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Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa is hoping more sacks are in his future

The sophomore has put plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but has just four sacks this season.

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

“I think I’ve been winning a lot. There’s always room for improvement. I just need to finish plays more, and then I’ll get the recognition I think I deserve. I think I’m playing well. I also think the defense is playing very well.”

-Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa via Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch

Even though his sack total might not exactly show it, Nick Bosa has been a beast on the field for Ohio State this year. The sophomore may have only four sacks on the season, but he is constantly putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Last week against Penn State, Bosa registered nine quarterback pressures according to Pro Football Focus.

In the end all that matters is wins for Ohio State, but Bosa has a little family pride to deal with, as he tries to match what his older brother Joey did at Ohio State. In three years at Ohio State, the older Bosa registered 26 sacks. Nick isn’t likely to match that number, but there are a couple of reasons for that. The younger Bosa not only was recovering from a knee injury when he got to Ohio State, but there also is a lot more depth on the defensive line than when his older brother was in Columbus.

Even though he is just a sophomore, opposing teams are making sure they are accounting for Bosa. Even with the extra attention he is getting, Bosa is still finding his way into the opposing backfields to put pressure on quarterbacks, and that is why he very well could be named an All-American at the end of the year. If Ohio State is able to make it back to the College Football Playoff, the pressure Bosa places on opposing defenses will be a big reason why.

“I think we’re fortunate to have two backs that are good enough to start and be elite players. The freshman has had a great year. Mike is now healthy. If nothing else we’re creating a healthy environment of a competitive team.”

-Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson via Bill Landis, Northeast Ohio Media Group

When things are going bad for Ohio State, it seems like the first area of blame is why they didn’t get the ball to a running back enough. In 2015 in the loss to Michigan State, Ezekiel Elliott didn’t get enough carries. Last year in the loss to Penn State, Curtis Samuel was ignored. On Saturday as the Buckeyes were about to go into halftime trailing the Nittany Lions everybody was wondering why J.K. Dobbins wasn’t getting more carries.

At some points it is understandable why Mike Weber is on the field instead of Dobbins. In the fourth quarter, Ohio State was forced to pass the football more, and Weber saw more reps because he is a better pass blocker. Why Dobbins wasn’t in more as the Buckeyes were trying to erase the deficit before halftime is a little more puzzling.

When asked about the split between time on the field for Weber and Dobbins, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson deferred to running backs coach Tony Alford since he is the one who decides who should be out there. This isn’t taking anything away from Weber either, since he is a tremendous running back, it was just odd to see one of Ohio State’s home run threats on the sidelines when they needed him most.

“Thad Matta’s abrupt dismissal from Ohio State this summer opened up one of the best high-major head coaching jobs in the country late in the offseason and vacated a different head coaching job previously occupied by Matta’s replacement.”

-Sports Illustrated

Change is never easy, but in this case it might have been necessary. Ohio State was slipping further and further from the top of the Big Ten, and if it didn’t happen when it did, it’s likely Thad Matta still didn’t have much time left as head coach at Ohio State. For all he did for the program in Columbus, Matta deserved to leave on his own terms, but an exit like that wasn’t quite meant to be.

At least if Chris Holtmann was going to move from Butler to Ohio State, he has already secured a few wins before the Buckeyes have even taken the court. Not only did Holtmann bring four-star forward Kyle Young, who was previously committed to Butler, with him to Columbus, but three-star shooting guard Musa Jallow reclassified from the class of 2018 to 2017.

Ohio State might not find very many wins this year, but next year, and beyond, the rest of the Big Ten should be on notice. The difference from Matta to Holtmann might not show very much on the court this year, as no matter the head coach Ohio State is likely to struggle, but the recruiting trail in the future is where the biggest difference will be seen. Holtmann has seen a little more success lately on the recruiting trail, and that is why the future is again bright for the Buckeyes.