Football

Morning Constitutional: Should You Be Concerned About the OL Numbers?

Ohio State football offensive line coach Greg Studrawa

Today’s Topic: Should You Be Concerned About the OL Numbers?


I’m not trying to worry you, but it might be time to start worrying.

Ohio State currently stands at 11 scholarship offensive linemen on the 2019 roster, which would tie for the lowest number this century.

Ten of those 11 will be on campus for spring ball, with 5-star center Harry Miller arriving in the summer.

There is a chance they could add one or two more through recruiting. Four-star West Virginia prospect Doug Nester is still technically committed, though he is taking visits to make sure he is choosing the correct school. Three-star Indianapolis lineman Dawand Jones took an official visit to Ohio State this past weekend, and the 6-foot-8, 360-pounder holds offers from OSU, USC, Auburn, Florida State, Penn State, Texas, and Michigan.

With the Buckeyes losing five linemen from the 2018 team, there are spots to be filled. Currently, the 2018 class only has two players signed, but Nester and/or Jones would help that number greatly.

This past season, the Buckeyes had 14 scholarship offensive linemen and a few of them were dealing with injuries. With 14 options, they could afford a few injuries. But even 14 scholarships is low compared to 2017 through 2014 when the Buckeyes had 16 or 17 each year.

Right now, things are looking more like the Jim Tressel days when they would fluctuate between 12 and 14 generally. Tressel and Jim Bollman believed that versatile offensive linemen gave them better numbers than their actual numbers.

In other words, a guy like Jack Mewhort who could play anywhere on the offensive line is more like three players than one. However, if he gets hurt, now you’re also down three players instead of one.

When Urban Meyer arrived, he went to work on building up the numbers on the offensive line. That’s not just to help the offense, but also special teams.

The Buckeyes only brought in three linemen in 2018 and may only bring in that many in this class. They could also resort to ye olde position switch with a guy like 2018 freshman Alex Williams, who is a big (6-7 250) defensive end still learning the ropes.

We took at a look at the depth chart on offense this weekend and while the talent on hand looks good and Greg Studrawa is comfortable with it, the ability to go “next man up” if somebody goes down would make things much less comfortable.

Generally, if you have eight guys that you are comfortable with — a starting five and then a backup at tackle, guard, and center — you’ll be fine as long as they stay healthy.

But the need for 14 or more linemen isn’t just about 2019, it’s about being set up for 2020 and beyond. It’s not unusual for an offensive linemen to sit for two or three years before contributing on offense. Having numbers allows players to grow without being put in situations that can harm the offense.

Here’s where things stand this spring.

Left Tackle
75 Thayer Munford, Jr
76 Branden Bowen, rSr OR
74 Max Wray, rFr OR
77 Nicholas Petit-Frere

Left Guard
76 Branden Bowen, rSr OR
61 Gavin Cupp, rJr
Ryan Jacoby, Fr

Center
71 Josh Myers, rSo
55 Matthew Jones, rFr

Right Guard
52 Wyatt Davis, rSo
61 Gavin Cupp, rJr
Ryan Jacoby, Fr

Right Tackle
58 Josh Alabi, rSr OR
77 Nicholas Petit-Frere, rFr
74 Max Wray, rFr
Ryan Jacoby, Fr

Harry Miller will add another interior option. If Doug Nester or Dawand Jones are added, they could end up inside or outside.

After all, if the numbers are going to be low, guys will have to move to the spots where they are needed.

So should you be worried?

No. At least not yet.

If Greg Studrawa can’t find a top eight, however, then maybe you might wanna start.

11 Responses

  1. THERE IS A LACK OF OHIO HERITAGE IN THE COACHING STAFF AND PLAYERS AT THIS TIME. tHERE IS A LOT CHANGE HAPPENING AND A LOT OF GROWTH IS NEEDED FOR THIS YEAR TO BE SUCCESSFUL. LOCAL TALENT HAS BEEM SNUBBED FOR QUITE AWHILE. LOT OF QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED THIS YEAR. GO BUCKS.

    1. The coach from Ohio has had difficulties landing players from Ohio, fwiw.

  2. OL depth has been a problem for ages. Early in Myers career, the question was whether we could even get a starting 5 because we were missing a right tackle. One year he got one by converting a TE, another year he got one from the defensive line. Lately, we lucked out because Price and Elflein stayed an extra year,Jordan was serviceable as a freshman, and Mumford has been a pleasant surprise. Still, there were struggles (See Penn State and Clemson games of Prince’s Sophomore Year and Jordan’s Freshman Year) probably shouldn’t have had to start as a sophomore). If Price or Elflein had left after 4 years in the program, we would have been really in trouble. So, yes, I am nervous about the OL (especially with Jordan leaving early), but I am used to it.

  3. There’s a reason the numbers are low and he’s pictured in the title heading. I think Studrawa can coach “individual” linemen, but he’s lost trying to mold them into a cohesive unit. In order for great individuals to stand out on an offensive line the sum of the individuals have to be a dominating unit.

    1. the reason numbers are low is because Urban Meyer slow played Ohio Linemen going after out of state so called higher rated linemen. Good example is Munford. Stud wanted him early but Meyer slow played him. Even when Meyer was pressed by Stud, he still wanted to slow play. Thank goodness Stud got his way. You can throw around the canard about Stud and his recruiting, that parrots the board. But the fact is OSU had a lot of OL transfer from the program and Meyer burned bridges in Ohio.

      1. They offered Ohio linemen early as well and those linemen went elsewhere. They also signed plenty of Ohio linemen who didn’t pan out. Perfect storm.

  4. I agree it’s not time to panic just yet, but have the button unlocked and ready because this IS pretty thin.
    Do you think it’s recruiting or just bad RNG (random number generation), Gerd?

    1. Recruiting targets missed leading to situations where the staff didn’t want to reach on players just to make their numbers.

  5. Tressel was criticized for having low OL numbers…and here we are again. Most would probably say Ohio and the midwest just aren’t producing quality OL like the south, but I think the NFL Draft and rosters might debunk that a bit. OSU has quite a few Ohio OL doing well in the NFL. Moreover, you just cant miss on guys like Carmen Jackson.

    Coach Day should continue to recruit nationally, but he must Build That Wall (around Ohio)! BTW! BTW! BTW!

    1. OSU missed on Ohioans the last two years as well.

  6. The Buckeyes always find the players they need, when they need them, so They will be fine.

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