Young chatters to motivate Buckeyes

Rob Oller

The glass-half-full perspective on Chase Young getting double-teamed this season is that it gives the Ohio State defensive end one more person to talk to.

Young, who on Tuesday was named to the Associated Press preseason All-America first team, spews words like a fire hose gushing water. One of seven Buckeyes captains, the junior is a nonstop flurry of nouns, verbs and adjectives. Sometimes he talks to encourage. Sometimes he talks to correct. Sometimes he jabbers just to jabber.

“Chase talks,” teammate K.J. Hill said, smiling. “He’s just a talker. Half the time he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Young explained his motives and technique this way: “I’m trying to do a lot more encouraging, not yelling.”

Pause, as he thinks.

“I think I can yell with encouragement.”

It’s all in the delivery, right?

Young creates conversation among others, too. Ohio State opponents discuss him in great detail, the topic centering on, “What to do about Chase?”

Part of what to do is double-team him.

Just as Joey and Nick Bosa drew double teams as Buckeyes, Young will, too. As a sophomore in 2014, Joey Bosa had 13.5 sacks. Facing more double teams as a junior, his sack total dropped to five in 2015 (he also played three fewer games).

Expect Young to be pressed to match his 9.5 sack total of 2018 because he has become a marked defender.

How the defense adjusts to its best defensive player facing two against one will determine how well Ohio State pressures the quarterback, which in turn will affect how well the secondary does its job.

“We’re prepared for it. He’s prepared for it,” defensive line coach Larry Johnson said. “It turns (other) guys loose, which is why our inside guys have to be really good pass rushers. We’ve been working on that since the end of last season. If they double Chase, it turns Jashon (Cornell) or BB (Robert Landers) loose and we’ve got one-on-one inside. I’ll take that all day.”

Johnson corrected himself. Not if but when they double Young.

“It’s going to happen. It happens to all the great ones,” he said.

Young figures he’ll see double teams early, but they will decrease as Jonathon Cooper and Tyreke Smith, who will both see time at the other defensive end spot, get freed up to rush the quarterback.

“It might happen the first few games, but after we get Tyreke off the edge and Coop off the edge — if they double-team me and Tyreke and Coop go off — they’ll have to play it true,” Young said.

Back to Young’s constant chirping. He considers it his job as a vocal leader to make sure teammates bring energy to practice and reach their goals in games.

If he sees them slipping?

“I try to (remind) them of it,” he said. “You have to go at certain guys certain ways. It’s not really yelling. Just pull them to the side and talk to them, being cool and relaxed.”

Every team needs a player like Young, just as every team needs a player like safety Jordan Fuller, a captain who speaks less often than Young but is equally effective. Some players feel more comfortable sharing their struggles with an excellent listener.

Not that Young won't listen, but he has a specific job to do. It’s a long season. Motors run low. Young refuels them with gallons of motivating words. As for those called upon to double-team him? Good luck keeping him off the quarterback. Better luck tuning him out.


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