Southern California players watching defensive film on the Ohio State Buckeyes notice Nick Bosa first.
“Anyone will tell you he’s probably the best defensive player they have,” USC tight end Tyler Petite said Wednesday in a press conference at the Omni Dallas Hotel two days before the Cotton Bowl.
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However, what jumps out about Ohio State’s defense as a whole, Petite said, isn’t only the talent but the effort. The No. 8 Trojans will face a group that ranks eighth in the nation in total defense (292.3 yards per game).
“With a lot of teams in college football, you have teams that have really good players that technique-wise are great and athletically are really good, but sometimes effort is lacking a little bit,” Petite said, “especially as you get deeper into the season and your regimen changes. You’re trying to let your body heal while staying in shape. It’s hard to balance the two sometimes. These guys, along with the technique and the skill, they just play hard. Maybe they make up for some errors in technique with effort. They will be a really good test for our offensive line.”
The Trojans are familiar with Bosa, a sophomore defensive end, because they know of his brother Joey, now in his second season with the Los Angeles Chargers.
“Athletically, they’re pretty similar,” Petite said. “Body-type wise, they’re really similar. If you put a picture of them side by side in Ohio State uniforms, I don’t know if you’d be able to tell a difference. They’re obviously both great players. Nick’s going to be a NFL-caliber guy who’s probably already getting looked at right now.”