Ohio State hired Jim Knowles as the team’s defensive coordinator on Tuesday, head coach Ryan Day announced.
Knowles had been the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, where his defense ranked No. 3 in total yards per game. A finalist for the Broyles Award, which annually goes to college football’s top assistant coach, Knowles had an excellent defensive unit this season, ranking first in sacks (54), fourth in yards allowed per play, fifth in rush yards allowed per game and 10th in pass yards allowed per game.
Ohio State made the hire official on Tuesday, but Day said Knowles won’t start until after the Rose Bowl game presented by Capital One, on Jan. 2.
“What is most important at this time is that we put our players in the best position possible to finish the 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.”
Day is making a move after previous defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs was relieved of his play-calling duties two games into the season, after the team’s loss to Oregon. Secondary coach Matt Barnes took over play-calling for the remainder of the season.
Ohio State finished the season allowing 366.6 yards per game, which is ranked No. 52 among all FBS programs. The Buckeyes allowed 119.7 rush yards per game and 246.9 pass yards per game, which was ranked No. 98 among all teams.
Hiring Knowles means that one assistant coach will have to be let go to keep Ohio State under the allowed limit for assistant coaches, but Day has not announced where the spot will come from.