COLUMBUS, Ohio — Defensive line coach Larry Johnson and members of the defensive line met with the media on Thursday following the Buckeyes’ fall camp practice No. 13.
Johnson and his linemen discussed the rotation and the development of the players. Here are the highlights as well as clips from the interview sessions.
+ Tyleik Williams has gone through the process. “I like where he’s at right now.” But he’s going to keep growing.
+ The biggest challenge on the defensive line is keeping everybody healthy.
+ Mike Hall Jr. is in great shape and is in the best shape he’s ever been in as far as explosiveness and running to the ball.
+ He has challenged the players to be part of a unit that does everything special, to become “the best unit in college football.” He wants the defensive linemen to put everything together, four guys. “We are a unit, we have to stop the run together and rush the passer.”
+ Mitchell Melton is working hard. He is splitting time at defensive end and jack, so it’s a bonus. But where they use him the most depends on the packages.
+ On the defensive line rotation and his philosophy, Johnson said it depends on the game, number of plays, and factors in the game. Right now is the evaluation period and he doesn’t know if it will be 5-6 guys, but it depends on their development. He would like to see all of the starters on the field all of the time, but that risks injury as the plays add up. They want to rotate to stay fresh, but that will be determined.
+ Jack Sawyer has done a good job of taking care of himself. He looks lean and got his body right in the offseason. He is happier at defensive end than the jack position.
+ Kenyatta Jackson “is one with the brotherhood.” They push each other to get better.
+ The defensive line is dangerous. There’s still a lot to improve on but they trust Coach Johnson to get them up to their R2X standard here at Ohio State.
+ All of the quarterbacks are great competitors. They are the last ones to leave the building. They are competing and working hard.
+ On who has the most sacks, Tiumoloau said “R2X.”
+ Just hearing Mike Hall Jr. at practice makes him want to go harder. Hall is the heart of the line and is the vocal leader. He keeps them all on their toes.
+ On his improvement, Tuimoloau said his first step has evolved and improved on a lot since his first year. He is getting faster with the first step. He is also working on his leadership.
+ The line is working hard, they communicate well, and all love each other. They are tight and close off the field, and treat each other like family. “I think it’s going to be a great year.”
+ The offensive line is getting better everyday and is making everything a lot harder for the defensive line. It makes them all better when the offensive line pushes them.
+ On preparing for the jack role, Melton said he worked on “reckless rushing” in high school as a linebacker when they moved him up to the line. It was similar to what he is doing now where he is bursting off to get the quarterback.
+ He is focused on getting 1 percent better each day.
+ It’s hard to come in right away on the defensive line and put up numbers. Now he is getting better each day and before he knows it, he will look up and the production will be there.
+ He feels comfortable and happy at defensive end. “It has been good being back at defensive end.”
+ The mindset of the defensive line is that they are going to win games on the defense this year. They don’t want to leave it up to the offense to score 40-50 points, but if they do then that will be great too.
Photo via Ohio State Buckeyes.