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Ohio State is training the defense to play beyond the whistle this spring

After back to back losses to end the season, Ohio State is ratcheting up the intensity at spring ball under co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash to make sure the Buckeyes get things fixed on the defensive side of the ball going into 2014.

One of the changes this year is that every time the ball hits the turf, you'll see a defensive player scooping it and running it back 30 yards. Last year a ball on the ground would have meant a dead ball, but playing beyond the whistle is part of the mindset that Ash, Luke Fickell, and the rest of the defensive staff is trying to instill this spring.

The formula for fixing the defensive issues of last season are to be simple, play relentlessly, and execute.

“The way you get great effort and minimize mental errors is simplicity — be simple with your approach and do what you do extremely well, and then you can branch off from there” Ash explained to the Buckeye Dispatch.

Ash and Fickell have decided to simplify things this off season and have put a renewed focus on effort above all else.

"We’re not going to be what I call a ‘guru defense,’ or a junk defense. We’re going to be executers about what we do. We’re going to be about the effort, the fundamentals and consistency."

Effort and assignment football will be keys during Ohio State's opener this fall against Navy's triple option attack in Columbus, so it will be interesting to see the impact that Ash's addition has on the defensive side of the ball.