Nick Bosa came to Ohio State with more expectations than any other player on the Buckeye roster. After 19 career games, he is also living up to his expectations as well as anybody on the roster as well.
Last season as a true freshman, Bosa immediately worked his way into a four-man rotation with Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, and Jalyn Holmes. He finished second on the team with 5.0 sacks and sixth with 7.0 tackles for loss.
This season, however, he is leading the Big Ten with 10 tackles for loss and is fifth in the conference with 4.0 sacks.
This is despite splitting time with three — and sometimes four or five — other defensive ends.
“He’s playing very well,” said defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. “I think our expectation level is very high for him. Number one, he’s an incredible athlete in his own right. And number two, he’s following his brother, who was an incredible player. So I think the expectation level was high and I think he’s fulfilling them.”
Bosa had a strip sack last week that led to OSU’s first defensive touchdown. His explanation of the play in the video below shows you that when you’re good, you’re good.
So yeah, right now Nick Bosa is playing at a level that is pretty rare for anyone but your average Bosa.
Even though he is receiving more attention than he was a year ago, he simply shrugs it off as Bosas are wont to do.
“I’m not sure if I’m the only one who’s playing well and the only one who’s getting attention,” he said. “I mean, I’ll have a good game, then [Tyquan Lews] will have a good game and then Sam [Hubbard] and so on, we’ll all have good games. So it’s pretty good if one of us gets double teamed because then someone else can make the play.”
Ohio State’s talent and depth up front makes double teaming any defensive end a pick-your-poison situation. Add OSU’s constant rotation up front, and you have a situation with fresh pass rushers facing one-on-one situations all game long.
Bosa sometimes thinks about what his numbers would look like without so much rotating, but he knows it’s all done with the proper purpose in mind.
“I do. But we’ll see next year,” he said. “I think I’m in pretty good shape where I could play 40+ full speed, but if you’re on the field for an extended period of time, then yeah [you can wear down].”
With the Buckeyes losing Lewis and Holmes, and likely Hubbard, after this season, Bosa will be tasked with leading a brand new group of defensive ends. That’s why it is so important to continue to improve his game this year.
“We just keep challenging him around here,” Schiano said. “If it’s going well, enhance it. Just keep making it better. And that’s the challenge to Nick right now, it’s how good can he get. And that’s what we challenge him to do.”