Before spring football began for the Buckeyes, it was thought that fifth-year senior Brady Taylor and fouth-year junior Matt Burrell would compete to fill the vacancy left by the departure of center Billy Price.
Once camp got underway, however, redshirt freshman Josh Myers was also in the conversation.
Myers, a former 5-star offensive tackle, redshirted last season as a true freshman. To most people on the outside, he was expected to provide depth this season at guard and then make a bid to start in 2019.
He apparently has a different plan, however.
Things did not go well early on for Myers, but that was to be expected. Moving to center is rarely an easy transition for anybody, let alone a young player. But it is better to move him in the spring and get the kinks worked out than to do it in the fall when the timeline is much more compressed.
Those initial kinks had Brady Taylor looking like the odds-on favorite in 2018.
Eventually, however, Josh Myers got the hang of things, and his play showed the improvement.
“I think his understanding, I think his snap consistency got better,” said offensive line coach Greg Studrawa. “We grade that every day on a chart, so they know he was all over the place because he was trying to snap the ball and make all the blocks that we do, so that was new for him for the first time.”
For Myers, he was having to simultaneously master the three key ingredients of being a center — making the calls, snapping and blocking. And blocking is difficult enough without any other additional tasks, just ask a guard or a tackle.
The more Myers did it, however, the better and more comfortable he got. But none of this happened in a snap.
It was more like 600 snaps.
“I think towards the end he got consistent with snapping the ball, he was on target with those kinds of things and now he understands what he has to do,” Studrawa said. “He understands all the pressure of making the calls, setting the fronts so the more and more he went on, he got 600-and-some reps. That’s outstanding.”
By the time spring football was wrapping up, Myers had done well enough to ensure that he would be able to continue the fight in fall camp. With the momentum that he has currently, the offseason is going to be crucial. Players every year close spring football in a strong fashion only to fade during the summer.
With this being Brady Taylor’s last season in the Scarlet and Gray, don’t expect him to just stand by and watch Myers take the job.
Replacing an All-American like Billy Price is going to be difficult, but the fact that there is a hard-fought competition currently taking place is a good sign for the 2018 season.
With Josh Myers making himself a viable contender this spring, he did precisely what his coaches wanted him to do.
“The fact that he got through it and the spring game was his best outing,” Studrawa sad. “That’s exactly what we were hoping to accomplish, and we did.”