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Ryan Day set the bar high for the 2022 Buckeye defense, then Jim Knowles set it higher

Ryan Day expects a top 10 unit on both offense and defense in Columbus. The expectations from new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles for his defensive unit are even higher.

Ryan Day has said it a number of times - 10-2 is a great year at a lot of places around college football.

Ohio State is not one of those places. The expectations are higher in Columbus.

That is especially true on the defensive side of the ball, as the Buckeyes have a new-look defensive staff led by first-year defensive coordinator Jim Knowles after  Day demoted Kerry Coombs and elevated Matt Barnes to defensive play caller early in the 2021 season after a 41-20 win over Tulsa.

Despite having one of the most explosive offenses in college football, the defense last year proved to be their achilles heel, giving up nearly 23 points per game (38th nationally) and finishing 59th in the country in total defense.

Along with Knowles, secondary coach Tim Walton and safeties coach Perry Eliano are new faces to the Buckeyes defensive staff.

Day shared back in late July at Big Ten Media Day that he expects the Buckeyes to field a top 10 unit on both offense and defense of the ball every year.

The Buckeyes did have a three year stretch from 2015-17 where they can claim that, but the unit has fallen short of those expectations outside of that time frame despite churning out top-level NFL talent. 

Today, while talking to media after practice, Knowles shared that his expectations are even higher than his Day's.

"I wish he said top-five. That's our expectation."

"We talk about having a Silver Bullet defense to mirror the traditions that have been around here and we're talking a top-five and that's what we're pressing for."

"It's great to be at Ohio State because the expectations are high and that's what I have always wanted."