After an All-American sophomore season, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa didn’t get to do too much on the field in spring practice for the defending national champion Buckeyes. Bosa, along with several other Ohio State veterans, were limited in contact drills due to head coach Urban Meyer’s 2,000-rep club.
Instead, Bosa worked on his individual skillset. Often times it was off to the side with fellow veteran defensive lineman Adolphus Washington. They’d work on pass rushing drills and technique to fine-tune their respective games.
But Bosa also used spring ball to share some of his knowledge with his teammates. And he started to teach his ways to some of Ohio State’s younger defensive linemen.
“Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard, my protégés, they’re doing great,” Bosa said.
Holmes, Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis are expected to contribute to the Buckeyes next fall at the defensive end spot opposite Bosa. If they’re learning from the All-American, Ohio State’s defensive line might not miss a beat.
Lewis, a 6-foot-4 260-pound redshirt sophomore, emerged as the leading candidate to start at the other defensive end spot in spring ball, according to Meyer. He suffered a minor shoulder injury during practice and did not play in the spring game, but should be ready to go when fall camp rolls around.
“(Lewis) is a guy that’s pencilled in to be in the rotation,” Meyer said this spring.
“Last year, we didn’t feel too comfortable with putting some backups in. But this year it’s a completely different feel, we have a bunch of guys ready to go.”– Joey Bosa
“Tyquan is the other starting end right now and he’s doing an unbelievable job,” Bosa added. “Just out there killing it, going hard every day.”
Hubbard is perhaps the defensive player who gets talked about most amongst his fellow players. The 6-foot-5 265-pound redshirt freshman came to Ohio State as a linebacker, then moved to tight end before finally finding a home at defensive end. Meyer said Hubbard, like Lewis, has earned the right to be in the rotation in the fall.
“It’s fun when you got guys around you that are willing to help you,” Hubbard said after the spring game. “Like Joey Bosa, coach (Larry) Johnson and all the old guys really helped me out.”
And at 6-foot-5 265 pounds, Holmes gives the Buckeyes a fourth pass rusher on the defensive line. It certainly seems like a different scenario from a year ago when Meyer was critical of his team’s depth on the defensive line.
“Last year, we didn’t feel too comfortable with putting some backups in,” Bosa said. “But this year it’s a completely different feel, we have a bunch of guys ready to go.”
And a lot of that can be traced back to Bosa’s growth both on and off the field. He’s showing the younger guys the ropes in hopes it translates to on-field success.
If it works, the Buckeyes’ defensive line could be the strength of Ohio State’s defense once again.
“I think the spring has been really good for the D-line,” Bosa said. “We’re working harder than we’ve ever worked before.”