Ohio State football: Who will start in the interior offensive line?

Harry Miller needs to show that he can be a rock at center that the Buckeyes can rely on.Cfb Ohio State Buckeyes At Michigan State Spartans
Harry Miller needs to show that he can be a rock at center that the Buckeyes can rely on.Cfb Ohio State Buckeyes At Michigan State Spartans /

The Ohio State Football team had an impressive offensive line in the 2020-21 season. After losing both Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers to the NFL Draft, who will be the starters in the interior of the offensive line?

First off, the Buckeyes will have a star tackle tandem with Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere. The starting offensive tackles for the 2021-22 season are a no-brainer. Picking starters for the interior offensive line is not quite as easy.

As many as five Buckeyes have been mentioned as potential starters in the interior. Harry Miller seems to be a lock to start, but whether he plays left guard or center is unknown. Miller struggled at times last season but still has good potential as a guard or center.

In addition, Paris Johnson Jr. seems to be a safe bet at right guard. Johnson is simply too talented to keep off the field. In the 2021 Sugar Bowl, the Ohio State football team was already missing their starting left guard Miller against Clemson. Matthew Jones was filling in nicely until he was injured.

The Buckeyes had to call on a third-string left guard in a playoff semifinal. Johnson came in at left guard and flattened a Clemson Tiger in his ninth snap.  At 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds, Johnson will be a big guard. However, as a former five-star ranked ninth nationally, Johnson has the athletic ability to be a good guard.

The Last Spot

The last opening in the interior offensive line is where things get tricky. As mentioned, Miller could start at left guard or center. If Miller is the starter at center, then it will either be Jones or Josh Fryar at left guard. Miller starting at left guard would likely mean Luke Wypler is starting at center.

Last year, Jones got some experience starting at left guard in the postseason. When Jones got his opportunity, he was solid and could be a solid starting guard. Meanwhile, Fryar has been the wild card making noise this offseason. Fryar even saw first-team reps during spring practice. Greg Studrawa, the Ohio State Football team’s Offensive Line coach, discussed Fryar’s skillset,

"He was a basketball player, he’s a guy who is 6-foot-5 but has the ability to bend and play really low. Those two things were what intrigued me about him when we first got him in recruiting, and it’s only gotten better through training with [strength coach] Mick [Marotti]. Now he’s getting stronger, he’s got a little edge to him and he’s a guy who has some grit."

Miller was limited on snaps during the spring due to an injury. This opened up reps for the backup center Wypler. Starting at center is all about reps. After playing guard last season, Miller needed plenty of reps at center this offseason to make the transition. With limited reps and Wypler impressing during the spring, it is a very real possibility that Wypler is the starting center rather than Miller. Strudrawa commented on Wypler’s work ethic,

"But this kid is in here doing that every single day. That’s how important it is to him. I sat in here and watched drills of him every day. We watched film on Zoom and things like that. A guy that cares that much, is that dedicated and has the tools — he’s got quickness, he’s really good now at snapping the ball and stepping. He’s got a rhythm now with the ability to do those things. And he studies the game. He knows every position. He knows all those things, and the time and effort he puts into it is something I love."

The most likely scenario for the interior offensive line is Miller at center with Johnson at right guard and Jones at left guard. But do not count out Fryar or Wypler. They are redshirt Freshmen that seem to be doing all the right things to become a starter.

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Overall, the 2021-22 Ohio State offensive line should be a good unit whether it be Jones, Fryar, or Wypler filling the last starting spot.