COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State has hired defensive coordinator Jim Knowles away from Oklahoma State.
Buckeyes coach Ryan Day announced that Knowles will take over as defensive coordinator on Jan. 2. Day said Ohio State (12-2) will continue preparations for the Rose Bowl with the current staff intact.
“What is most important at this time is that we put our players in the best position possible to finish this season with a win in the Rose Bowl,” Day said. “To that end, we will continue our planning and preparation for the game with our current staff of 10 assistant coaches.”
The 56-year-old Knowles was a finalist for the Broyles Award, which recognizes the nation’s top assistant coach, after the No. 9 Cowboys finished as the third best in the country in total defense (278.4 yards per game) and in the top 10 in several defensive categories.
The Oklahoma defense improved in each of Knowles’ four years as coordinator.
The Ohio State defense has been inconsistent, leading Day to demote coordinator Kerry Coombs and put secondary coach Matt Barnes in charge of calling defensive plays after the 35-28 loss to Oregon in the second game of the season. The Buckeyes defense is ranked 50th in the FBS, allowing an average of 365.4 yards per game.
In Ohio State’s 42-27 loss to Michigan on Nov. 27, the Wolverines rushed for nearly 300 yards and piled up a total of 487.
The No. 7 Buckeyes face No. 10 Utah in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.
One of the Ohio State assistants will have to be let go to make room for Knowles on the staff.