Defense
Chris Ash was brought in to be the co-defensive coordinator alongside Luke Fickell, and he's leading a defensive overhaul for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State ranked No. 110 nationally in pass defense last year, allowing 268 yards per game. Ash's aggressive pass defense has the Buckeyes playing press coverage exclusively—as opposed to the zone coverage that gave receivers a 10-yard cushion last season—in hopes of preventing easy completions.
Safety Vonn Bell told Ari Wasserman of The Plain Dealer that there's a noticeable difference in the way Ohio State defends.
"This defense is all about being fearless and playing aggressively," Bell said. "You'll see the difference next year, I can promise you that."
With the spring game Saturday, Buckeyes fans won't have to wait that long.
The Perimeter-Oriented Offense
Ohio State's offense was so successful last year because of how effective the running game was. The Buckeyes averaged 308 rushing yards per game, which ranked fifth in the country.
Running back Carlos Hyde and four senior starters along the offensive line, all of whom were largely responsible for that success, have graduated.
According to Eric Seger of The Lantern, that has Urban Meyer focusing on Ohio State's new offensive strength—perimeter speed:
It’s going to be a different … we’re going to have to lean on some perimeter ways of getting first downs and all that. Where, last year when you rushed for 300 yards a game, it’s because that offensive line. We have other weapons.
The Buckeyes have a bevy of playmakers, highlighted by Dontre Wilson, Devin Smith, Michael Thomas, Corey Smith, Jalin Marshall and Curtis Samuel.
Without Hyde and those seniors in the trenches, Meyer wants to showcase Ohio State's speed.