Ohio State football: Time for next center to try to keep Buckeyes’ budding Rimington Dynasty alive
All week long, our Land of 10 reporters following the Buckeyes will address pressing questions on the minds of the Ohio State fan base with our new daily feature. To ask Austin Ward a question, follow along on Twitter and suggest a topic right here. Check back Monday through Friday as we dive into the Ohio State Question of the Day. Go here to see all of our previous answers.
we have odds on who’s next? Sliding someone over again or letting his backup take over?
— Brandon (@Belliott83) December 7, 2017
Based on the formula that has produced back-to-back Rimington Trophy-winning centers at Ohio State, it sure seems like sliding somebody over from guard would be the safe bet. Why mess with a good thing, right? If it worked for Pat Elflein and Billy Price, maybe the third time would be just as charming for the Buckeyes.
One flaw, of course, is that in Elflein and Price, Ohio State was dealing with two NFL-ready blockers who chose to stick around both to provide stability and leadership for the offensive line and to boost their stock as professionals. Those are two rare breeds, and perhaps it goes without saying, but it obviously wasn’t the move to center that turned them into stars.
That doesn’t mean, though, that offensive line coach Greg Studrawa is ruling out a similar switch heading into next season. In fact, Matt Burrell has spent time working at the position and could find a home where he can really thrive in the middle of the unit. The rising junior just hasn’t been able to carve out a permanent role with the Buckeyes at guard yet despite his physical tools, and he is certainly a candidate to make the transition that Elflein and Price have made famous.
This time, though, the Buckeyes may not have to do it. Brady Taylor was waiting in the wings this season if needed at center, and the Columbus native will have a chance to claim that job as his own in the spring. He wouldn’t even need to learn a new spot, which might be a perk for Studrawa, although it would snap the streak the Buckeyes have going now.
“I might just move somebody to guard for a day,” Studrawa joked last week. “Then move them right back.”
Either way, the Buckeyes have some veteran options who have been in the program for a while. That also means those players know the standard at the position after watching Elflein and Price pull off the Rimington repeat.
No pressure, right? Odds are, the guy who isn’t intimated by the expectation to go out and be the best center in the nation will claim that critical job ― no matter what position he’s at right now.