Junior defensive end Nick Bosa has been a star Buckeye player since his first debut at Ohio State. He has lived up to every expectation as a Bosa and has accumulated numerous honors and awards as a Buckeye.
As a sophomore last year, he was named a First-Team All-American and won the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year Award. Both awards were also won by his older brother Joey, also as a sophomore, three years earlier.
But along with the awards and titles, Nick’s success has brought an extra effort by opponents to make changes to combat his abilities on the field.
“He’s playing at a high level…very high level,” OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said on Monday. “He affects — as on offensive coach, you’re going to know where he is all the time.”
Schiano said that every week, teams are finding new ways to slow Bosa down, and they are attempting to change and do things that he won’t notice. Against Rutgers, there was one specific play that demonstrated the efforts by teams to stop him.
“He’s not getting a ton of one-on-ones,” Schiano said. “If you saw Saturday, Rutgers started their tight end out wide and motioned him down and really cracked him once pretty hard. So Nick is going to have to be aware of that. We are going to have to be aware of that because I think it will get more and more creative every week because he is such a special player.”
Bosa said on Wednesday that he was surprised that play wasn’t all over Twitter after the game because he got hit so hard.
“They just had the tight end outside, and I was rushing and I’m looking at the tackle and he just comes and nails me from the outside,” he said. “I’m sure there’s more they can do, but so far it has just been chips.”
As far as stopping this from happening and allowing Bosa to do his job for the Buckeyes, Ohio State has to continue to be dynamic defensively.
“We need to do a good job of moving him around and not just leaving him in one spot because then you can target him, right,” Schiano said. “But if you put your tight end out there to bring him in and all of sudden he’s not there, it gets hard to block him. So we need to help him and he needs to be a little bit more aware. His teammates need to help him. When there’s someone motioning that’s in a position to crack him, we have to let him know because they are doing things special for sure.”
But Schiano said that when facing a player of Bosa’s talents, teams will try to slow him down, make him play off blocks, and distract him. He expects to see more and more of that as the season progresses.
Bosa has made such a name for himself as a defensive end for the Buckeyes that he has even popped up in the Heisman talk. It makes sense, as teams are focusing harder on stopping Bosa and are getting more creative with how they can get him off his game.
But no matter the talent, Schiano doesn’t entertain the Heisman talk as a possibility.
“I’d love to say, yeah, let’s get a defensive player in there, but I think there’s been one in how many years,” Schiano said. “The reality is it’s more of an offensive award because it’s easier to chart. It’s easier to make a big deal of touchdowns and rushing yardage and passing yardage, and I understand that.”
“I don’t think any defensive player’s winning a Heisman,” Bosa agreed on Wednesday.
That hasn’t stopped Bosa from winning awards so far and won’t stop him from winning more down the road later on this season.
“Nick [Bosa] is a dominant player in college football right now for sure,” Schiano said. “There’s awards for that as well.”