The Buckeyes played well, quarterback Jon Bauserman impressed and the Ohio State defense was stout in the season opener.
“I think that probably the best thing that we did is that we played sound,” said Fickell. “We had a game-plan. We executed, but to see that you played nine, ten, eleven guys up front is always something that we want to make sure we continue to do because that’s where the game is won.”
The defense surrendered just 90 yards, with only 35 rushing yards. The effort was powered by the ferocity of the defensive line, which had every intention of putting the past behind them.
"It felt good to not have to listen to what everyone else was saying about us," said freshman DT Michael Bennett, who notched one sack in the opener. "And just show them what we could do."
Fickell claims the success up front on defense, which racked up a combined five sacks, stems from the assortment of talent up-and-down their depth chart.
“When you got enough guys up there – because they’re getting knocked around and banged around – you can keep them to a limited number,” said Fickell. “Obviously, they’re at times going to have to play more plays, but when you can have the depth to have eight to nine guys play up front, I think you got a great chance.”
The Buckeyes will look to carry their success into this week’s matchup against Toledo, who racked up a whopping total of 591 yards, with 287 of those yards coming via run. Fickell believes this will be a good test for his defense up front considering that Toledo has a very good offensive line.
“They've got guys all over the field that can make plays, tail backs wide receivers and quarterback,” said Fickell. “But the thing you don't talk about is them up front. I think that's where it starts for them. They have athletes that move the ball around.”