The best defensive player that the Alabama offense will have to account for is Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa. The consensus All-American from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was a terror throughout the season with 13.5 sacks to go with a significant number of tackles. He isn’t just a pass rush threat; he also plays with solid leverage against the run. According to Senior Bowl director Phil Savage, at least one NFL organization uses Bosa as the standard by which offensive tackles are judged.
OSU’s Joey Bosa might be best DE in country. One NFL org told me they judged every OT in the 2014 #NFLDraft on his performance vs. Bosa.
— Phil Savage (@SeniorBowlPhil) December 20, 2014
Coach Lane Kiffin was directly asked about Bosa and replied, “Very long, strong player. Relentless. Effort player.” He went on to compliment the Ohio State defensive staff for how they utilize him. Kiffin said, “He’s inside. He’s right. He’s left. He’s off the ball. He’s on the ball…what they’ve done with him on defense is kind of what people do on offensive guys.”
The rest of the OSU defensive line also received its fair share of praise. Kiffin described the starting defensive tackles Michael Bennett and Adolphus Washington as “issues because they play so hard and they get off your centers and guards.”
While Kiffin was praising the strength of the OSU defensive line, two members of the Crimson Tide offensive line, guard Arie Kouandjio and tackle Austin Shepherd, expressed excitement for matching up against the talented unit.
Shepherd called the Buckeyes one of the best defensive lines that the Tide has played all season and acknowledged that “it’s going to be a challenge, but we are excited for it.”
Kouandjio echoed Shepherd’s sentiment when prompted about the OSU front, saying that he looked forward to it. He went on about Bosa specifically, saying, “Its great experience being able to play against a guy (Bosa) like that. I look forward to it.”
Given the amount of attention that both the Alabama coaching staff and players are paying to Joey Bosa and his compatriots, the Tide should be well prepared to face the staunchest part of the Ohio State defense.