Established October 31, 1996
Advertisements Disabled
Advertisements Disabled

More Football

Ozone Links
Larry Johnson, Joey Bosa Like What They're Seeing from OSU Defensive Ends
By Tony Gerdeman
Darius Slade is one of many Buckeye DEs to have a good spring.
Photo by Jim Davidson

COLUMBUS — If Urban Meyer was the kind of coach to stop and smell the roses and you wanted to get him to stop smelling those roses for a while, all you would need to do is mention the lack of production from Ohio State's young defensive linemen a season ago.

Those concerns have now bridged the gap from last year to this year, and if there was one area of the Ohio State football team where questions could be found, it would be the defensive line. Of course, having All-American Joey Bosa back at defensive end and Adolphus Washington at defensive tackle is more than halfway toward having the best defensive line in the nation.

One player who has emerged this spring and could help propel the OSU defensive line to where it needs to be is redshirt sophomore Tyquan Lewis. Lewis played quite a bit as a redshirt freshman a season ago, but it was clear that he was still a young player learning every last rope.

Now, however, things have begun to click for Lewis.

"Tyquan’s the other starting end right now," Bosa told the media on Thursday. "He’s doing an unbelievable job this spring. He’s out there killing it. Going hard every day. We’re all so happily surprised to see him doing that. I’m excited to have another end like that on the other side."

What is it that Lewis brings to a defense?

"Just speed," he said. "He’s physical. He’s just a freak out there."

Sounds promising.

Bosa wasn't the only Buckeye singing Lewis's praises. Left tackle Taylor Decker has already done so, and defensive line coach Larry Johnson has now joined the chorus.

"Tyquan has had a great spring — a really great spring," he said.

"It’s clicked in his mind the kind of player he has to be. He’s playing much faster than he played last year. And I think he understands the defensive concept a little bit more. He’s had a really outstanding spring, he really has."

Aside from third-year players Bosa and Lewis, everybody else at defensive end for the Buckeyes is either a first or second-year player. Youth is not an excuse that anybody wants to be using, which is one of the reasons why so many reps this spring are going to the younger players.

Bosa has spent much of his time working on specialty drills focusing on specific skills that he is looking to improve upon. In his stead, the young defensive ends are getting a much larger number of snaps, and the improvements are tangible.

"Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard, my little protégés, they’re doing great too," Bosa said. "They’re out there working. Sam’s gotten so unbelievably better. He started as a safety, then went to linebacker, then tight end, and we finally got him to his right position. It’s crazy to see how much better he’s gotten too."

"Jalyn has started to be the player that we think he’ll be," Johnson added. "Sam is kind of out of nowhere, but he’s really got a chance to be dynamic also."

There has been plenty of talk about both Holmes and Hubbard this spring. Holmes played as a true freshman last season, with some impressive moments. Hubbard spent the season being talked about by Meyer as if he was the next great Buckeye  defensive end. The one guy that hasn't been talked about much is redshirt freshman Darius Slade, who spent most of his freshman season injured.

"Darius has had a good spring," Johnson said. "He’s been hurt when he first got here, now he’s getting a lot of reps. So we’re hoping that he can add to the depth as we work around here."

The plan this spring was to give the young defensive ends as many reps as possible in hopes that it would help them become the productive and disruptive defensive line depth that every championship team needs.

Obviously, that process is far from over, but it appears to have been a very successful first step.

"We’re really pleased," Johnson said. "And that helps us in the sense that you’ve got a guy at three technique that can rush the passer, you’ve got a guy on the far side, and you’ve got a guy on the back side. Really, who do you double team? And that’s my plan. Hopefully when they double team one we turn somebody loose. So far we’ll have to wait and see, but I like the way we’re going."

* * * * *
To Contribute by mail Make checks and mail to:
Ozone Communications, LLC
1351 King Avenue, Ste 100B
Columbus, Ohio 43212

Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Contribute to the-Ozone.

(c) 1996-2020 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, rebroadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Advertisements Disabled