COLUMBUS — Larry Johnson has never been shy about deploying a rotation on the Ohio State defensive line. But it’s probably never been easier than what he’ll be able to do this season.
The Buckeyes will never need to have a tired defensive tackle on the field. The competition for a starting job is going to be fierce, but ultimately might not matter. And few teams anywhere could roll through as many high-level recruits as the Rushmen will on the interior of the unit.
Of course, those pass-rushing threats on the edge aren’t too shabby, either. But with Ohio State building from the inside out, the amount of talent stockpiled there on the roster right now borders on ridiculous — and sets the table for what could be the strongest group in the country this season.
“You can never have too many,” Johnson said. “I mean, you’re one play down and the next guy is up. I’ve never felt that we could have too many, and we’ve got a plan to play all those guys.
“It’s a long game, and we average about 75 plays a game. So, if a guy gets 20 plays, each one of them — some might play 35, you never know — I’m not going to say we’ve got too many. I like where we are right now, to be honest with you.”
Spring camp made it easy to see why the Buckeyes are so confident up front right now, and there’s really nothing Johnson could even pretend to complain about with what he has returning this season.
Figuring out the best way to use all of those weapons can be a bit of a challenge, of course. But that’s a good problem to have for any coach, especially one who has such a solid mix of experienced veterans like Davon Hamilton, Robert Landers and Jashon Cornell to pair with rising stars in Haskell Garrett, Tommy Togiai and Taron Vincent.
How do all the pieces fit together? What is allowing the younger guys to emerge into key contributors? What’s it like to play in that Rushmen rotation for Larry Johnson? Former Ohio State defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle returned to the Lettermen Row film lab to dive into all of that and take a closer look at the talented trio on the rise in the latest episode of BuckIQ.
Roll the tape!