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Football: Ohio State remains open to movement on offensive line

Ohio State redshirt sophomore right guard Branden Bowen and junior right tackle Isaiah Prince (59) embrace prior to the Buckeyes’ 62-14 victory against Maryland on Oct. 7. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor

Following a Spring Game headlined by a trio of quarterbacks fighting for a single spot, there are still plenty of questions about who the five players will be in front of him.

Center Billy Price and left tackle Jamarco Jones graduated Ohio State and left for the NFL draft, leaving the Buckeyes trying to maintain the performance of an offensive line that allowed the ninth-fewest tackles for loss per game in the country last season.

The first hole that needs addressing in the offensive line is a key battle up the middle: center.

Though head coach Urban Meyer said redshirt senior Brady Taylor left spring practice as the starting center ahead of redshirt freshman Josh Myers, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa instead said the battle is still ongoing heading to the summer.

“Josh Myers, really the last two weeks, was outstanding. He struggled the first two but the last two weeks, including in the Spring Game, he was outstanding,” Studrawa said. “And Brady’s been steady, so those two guys are going to go right in through the summer and right into camp battling it out for that spot.”

Studrawa is less worried about the uncertainty of the position than Meyer, who earlier in the spring called the position a major priority.

“There’s no concern about that because I see how those kids are progressing, and I see how they’re improving, and I know the one thing to get the best out of guys is competition,” Studrawa said. “You’re going to strive and grind and work every single day to solidify the position.”

Sophomore Thayer Munford started the Spring Game at left tackle and played the majority of the first-team reps at the position despite senior tackle Isaiah Prince seemingly moving from right tackle to left tackle in the offseason. Studrawa did not declare Munford the starter on the left side, but said it’s “pretty close” to being the case.

The tackle positions remain open after the spring, with Prince looking likely to stay at right tackle. But, as Studrawa said, it is more about figuring out where to put everyone else than it is to place Prince.

“It’s not as much as Isaiah doing it, because he can play both [sides],” Studrawa said. “Isaiah obviously has got 2,000 reps on the right side, so he’s more comfortable there … and I like Isaiah working next to Demetrius, too. I think that combination is really, really good.”

The battle for left tackle is more than just where Prince and Munford will play.

Studrawa said redshirt junior Joshua Alabi has entered the conversation because of his performance in spring practice.

“Josh Alabi had a tremendous spring — I mean a tremendous spring — probably as good as anybody had in his improvement and fundamentals and his improvement of knowledge,” Studrawa said. “He’s working at that left tackle spot just like Thayer is.”

The starting guards look more certain, with returning starters at left and right guard, junior Michael Jordan and redshirt senior Demetrius Knox, respectively, both returning.

Though Ohio State will into the summer with empty spots, Studrawa is happy with how this spring went for his unit.

“I think we set out just like any other spring, we set out to do two things: develop guys fundamentally, and then get some depth, build some depth, and I think we accomplished both of those things,” Studrawa said.

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