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Ohio State's Joey Bosa, Michael Bennett to face 'regular' offense

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Greg Bartram/USA Today Sports
Ohio State's Michael Bennett is among the nation's top defensive line prospects.

One of the biggest concerns for Ohio State heading into the season was its secondary, but one week in, the Buckeyes are third nationally in pass defense.

Then again, their first-week opponent was Navy, which employs the triple-option and threw fewer passes (146) than any team in the nation last season. Navy was 2-of-4 for 20 yards in the opener.

"I think we're ranked pretty high in pass defense," Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer joked on Monday during the weekly Big Ten coaches' teleconference.

Things will be different this week when Virginia Tech heads to Columbus. The Hokies' starting quarterback is Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer, who was 23-of-30 for 251 yards and two touchdowns in a win over FCS opponent William & Mary last week. Meyer said during the teleconference that his defensive linemen were pleased they would be going against a "regular" offense.

"I just think of our D-linemen. Joey Bosa didn't come to Ohio State to squeeze down blocks and keep people off his ankles. That's what he had to do last week," Meyer said. "He came to rush a quarterback and penetrate. So there's big smiles across our defensive line right now to let them go play.

"Mike Bennett, how did you play Mike? And I don't know if he graded champion or not. He said, 'I got double-teamed every snap and one guy was trying to take my knees out.' That's all legal. It's really good football, to be honest with you. ... They certainly didn't come to play in that kind of game, the defensive line."

Bosa (6-foot-5, 278 pounds) is one of the nation's top sophomores, regardless of position. He had 7.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss last season, and while he might have been uncomfortable against Navy's scheme, Bosa had a tackle for loss last week. Bennett (6-2, 288) might be the best senior defensive tackle in the nation. He is active in the middle and had seven sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 2013. He also had a tackle for loss against the Midshipmen.

Meyer also admitted to being "real curious" about seeing how his defense handles a more traditional offense. "We have to shift gears," he said.

Starting linebacker Darron Lee said the whole defense is treating this game as a sort of welcome relief.

"I'm sure the D-line's really happy that they get to pass rush now as opposed to taking on double-teams all day," Lee told reporters. "It's a bit of relief, not so much a specific job description as it was for Navy."

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer knows his offensive line has a tough task.

"Their defensive front -- I'm not sure anybody's better in the country," Beamer said during his teleconference this week.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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