COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The body types are obviously similar, genetic blessings shared by the pair of brothers.
The quirky mannerisms, the unique walking style and even the football stance make telling them apart even more difficult when the pads and helmets are on.
On top of that, now Nick Bosa is even sporting the jersey number his older brother, Joey, wore during his three seasons at Ohio State, which is only causing the feelings of déjà vu to spread like a virus through training camp.
After causing all those double takes, the younger Bosa wants to make one thing clear: The two brothers are actually as different as two freakishly talented defensive ends who share the same bloodline can be.
“If you actually know us, if you asked our parents, we’re completely different people,” Nick Bosa said. “I don’t know how to explain it -- we’re just different, always have been.
“I mean, as far as mannerisms and running and walking the same, I think he’s a little more pigeon-toed than me. I don’t think I walk with that weird ogre walk that he has. But all that stuff is just inherent.”
The Buckeyes haven’t fully had a chance to figure out just how much on-the-field similarities there are between the Bosa boys. If Nick inherited as many familial traits that apply in pads as the way he walks or talks might suggest, Ohio State shouldn’t have any reason to worry about replacing one of the nation’s most disruptive defenders and the No. 3 overall NFL draft pick.
Certainly the Buckeyes wouldn’t have minded if Joey had elected to come back for one more season instead of forgoing his final year of eligibility. Knowing there was a potential carbon copy on the way, Larry Johnson didn’t exactly have much reason to complain.
“Sometimes when I turn on the videotape in the back, I just shake my head,” the Ohio State defensive line coach said. “His body type, his demeanor, the way he walks, he’s just so close to the way Joey was -- until he turns around. Then I think they’re really different.
“He’s Nick. What his brother did, we’ll watch videotape and use that as a teaching tool. But what we do now is work on him, and that’s the way I’m going to approach it. I told him, ‘I’m going to try really hard to never call you Bosa. I’m going to try really hard not to call you Joe. I want to have your individuality and who you are as a person.’ But I think if he handles that, the expectations are high because of what his brother did.”
Those expectations certainly wouldn’t be easy for any player to live up to given the pile of awards, volume of sacks and even the trademark “Shrug” celebration Joey left behind when he declared for the draft. If anybody is qualified to follow in his footsteps, however, it’s a little brother who has been doing it his whole life.
There are a couple reasons, though, for Ohio State to try to tap the brakes on its latest round of Bosa buzz. First, there’s a loaded depth chart at defensive end headlined by returning veterans Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard that will provide stiff competition for playing time. Second, even with his pedigree, Nick is only a true freshman -- and also one who spent the first week of practice being limited as a precautionary measure after tearing his ACL during his senior season in high school.
The Buckeyes are planning to add more to his plate each week with an eye on having him healthy and ready in time for the opener Sept. 3 against Bowling Green. At some point after that, all they’re expecting is for Nick to continue a family tradition.
“I hate to use the word 'patience,' because I'll never forget when I sent a text message to the Bosa family about Nick, Joey hit me back on a little group text and said, ‘Have patience.’ I simply said, ‘No,’” coach Urban Meyer said. “But we are being very patient with him. He hasn't been in full scrimmage situation yet. We're making sure that knee is 100 percent sound -- which it is. And so we're just easing him in. He comes from an excellent high school program, very well-coached, and he'll be game-ready.
“Yeah, he walks, talks the same. I’m just trying to convince the Bosas to have one more, and we'll take him.”
In the meantime, the Buckeyes will gladly settle for having one on hand.
Especially if the younger brother can keep on giving them flashbacks once he gets on the field.
“He’s different than his brother,” defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. “Yeah, until I see the palms up and a little bit of a shrug after a sack, I still notice the difference right now.”
Everything else, however, already comes with an uncanny resemblance.