Ohio State football: The Rushmen are coming

The Ohio State football team is ready to unleash the rushmen package and they might have the best package ever this season.

Picture this: It’s the sixth game of the 2016 season. The Ohio State football team has fought back and lead Wisconsin by 7 in overtime. The Badgers have a fourth and goal from the OSU four-yard line and the Buckeyes have inserted their Rushmen package into the game.

As quarterback Alex Hornibrook receives the shotgun snap, Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis, Jalyn Holmes, and Joey Bosa explode off the ball and collapse the pocket. Hornibrook can only pump fake before being buried and setting off a Buckeye celebration.

 

Picture this: it is a critical moment in a game during the 2021 season. Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson sends out his latest version of the Rushmen. Future first-round draft pick Zach Harrison lines up at one end with Tyreke Smith at the other. True freshman phenoms Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau man the interior positions. At the snap, all four explode off the ball and collapse the pocket.

Sound like a plausible scenario? It looks like the Rushmen are making a return to the Ohio State defense this year. Sawyer and Tuimoloau have been seen lining up just the way I described. Harrison, Smith, and Javontae Jean-Baptiste (read my article on him here) provide Johnson with a trio of ends to choose from.

While the combination you see at the beginning of the season may not be the one that ends it, I’m intrigued by Tuimoloau being placed inside. Reports coming out of camp say Buckeye offensive linemen have had a hard time blocking him.

You’re probably thinking, “Then, why not move him outside in this package?” Here is why: while quality edge rushers are coveted, quality interior pass rushers are REALLY coveted. Destroying the pocket from up the middle causes all kinds of issues for a quarterback. He rarely has any place to go when this happens.

Have you ever watched Aaron Donald from the Rams? He is next to impossible to block and constantly disrupts quarterbacks from the inside. This is what I’m hoping for from Tuimoloau. Blow up pockets from the inside and be a constant disruption. Create situations where the offense has to assign him an extra blocker.

I’ll be happy with any of the Rushmen being a disruption, but if you can do it up the middle, it creates a mess of problems for an offense wanting to throw the ball.

The Rushmen are returning Ohio State football fans. Let’s hope they create a mess of problems for opposing offenses and give quarterbacks sleepless nights. I’m excited about a lot of things with this Ohio State team. The return of the Rushmen is very near the top of my list.