Let’s Predict Ohio State’s Starting Lineup for Game One

J.K. Dobbins Ohio State Football Buckeyes Dwayne Haskins

The Ohio State depth chart will be released any day now, but rather than wait to find out who might be starting, wouldn’t it instead be better for somebody like me to take a guess having seen exactly one hour of fall camp and talked to exactly nobody about it?

I think so too!

Rather than bore you with a depth chart that contains nothing but ORs, I’m just going to give you the 22 Buckeyes on offense and defense who will take the field first.

As best as I can guess, anyway.


This one is easy, it’s Chris Chugunov. The Buckeyes want to go to a more pass-happy attack, which is why Ryan Day went out and grabbed the West Virginia transfer Chugunov. He also has starting experience, which no other quarterback on this roster possesses. Possibly keep an eye on Dwayne Haskins here as well based on his strong camp (assumedly) and performance at Michigan last year.

Running Back

There has been so much talk about J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber playing together in the backfield that I actually expect them to start together on Saturday. Having seen not a single play of them together in practice or spoken with anybody about whether this is still a thing or not, I’m pretty convinced it’s very much still a thing.


Because the Buckeyes will be looking to run the ball early, they will be starting Austin Mack, Parris Campbell, and Terry McLaurin. All three are very good blockers and Campbell’s presence will allow OSU to control a portion of the Oregon State defense. And because there are two running backs and three receivers starting, tight end Luke Farrell will have to wait until Rutgers for his first start.

Offensive Line

Thayer Munford was injured the last time we saw practice, so if he isn’t ready to go on Saturday, it will be Josh Alabi instead. Next to him at left guard will be Malcolm Pridgeon. Michael Jordan will be your starting center, and to his right will be Demetrius Knox and Isaiah Prince.

Defensive Line

This one is even easier than quarterback. Nick Bosa and Chase Young will be your defensive ends, and Robert Landers and Dre’Mont Jones will be on the interior. Jones will then stay on the field on passing downs for a change. It should be fun to watch.


A little over a week ago, Ohio State posted a video that featured linebackers Tuf Borland, Malik Harrison, and Baron Browning running with the first-team defense. I made mention of it as being a sizable clue to the starting linebacker trio for the Buckeyes this season. One day later, acting head coach Ryan Day said that Browning was still at middle linebacker and that Borland was still recovering. Obviously, Day posted his update as a personal attack to me, which I found very empowering. I’m not falling for Day’s antics, however, and I’m expecting Borland in the middle, Browning at the Sam, and Harrison at the Will. If Borland isn’t good to go, then we’ll see Justin Hilliard instead.


I must preface this by saying that Ohio State starts more than two cornerbacks as a rule, but only two can actually start — unless they open in nickel. While Oregon State will eventually get to a pass-heavy approach, I don’t expect the Buckeyes to open in the nickel. As such, we will see Damon Arnette and Kendall Sheffield starting on Saturday. Jeff Okudah will be in the rotation. The real question is whether or not somebody else can get in there as well.


There are a lot of assumptions to be made here. The one assumption we don’t have to make, however, is that Jordan Fuller is one of the two starting safeties. We do have to assume that it is still at free/field safety like it was the spring. I’m going to go with Isaiah Pryor at the strong/boundary safety because he’s the guy I’ve seen most in the videos posted by OSU. Also, ain’t it funny that OSU stopped posting as many videos of practice after I wrote about what we were learning from the clips? Oh well, I don’t want to sound petty. Anyway, there’s your starting 22 for the Buckeyes based on as much insight as I could scrape from the bottom of my barrel.

7 Responses

  1. On a related note, ESPiN is reporting Joe Burrow will start for LSU against Miami.

  2. Chugunov as starting QB? No way – I think it’ll be J.T. Barrett. From what I hear, they’ve somehow uncovered one more year for J.T., and that Dwayne Haskins wanted one more season to understudy the all-time record holder.
    Oh, and I hear Robert Smith is suiting up again this season, too.

  3. Golly. Imagine keeping reporters out of practice. At least some are demonstrating common sense. Good not everyone is part of the hysteria.

  4. (if Thayer Munford can’t go)^^^

  5. I’ve got to go with Brady Taylor as starting center IF Thayer Munford. The last thing breaki9ng a new quarterback in is for the blind side to be a backup at LT and a guy who hasn’t started before at LG. The blindside needs leadership so Michael Jordan will start at LG.

    Oregon State had been really…..really bad in the passing game. Not so much schematically but they just didn’t have the talent at the execution was horrible. They’ve worked the last couple seasons trying to improve it, but it’s still a question at where it’s at. I think they’ll come out at try to put it to the test. Their problem is Alex Grinch. He’s familiar with their offense and some of the players having to had to prepare against them. Now he has a lethal depth chart of top notch athletes and already well developed players. By the end of the 1st quarter Oregon State will HAVE to throw the ball all over the yard, because their defense doesn’t match up very well against the Buckeye offense skill wise. The Buckeyes should have at least a 20 point edge heading into the second quarter. Oregon State will have to pass, but the Buckeyes have the guys who can roll in and out seamlessly. That depth is going to be explored, so I think the Buckeyes come out to start the game with Jordan Fuller, Isaiah Pryor, Damon Arnette, Kendall Sheffield, to test to see if Davis has the linebackers finally ready to play Buckeye football. Taver Johnson and Alex Grinch will rotate freely and often. That too will cause problems for Oregon States QB to get good reads. The techniques for the DB’s is similar, but each guy has his own nuances to how they play.

    Justin Hilliard will start as the MIKE. Tuf is tough but there’s just no reason to force him back unless he’s 100%. Why risk it against a team that the Buckeyes should be able to control easily with 2nd and 3rd teamers? Plus those live reps for Justin will prove invaluable later in the season. Malik Harrison will start at the WILL, but there are questions at SAM. Probably between Baron Browning and Pete Werner. Whoever starts at linebacker is going to be tested early and often, because anyone with eyes can see that last year there was a striking drop in developmental skills, even with a lot of experience.

    I guess we’ll see what happens in less than a week.

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