This spring was an interesting one for the Ohio State offensive line. The Buckeyes began the task of replacing NFL draft picks Billy Price and Jamarco Jones in the starting lineup, having to do it with a number of key linemen missing.
Guards Michael Jordan and Branden Bowen — who were the opening day starters last season — both missed the spring recovering from surgieries. Malcolm Pridgeon, Demetrius Knox, and Wyatt Davis filled in the gaps admirably.
Isaiah Prince and Thayer Munford swapped back and forth between right tackle and left tackle, while Joshua Alabi and Max Wray rounded out the two-deep at tackle. At center, Brady Taylor and Josh Myers began a competition that may not end until September.
In other words, there was a lot happening. Despite the action, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said the situation wasn’t in as much of a flux as it seemed this spring.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “We set out – and it’s like any other spring – you set out to do two things: develop guys fundamentally and then get some depth. Develop some depth. And I think we accomplished both of those things unbelievably.”
While they were developing depth, they also lost guard Matt Burrell to transfer. Burrell’s transfer, however, is indicative of the depth that the Buckeyes were working with inside.
Ohio State also bolstered their two-deep at offensive tackle. The expectation was for Isaiah Prince to move from right tackle to left tackle, but by the time camp ended, it was sophomore Thayer Munford on the left side and Prince back home on the right side. Alabi was backing up Munford and the freshman Wray was behind Prince. Everyone got a good number of reps throughout camp.
“Again, that’s part of the deal,” Studrawa said. “It’s not as much as Isaiah doing it, because he can play both. It’s where the two young guys – where Alabi and Thayer comes along. And getting Bowen – Bowen was out, Michael Jordan was out, so those guys weren’t in there.”
While it may not have been classified a “flux,” there were still plenty of moving parts this spring. Studrawa was able to get those parts under control, but he’s still trying to decide where everybody fits.
The depth that was created, however, made the spring a success despite the challenges.
“So I had some good depth [at tackle], but now just providing where the other guy fits because Isaiah can do both,” he said. “So how does that work and where does that mesh? That’s what we went through the whole spring trying to find out, and we’ve got a pretty good idea now. So when Bowen comes back and Michael comes back, we’ll be really good.”
Given the amount of options at his disposal, does Studrawa know what his starting five will look like this season?
“Nope,” he said.
“It’ll be pretty good though.”