The Buckeyes’ offensive line is one filled with experience, from the left side to the right. In that order, we have Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell, Corey Linsley, Marcus Hall, and Taylor Decker. They all have plenty of experience, with the exception of Taylor Decker, who is just a sophomore. The line is responsible for protecting early-Heisman candidate Braxton Miller, and it’s ok to think that the entire Ohio State offense is going to be dependent on how the line plays throughout each game. If any part of the line falters, the offense might crumble.
Let’s take a look at the two leaders of the offensive line, Mewhort and Linsley, the left tackle and center respectively. Jack Mewhort is a senior for the Buckeyes, and has started in 25 of his 35 career games at Ohio State. He played at the left tackle position for the whole 2012 campaign, and helped the team to an undefeated record, which was the only such record in all of the FBS. Corey Linsley on the other hand, aside from having a pretty cool name, has also made significant contributions to the team. He hasn’t played in the middle his whole career, he switched from right tackle last spring, but don’t let that foo you. Currently, he is recovering from foot surgery and has missed Ohio State’s spring drills, according to their athletic site. The site also mentions that he is one of the strongest and toughest members of the team, and can bench over 500 pounds, so I think it’s safe to assume that he will be ready to come back even stronger this season.
Onto the inside of the line, Norwell and Hall, who play left and right guard. Andrew Norwell, a senior on the team, is tied with fellow lineman Mewhort in games started, with 25. To say he is experienced is an understatement. The last 20 of those starts have all been from his current position, left guard. He’s prowess on the line earned him first-team Big Ten honors last season. And in case you needed another reason to like Norwell, here’s a fun fact: He has’t cut his hair since coming to Ohio State back in the fall of 2010. Marcus Hall has played in a remarkable 827 of the team’s 837 offensive plays from scrimmage last season, along with Mewhort and Linsley. It seems as if this fifth year senior is irreplaceable in the eyes of Ohio State, and that should be true. He is a 6’5, 315 pound right tackle who has helped the Buckeyes over the past few years.
And last but not least, Taylor Decker. As mentioned earlier, he is just a sophomore, when everybody else on the line is either a senior or fifth year senior. HE is going to be the newest starter of the offensive line, playing right tackle. Ohio State’s previous right tackle, Reid Fragel, was drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, so Decker will have his work cut out for him. Although he did play in all 12 games last season for the team, he only played four games on the offensive line; most of his game time was on special teams. All in all, there is no reason to believe the Ohio State offensive line will be any worse than last year. Even with an inexperienced Decker, the other leaders will surely step up and push the offense to possibly another undefeated record and potentially a BCS Championship appearance. As I said before however, it might be seen as ride or die with the line. If they do great, the team will build momentum off of them, but if they decline, so will the rest of the team.
As far as the depth chart goes, from left to right here are your Ohio State offensive line backup players. Junior Darryl Baldwin at LT, sophomore Chase Ferris at LG, sophomore Jacoby Boren at center, freshman Pat Elfein at RG, and freshman Kyle Dodson at RT.
For more in our Positional Breakdown Series: