Defensive line fulfills 'pick up slack' demand

Tim May
Ohio State defensive end Jonathon Cooper sacks Tulane's Jonathan Banks in the second quarter. The Buckeyes made 14 tackles for loss, including four sacks. [Eric Albrecht/Dispatch]

Chase Young said he, Jashon Cornell and the rest of Ohio State's defensive ends and linemen know the score.

They know they’re one man down — make that one preseason All-American down in defensive end Nick Bosa. And it’s for an indefinite time after Bosa underwent surgery Thursday to mend a sports hernia suffered a week ago against TCU. But defensive line coach Larry Johnson had them prepared.

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“Coach Johnson always has a method, ‘Next man up,’” Young said after a 49-6 win Saturday over Tulane. “I think we played pretty good today. Now the focus is on Penn State.”

And Young added, “I did try to pick up the slack, I tried to be unblockable, as every defensive lineman does. Obviously, with Nick down, we know we’ve got to pick up the slack. All the coaches are telling me, ‘We need you. Pick up the slack for Nick. There can’t be a dropoff.’

“I’m playing with a bigger chip on my shoulder than I ever have. And going into Penn State, I might have an even bigger chip on my shoulder.”

On to Penn State — that was pretty much the mindset after the game. “On to a team where the quarterback is more of a passer than a runner” was probably what Young, Cornell, Jonathon Cooper, defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones and the rest of the linemen were thinking.

The Tulane game was hardly about establishing a pass rush. Under an option offense run by quarterback Jonathan Banks, the Green Wave passed just 16 times. In the first half as Ohio State built a 42-6 lead, the Buckeyes put a clamp on the Tulane offense with the exception of one forgettable possession when a couple of penalties kept Tulane’s only scoring drive afloat.

The Buckeyes made 14 tackles for loss. Four ended up being sacks in the disjointed second half as backup linebackers Keandre Jones, Dante Booker and Baron Browning got one each, and so did freshman defensive end Tyler Friday.

“I think from a defensive-line standpoint, you want a team that passes the ball 50 times because you want the sacks,” Young said. “Then again, you can’t be selfish. But I think when they did throw the ball, we beat our man. They just got the ball out fast.”

Penn State, with playmaking quarterback Trace McSorley, will offer a more conventional and capable challenge.

“I’ve just got to go into the game with a different mindset than I had for Tulane, and raise the bar again,” Young said.


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