Speaking up

Joey Kaufman
Junior defensive end Chase Young has been encouraged by Ohio State's coaches to take a leadership role. “It's just my time to be vocal now. I'm going to step up to the plate,” he said. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

Some of the familiarity on Ohio State’s defensive line vanished: There is no one left from the Bosa family.

For the first time in seven seasons, neither Joey Bosa nor Nick Bosa holds a spot on the roster.

Without the standout pass rushers, junior defensive end Chase Young assumes a more prominent role entering this season.

The task involves a greater speaking part.

Young pointed to leadership and verbally pushing younger players as top priorities for himself during the Buckeyes’ preseason training camp, which began last week.

In previous seasons, he sat in the shadows of other top upperclassmen, such as Nick Bosa or Sam Hubbard, who later left for the NFL.

“I never had a problem with being vocal,” Young said. “It's just my time to be vocal now. I'm going to step up to the plate.”

The issue was raised with coaches in the lead-up to practices, a focus that was encouraged by both defensive line coach Larry Johnson and coach Ryan Day.

“He's a very likable young man,” Day said. “The guys like him. He has a happy-go-lucky personality. I see more seriousness now. I think he knows this is his time to step up and be a leader. Time goes fast.”

Day recalled a recent conversation with freshmen centering on the lifespan of college careers.

They’re short, so players must emerge as contributors or leaders sooner than later, a point he also believed Young had recognized.

“Seniors always say, ‘Man, this went fast,’ ” Day said. “ ‘I'm just telling you, it's going to go fast.’ I think he understands that. This is a huge year for him.

“Every team that comes together, you only get one year as that team together, then things change. People go on to the NFL, people graduate, coaches leave, whatever. This is our one chance in this year to go be special. I think he realizes that. He's going to take advantage of it this year.”

The approach comes as Young prepares for a campaign that might prove to be his last season with the Buckeyes. He is projected as a first-round NFL draft pick for next year and could bypass his final season of eligibility in 2020.

As Young met with reporters last week after the Buckeyes’ first preseason practice, he declined to address his plans beyond this fall.

Young led Ohio State with 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for losses last season despite lingering ankle injuries.

After an offseason of rehabilitation work, Young reported that his ankles felt “real good” this month.

Most of his other preparations for his junior season centered on on-field work, preparing for a variety of situations along the edge of the defensive line.

“Playing the run, playing the pass, my hands, hips, just regular fundamentals of the game,” Young said.

If anything was the highest priority, it was his initial movement at the line of scrimmage.

“I feel I can get off the ball better,” Young said. “It's a lot of stuff I'm really nitpicky about.”

If another productive season beckons, with a chance to tally double-digit sack totals for the season, Young hopes to move closer toward being considered among the top pass rushers to play at Ohio State, including the Bosa brothers.

“Everybody wants to be the best,” Young said. “You know, that's what I strive for every day.”


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