COLUMBUS, Ohio — The similarities always have been obvious to everybody else, but Nick Bosa saw something in the spring that made him a believer as well.
The Ohio State defensive end sent his practice footage directly to the guy he’s trying to emulate, letting Joey Bosa decide for himself and offer a second opinion.
“I mean, this spring, I just felt like my pass rush was going crazy,” Nick Bosa said. “I just kept sending him clips, and I thought I was starting to look like him. He was pretty impressed.
“It’s funny because now he’s sending me stuff from his camp and he’s dominating, too.”
The spring videos weren’t the first clips the Fabulous Bosa Boys have shared with each other, and they won’t be the last for two brothers who try to FaceTime every day. Keeping tabs on each other via practice field video has perhaps become even more important to them than watching live games.
The younger brother has been too busy to watch games because practices on Sundays left him unable to tune in for the San Diego Chargers most of last season. The older brother occasionally is able to catch his old program on television on Saturdays at the team hotel, though that’s not always a guarantee as he prepares for work the next day in the NFL.
But for a pair of defensive linemen who have famously embraced the grind of workouts and sweat the small technique stuff, the reps when the rest of the world isn’t watching are more valuable. Those are the snaps they want to watch, break down and compare. That film-sharing arrangement serves a dual purpose — keeping the brothers in contact and putting an extra set of eyes on their pass-rush moves.
“He sends me videos of his practice tape almost every day,” Joey Bosa said. “If he has a good day or whatever. I mean, he’s so good and he’s learning so much on his own just by experience and by practicing that he hardly needs any advice.
“I’m always cheering for him, and there’s really not a competition between us. I want him to do better than I ever did. If he could come out and have 25 sacks this year, I hope to God he can. I’m always cheering for him, and he’s always cheering for me. It’s really not a competition.”
The two had a good-natured battle going on to see who would finish with more sacks last season, a competition that Joey won. He was quick to point out his edge in snaps as a rookie for the Chargers. That was a factor, as was the rotation that Nick was a part of with the Buckeyes.
He also noted that he topped his little brother’s 5 sacks when he was a freshman at Ohio State. Joey had 7.5.
The Buckeyes are deep at defensive end and Nick Bosa still won’t be an every-down lineman, thanks to position coach Larry Johnson’s belief in keeping his unit fresh. But he’s still poised for a Bosa-type breakout like Joey had during his sophomore season, in no small part because Nick hasn’t been limited in the offseason by an injury.
“Remember last year, he didn’t really practice much at the tempo that he needed to get him ready because of the ACL injury he suffered in high school,” Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said. “But he’s ridiculous right now. That name is really good right now.
“We need some more Bosas.”
Ohio State will have to settle for having one at a time.
In some ways, though, Joey is continuing to have an impact even from the West Coast when he tags in with some help when practice ends and Johnson is off the clock.
“When [Nick] arrived, he had a little more skill set, and he got some things early that Joey didn’t get,” Johnson said. “The things that Joey had and shared with Nick, and Nick coming to camp and hanging out with me for a while and getting that information, he walked in the door really physically strong and you knew he could handle that part. It was just a matter of his knee coming around.
“And I think with Joey, he’s a confirmation of what we’re doing. What he’s doing in the NFL is a confirmation of what we’re doing at Ohio State, so when they talk, they’re talking the same language. Joey understands because he got that pass-rush part at Ohio State, and he’s sharing it with Nick. I think that’s so critical. That’s good stuff.”
The payoff could be coming in the hunt for a national championship if the Bosa currently at Ohio State can continue that eerie impression of his older brother. If he does, keeping him on the sideline could be a challenge no matter how well Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes are playing for that vaunted, veteran line.
It all starts on the practice field, though, and there always will be a Bosa waiting to download some film to make sure that work is getting done.
“I think he had a great year [as a freshman], obviously,” Joey said. “There was a lot to build on, and he has a lot of great players around him. So once he gets his shot, he’s got to take advantage of it.
“I’m always cheering for him and hoping he exceeds mine and everybody else’s expectations. If he can end up being a top-three pick in the NFL, that’s a great life for both of us.”
That’s a high standard to pass on from one brother to another. But if Nick Bosa is starting to see the possibilities, NFL scouts might be the next ones clamoring to get their hands on that practice footage.