Jack Sawyer, defensive line and Marvin Harrison Jr. stand out – The Athletic

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Thoughts and observations from an extended viewing of Ohio State’s Eighth Spring Practice, which doubled as Student Appreciation Day.

• We’re still figuring out new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles — how much hyperbole he touches, how much he prefers to keep things close to the vest when speaking with the media. So I wasn’t sure what to make of it when he really filled the defensive line earlier this week.

“This group was aggressive in all areas,” he said. “The way they get off the ball is going to give us an advantage. Our defense is very different as a team compared to 7-on-7. We compete every day against one of the best offenses in the country, so we need that passing rush. And we look very different when we have these guys up front. I was very impressed with this whole group.

He went on to say that 7-on-7 drills can be “extremely frustrating” because CJ Stroud and the Ohio State offense are so hard to defend when there’s no rush for them. slow down, but he also seemed to feel a bit better about the equation once those defensive linemen can become a factor.

For what it’s worth, what we saw on Saturday during extensive team viewing and some offensive line vs. defensive line pass-rush drills confirmed what Knowles said.

The defensive line seemed to be gaining hugely. This doesn’t always translate to a dead play in practice because quarterbacks aren’t live and they have the ability to extend a play even when tagged by a defensive lineman. But when the defensive line was able to go wild on Saturday, the quarterbacks didn’t have much time to sit down and separate Knowles’ back seven.

It was also several guys.