Most Important Buckeyes: No. 4 Jack Mewhort
By Patrick Murphy
Photo by Jim Davidson
A year ago, Jack Mewhort was heading into the 2012 season having played left and right guard, but was be relied upon to take on a new role at left tackle.
That is not an easy transition. The left tackle is one of the most important positions on the field.
With a right-handed quarterback like Braxton Miller, the left tackle protects the vulnerable backside.
Miller’s 28 sacks on the season – 11 fewer than the year before – were more due to his eagerness to scramble than poor offensive line play. They gave the quarterback enough time to complete over 58% of his passes and throw for 15 touchdowns.
The line helped the Buckeyes rush for almost 3,000 total yards on the year, and Mewhort was a vital part of the line.
Last year, Mewhort came in at No. 6 on our preseason list of Most Important Buckeyes. Now he jumps to No. 4 with a season of experience under his belt and higher expectations for an offense that is expected to be one of the best in the country.
What Makes Him Important
There are numerous things that make Mewhort important for the 2013 Buckeyes.
For one, he is responsible for keeping Miller standing up while in the pocket. Though pressure can come from anywhere, the left tackle spot is the hardest for the quarterback to see.
With the mayhem management that Miller worked on with quarterback guru George Whitfield this offseason, the coaches will look for him to remain in the pocket longer in 2013. Mewhort will have a large role to play in giving Miller the time he needs to hang in there and make the throws down field.
On top of his play, Mewhort is being looked upon as a leader on this team. As a senior with 35 games played under his belt and 25 consecutive starts, Mewhort is easily one of the more experienced players on the team.
Urban Meyer has already spoken on how the offensive line will be leaders and singled out Mewhort specifically.
"It's not a dictatorship at Ohio State, and we let our players choose captains," Meyer told those gathered in Toledo, Mewhort’s home town. "However, all those votes have to pass by my desk. I'm going to tell you who one will be."
Mewhort was the player he was referring to.
What Can Be Expected Of Him
The expectations are high for the entire offense, and the offensive line is where that starts.
Fans know what a Buckeye team looks like when the big men up front aren’t playing at their best, and it does not lead to the success of 2012
In his final year at Ohio State, Mewhort will be expected to exceed the standard he set a season ago when he was named second-team all-Big Ten and co-offensive lineman of the year for the Buckeyes.
To do this, Mewhort will want his name mentioned as little as possible, as linemen are usually only talked about when they do something wrong.
If his name stays out of announcers’ mouths, he may find it on the list for all-Big Ten and possibly All-American and that would be great news for the Buckeyes’ offense.
What Would The Buckeyes Do Without Him
Mewhort is important for Ohio State, so if he were unavailable they would have to reshuffle things along the offensive line.
The backups are red-shirt junior Darryl Baldwin and red-shirt freshman Kyle Dodson.
Baldwin moved to the offensive line before last season in order to provide depth. Dodson was forced to red shirt midway through last season because of a shoulder injury that required surgery. Neither has seen much time due to the play of Mewhort, so immense experience would be lost.
There is a chance that players could move around on the line as well.
Right tackle Chase Farris, who likely will be the backup to Taylor Decker, has impressed this offseason and could be moved over to the left side if need be. It would also be possible for Jacoby Boren or Pat Elflein to be moved from reserve center, though that would require more of an adjustment.
If the coaching staff really wanted to shake things up, they could move Andrew Norwell on the line. Norwell had experience playing the position during Mike Adam’s suspension in 2011, but last year was the co-offensive lineman at left guard with Mewhort.
Life would become much more complicated for the offense if Mewhort were unavailable. The Buckeyes would lose a fine player, who has made the position his own, and someone who has stepped into a leader spot on the team.