An accident led to a defensive tackle position being open and Jalyn Holmes accidentally volunteered to move inside. It is no accident that the talented player took to the position like a pro and graded out as a champion
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Defensive end and now defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes may never speak up and volunteer for something again. When fellow linemate Dre'mont Jones went down to a freak locker room injury, Holmes spoke up to defensive line coach Larry Johnson and before he knew it he made the move inside on the line for the Buckeyes in Jones' place.
"They really didn't call on me, I just offered my services. Whatever they need me to do, I will do it," Holmes said. "I noticed that Dre'mont was down and just told them that if they need me to do it, I will be here first thing in the morning just to learn it."
Holmes noticed that his position coach was looking a little down and tried to pick up his spirits a little bit. That is when the comment about potentially sliding down came up.
"I was just saying it to make him feel a little better but he took me seriously and the next day I was in there," Holmes said.
Obviously, the experiment did not go too poorly. Holmes graded out as a champion for the Buckeyes against Rutgers and will be playing the same position this week against Maryland. Holmes joked that it is not any sort of permanent move and he is just keeping the spot warm for Jones who should be cleared to go by the Nebraska game.
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But in those first moments when Johnson and the Ohio State defensive staff took Jones up on his offer, there may have been a little bit of worry that set into Holmes' mind.
"I went home and called my dad and was like, 'I don't know what I am going to do, that is big boys down there, that is 600 pounds that you are dealing with' and he told me to just put my faith in God and I prayed on everything and prepared myself the best way I could and it worked out," Holmes said.
Tracy Sprinkle saw a lot of things out of the accidental defensive tackle.
"He picked up on a lot of things. He and coach Johnson worked a little bit extra and he picked up things really quick," Sprinkle said. "He is looking good."
Holmes has played inside before as part of the Rushmen package but that is obviously in pass rushing situations and first and second down don't always mean that. What is different for Holmes in those situations?
"Double teams, stuff is happening a lot faster," Holmes added. "I am there on third down so it is not too unfamiliar for me but first and second downs, stuff happens fast and the guard is bigger and shorter and slower a little bit. Stuff happens a lot faster and you have got to be able to react to it."
"I would have done whatever they told me to do"
Johnson agreed that working with Holmes on the blocks was a major point of emphasis but looking at the tape after the game showed a lot of promise.
"The thing we had to teach him was how to play the blocks because he does not see that, he is always rushing," Johnson said. "I thought watching the videotape, he did a great job. First time going in there to be able to do the adjustment that he had to make and playing 3-technique, I thought it was a great job. I am really pleased that he played really well for us."
And all of this was with next to no notice or training time.
"I felt like I did a good job," Holmes said. "I felt like I left a lot of plays out there but at first I was nervous because I had never done it before and I took over the job on Wednesday, so I had really only two days to really get myself prepared for it. I think I did a good job."
He admitted that he even went to Ohio State's offensive guards to get pointers to try and give himself the deepest depth of knowledge going into the game and try and get some sort of advantage.
And if the coaches would have asked Holmes to play a different position any another point of his career? It sure sounds like he would have attacked that challenge the same way he attacked this one with a desire to please his coaches and teammates and get out there and win some games.
"I would have done whatever they told me to do," Holmes said. "If they told me to move to left tackle I would have just learned how to do it. I really think that I am surrounded by a lot of good coaching and teammates and when you are surrounded by that it is not hard to play any position."