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Ohio State’s new defensive scheme has Nick Bosa primed for a big sophomore season

An increased emphasis on rushing the quarterback will likely see Bosa improve on the five sacks he registered as a true freshman.

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NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s ridiculous right now. That name is very good right now. Need some more Bosas.”

-Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer on defensive end Nick Bosa via Mitch Stacy, Associated Press

If it was possible, Urban Meyer would love to make a whole defensive line consisting of Bosas. Not only did Joey Bosa make a huge impact at Ohio State, and has impressed in his short time in the NFL, but his younger brother Nick is poised to create chaos in the backfield of opponents for the Buckeyes. While Joey made an almost immediate impact for the Buckeyes as a freshman, it took Nick a little longer because of a torn ACL he suffered during his senior year in high school. Even while dealing with recovery from the knee injury, Bosa still was able to register five sacks for the Buckeyes as a true freshman.

Nick Bosa will also have to deal with a little more competition on the defensive line than his older brother did. With guys like Tyquan Lewis, Jalyn Holmes, and Sam Hubbard at defensive end, snaps will be a little harder to come by for Bosa. While the younger Bosa might not be able to pile up the stats that his older brother did, it doesn’t mean he won’t be able to make as big of an impact for Ohio State. If anything, the rotation Ohio State will employ at defensive end will likely help Bosa since it’ll keep him fresher against offensive linemen who will be worn down from trying to deal with the Buckeyes’ depth on the defensive line.

What has Bosa really excited for this year is the change in scheme the Buckeye defensive line will employ under Greg Schiano. Last year under Luke Fickell, the Buckeye defensive line had to tie up the offensive line to allow for the linebackers to make plays. Under Schiano, the defensive line can now focus more on creating pressure in the backfield. After outstanding production from the defensive line last year, it’s scary they could be even better this year.

“We have some decisions to make. I don’t know the answer to that. We’re going to sit down and talk after tomorrow and formulate a plan.”

-Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano via Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch

With the kickoff to Ohio State’s 2017 season just a week away, there are still a few decisions to make about who will take the field for the Buckeyes. On the defensive side of the football, there are still questions about who will be lining up at safety opposite Damon Webb. The safety battle has been narrowed to Jordan Fuller and Erick Smith, with defensive coordinator Greg Schiano seeing upside with both. Fuller brings size to the table, while Smith has speed that has impressed so far. It is possible that both safeties rotate until one is able to grab a firm hold on the position.

On offense, there is a three-way battle between Matthew Burrell, Branden Bowen, and Malcolm Pridgeon to take the right guard slot which was vacated when Billy Price moved to center. Unlike at safety, a rotation at guard is less than preferred, but offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson didn’t rule out the possibility. Each of the three guards have had moments where they have looked like they would take hold of the job, only to have their competition close the gap. Wilson is hoping the practices leading up to next week’s game will see one of the guards stand out and make the decision for Wilson easier, and if not they’ll entertain the option of a committee at guard.

“Coach (Urban) Meyer always says it’s a rotating program, when guys leave, guys have to step up. If we don’t have anybody that’s of the same talent, if not better, we lose. The guy that’s in that room has to step up, has to make plays, has to be that guy.”

-Ohio State H-back Parris Campbell via Colin Hass-Hill, The Lantern

It is no small task in replacing a player like Curtis Samuel, but Ohio State is hoping Parris Campbell can be that guy. Campbell is a gifted athlete who has impressed since he was a freshman in high school with not only his speed but also with his agility. While many speedsters have mainly straight-line speed, Campbell is able to change directions, which makes him dangerous on the football field when he gets going.

For the most part, Campbell’s career at Ohio State has gotten off to a slow start, hauling in just 13 catches for 121 yards and no touchdowns. One area where Campbell was able to impress was as a kick returner, averaging 27.8 yards per return, which was 11th-best in the country. With Campbell stepping into Samuel’s spot he should be able to get the football in his hands more and showcase the speed which helped to bring him to Ohio State.