I love hearing coaches talk about their players. Baylor’s wide receiver coach did the same for Jalen Hurd. In this case, Ohio State’s defensive line coach Larry Johnson—who is one of the best position coaches in all of football—had some high praise for the San Francisco 49ers first-round pick Nick Bosa. He spoke to the Athletic’s Dave Lombardi at length. Besides the ceiling quote, he also spoke about where Nick can improve.
Where Bosa can improve
In the article, Johnson says that he found 900 pieces of tape to evaluate Bosa. They sat down and watched tape on where Bosa can get better.
One was his hand when he got off the ball. He had a tendency to go elbows out rather than up the field, like a sprinter. He had a tendency to take his arms out wide. And when he did that, his legs followed his arms, so he was going side-to-side as opposed to going vertical up the field. And he was still winning going that way, so it was like, just imagine if we can fix this little thing.
That is some high-level attention to detail right there. It makes you appreciate the type of work these players put in to improve. Here was the second part.
The second piece is to keep his hips on the ground. We didn’t want him to over-torque his hips on his run to the quarterback as he flipped his hips. So we wanted him to sweep the ground so his feet didn’t stop but would be driving to the quarterback, as opposed to getting his outside leg off the ground. He’s a guy who’d do bag drills and flip that outside leg too high up. That means you’re off balance. So we wanted to make sure he sweeped his feet through.
Again, more detail that only happens at the highest levels. Johnson said that “you saw greatness written all over him”, when speaking about Bosa headed into his junior year. He said they were able to fix those two areas he needed to improve during the offseason.
Higher ceiling than Joey
I think (Nick’s) ceiling is higher, to be honest with you. You’ve gotta remember Joey got this technique and style a year later. I came (to Ohio State) when Joey just finished his freshman year (in 2014). So everything I taught sophomore and junior year was just his first time learning all the new movement skills, using his hands, using his hips, learning the whole skillset.
Nick, in his case, he got all of that stuff earlier. He got it senior year of high school, even coming to camp. He spent time with me. So the transition, learning the skillset, was in his hands much earlier. And I think that what you’ll find once Nick gets set in the league, I think he’s going to translate a little bit faster because he has all the skillset that Joey got late, and that’s why I think Joey really took off — because he really had a chance to develop. Where Nick is almost there. Now, it’s just a matter of playing at that higher level when he goes to play in the NFL.
That’s the good stuff right there. Johnson explains the “why” perfect. In the article, he also mentions that Nick used to watch the film with him as a high schooler.
The big takeaway from this is that Bosa is going to work his tail off and critique himself to a level that only allows him to be great. That’s great to hear. Check out the article for more.