Ohio State Football: Offensive Line Situation Doesn’t Make Sense


What happened to the Ohio State offensive line this season?

Urban Meyer has made a concerted effort to build up the talent and depth of the offensive line since becoming the head coach at Ohio State. The line was a strong suit for the Buckeyes the last four years, often with three star recruits and converted defensive linemen. With the big, highly rated lineman currently on the roster, it doesn’t make sense that the production from the offensive line was an issue this season.

First let’s take a look at the players on the offensive line the last time Ohio State had to rebuild. In 2014, Taylor Decker was the only returning starter and he moved from right tackle to the left side.

Junior Jacoby Boren was the center and redshirt sophomore Pat Elflein started at right guard. Both players were three star recruits from the Columbus area.

Redshirt freshman Billy Price was the left guard and Darryl Baldwin started at right tackle. Both players were converted defensive linemen. Joel Hale and Chase Farris were brought over from defense as backups because there wasn’t any depth on the offensive line.

This rag-tag unit had their growing pains at the beginning of the season, especially when they were exposed by Virginia Tech game the second week of the schedule. But by the end of the season, there wasn’t a better offensive line in the country.

Fast forward to 2016 and the Ohio State linemen were some of the most sought after recruits in the nation. First take a look at the starters.

Billy Price and Pat Elflein were returning starters and were named to All-American teams following the season. Junior left tackle JaMarco Jones, left guard Michael Jordan and right tackle Isaiah Prince were all four star recruits. All are listed as weighing 310 pounds and Jones is the little guy at 6-5. The other two are 6-7.

Here are the other offensive linemen on scholarship at Ohio State. All but three of the players were four star recruits.

Gavin Cupp                6-5     300

Jack Wohlabaugh     6-3     290

Matthew Burrell       6-4     305

Malcolm Pridgeon    6-7     315

Kyle Trout                    6-6     310

Tyler Gerald                 6-5     310

Evan Lisle                     6-7     308

Branden Bowen         6-7     315

Kevin Feder                  6-9     305

Demetrius Knox          6-4     308

Brady Taylor                 6-5     300

And the list doesn’t include preferred walk-ons.

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With the size and talent of the Ohio State offensive linemen it’s amazing that the unit was an issue especially at the end of the season. I can only think of three reasons that could be the case.

The first two are highly unlikely. Urban Meyer missed on several recruits or Mickey Marotti and his staff forgot how to build up the strength of the offensive linemen.

That only leaves one other option. With Ed Warinner becoming the tight ends coach and Greg Studrawa taking over the line, something went awry there.

Whatever the situation was, you can be sure it will be addressed by Urban Meyer. His entire offense is dependent on having a strong offensive line and that’s why he puts so much emphasis on going after top recruits and getting plenty of them.

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One way or the other you can be sure coach Meyer will do everything he can to make sure the offensive line won’t be an issue in the 2017 season.