COLUMBUS, Ohio — You may remember Ohio State’s third-down ‘Rushmen’ package from last year, in which Joey Bosa would slide inside to defensive tackle to give the Buckeyes three defensive ends — arguably their most talent-rich position — on the field at once.
Not ringing any bells? Just imagine opposing quarterbacks running for their lives while being chased down by Bosa, Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard.
Someone else will have to step up into that inside defensive end role, and the Buckeyes believe they have the perfect person to do so. The loss of Bosa is a huge blow for the Buckeyes, but it’s also an opportunity for a talented player to find his way onto the field.
Insert Jalyn Holmes, the 6-foot-5, 274-pound junior defensive end out of Norfolk, Va.
“Jalyn can do that,” defensive line coach Larry Johnson said. “Jalyn can pop inside and do the same thing.
Holmes has had an interesting career at Ohio State thus far. He played as a true freshman in 2014 — even seeing time in the CFP National Championship — but has been just outside of a starting spot in 2015 and 2016 thanks to the combination of Bosa, Hubbard and Lewis. Still, Johnson views Holmes as a starter-caliber player, and this move is a way to get him on the field and give him more opportunities to prove himself at one of the Buckeyes’ deepest positions.
His self-described role is to ‘bring the outside to the inside,’ instead of playing like a defensive tackle. The Buckeyes believe that package gets their four best defensive linemen on the field, and the results last year indicated that opposing offensive lines often can’t handle the speed of three defensive ends attacking simultaneously.
Although he’d prefer to be lined up on the outside, Holmes jumped at the opportunity to get on the field and wreak havoc on third down.
“He gave me that role and I’m just trying to embrace it the best way I can and become the best at it,” Holmes said. “I love it and have fun with it. I try to make the best out of any situation. I love it and I’m embracing the role.”
After all, it’s his chance to prove he belongs on the outside.