Ryan Day Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is on the hot seat more than probably any collegiate coach that has won 87.5% of his games over a four-year tenure.

But as Day admits, that’s the nature of the beast of coaching the Buckeyes. The expectations are clear: Beat Michigan and then win the Big Ten and a national championship.

Day has yet to hit the trifecta in Columbus. Worse, he lost to Michigan in back-to-back seasons, the first coach to earn that dubious distinction since Jon Cooper in the late 1990s.

Day is gearing up for a pivotal season and recently appeared on the Always College Football Show to discuss recent changes with host Greg McElroy.

In it, Day sent a clear message to defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, whom he poached from Oklahoma State and signed to a two-million-dollar-per-year contract.

Knowles’ defense performed well before collapsing against Michigan and Georgia when it mattered most.

“Well, it starts on defense,” Day told McElroy. “Coming out of those last couple of games I know everybody on the defensive side of the ball – there was a lot of progress made there – but the way it ended, you know, it left a sour taste in everybody’s mouth.

“That’s something we’ve looked at hard and tried to identify the areas (that we fell short). Certainly, the explosive plays were the ones that jumped off the screen. Jim Knowles will be in the second year, and it’s significant because we really didn’t lose much on that side of the ball.

“We have a lot coming back, a lot of experience. We’ve added some new pieces in the transfer portal. We don’t do a lot of that, but I think we’ve added some nice pieces there. A lot of experience on the defensive side of the ball. In year one, you’re learning what to do. In year two and year three, you’re learning how and why. I think that will matter. We’re gonna have to win some games on defense this year.”

If the Buckeyes can win games with their defense, that will certainly go a long way in restoring the hopes of championship football 5in Columbus.

[Always College Football]