The Ohio State Buckeyes saw three defensive linemen drafted in the first round this year and, through one game at least, seem as strong as ever at that position.
Although Ohio State’s defense had a number of breakdowns Saturday in a season-opening 77-31 victory against Oregon State, it would be hard to fault the pass rush. The Buckeyes compiled five sacks for a loss of 43 yards and hit the quarterbacks three more times.
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Defensive end Nick Bosa earned most of the headlines with one of the best performances in the nation: two sacks, two fumble recoveries and a touchdown. However, defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones was just as dominant.
“I think Nick and Dre’Mont played very, very well,” defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “When you look at their performance it was kind of off the charts, right?”
In his 24th career start, the redshirt junior Jones proved why he should be a high draft pick in 2019.
“The fact that I can play in the National Football League is a huge motivational factor,” Jones said. “The fact that I could have played last year but I decided to come back and better myself, it motivates me every day.”
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When Ohio State’s defensive line is hot, Jones said, no one can block them. The depth of the line means players will have a hard time building big numbers, but compiling sacks and tackles is a goal for Jones.
“Every time I’m out there, I’m out there to prove a point,” Jones said. “I’m not out there for no reason. It’s all about production, getting those stats, building my name for my future, for my family, for this team. That’s what it’s all about.”
Meyer’s return: The Buckeyes held a practice with head coach Urban Meyer on the job for the first time since the spring on Tuesday.
According to the players, it was the same, old Meyer on the turf field outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
“It felt different because it was really hot today,” defensive end Jonathan Cooper said. “That was the only thing.”
“He brought good energy,” wide receiver K.J. Hill said. “It wasn’t nothing special. He just did his role like he always does.”
“It felt good,” running back Mike Weber said. “It was like he never left. He was the same. His head was forward. He didn’t bring none of that stuff up. His job was to coach, and that’s what he did today.”
Right message: Weber, who rushed for a career-high 186 yards in the opener, thought of heading to the NFL last season when he saw J.K. Dobbins seize the starting job. An offseason conversation with Meyer changed his mind.
“He was just telling me I had to come in and compete,” Weber said. “Anywhere I go, I’m going to have to compete. If I go to the NFL, I’m going to have to compete. That’s all I want. I just want a chance to compete. He told me with J.T. (Barrett) not being here, there’s going to be a lot more load on the running backs. That’s what I wanted to hear. I got a chance to compete and an opportunity to get the ball, that’s all I need.”