Ohio State football: Who emerges as heart-and-soul leader for Buckeyes?
During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Buckeyes address pressing questions on the minds of the Ohio State fan base with our 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.
Who will be this years billy price? As in leading the team like he did last year.
— Dylan Frazier (@DylanFrazier44) April 11, 2018
There was never any doubt about the value Billy Price brought to Ohio State with his work ethic, accountability and strength of his voice inside and outside the locker room. Fortunately there were some cameras in the locker room after the shocking loss to Iowa last season that really drilled home this point. The veteran center hit all the right notes for a group of stunned Buckeyes, and his response was critical in helping them rebound and win some really “big rings.”
Now there are some really big shoes to fill for Ohio State. And it’s not just Price’s captaincy that is vacant, because J.T. Barrett and Tyquan Lewis were with Price setting the standard and providing incredible leadership. So where will that come from this season?
Even with so many veterans returning, there aren’t a lot of slam-dunk candidates to be the face of the program. That could be a good thing if the motivation is coming from a large number of players, with everybody collectively on board with the same message and mindset. There also are guys who could develop into a fiery leader. Nick Bosa immediately coming to mind as somebody who wants that role but hasn’t needed to step forward.
There are some established guys who already are doing some heavy lifting in that department. Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin have long been pointed to by the coaching staff as key figures in establishing the right culture for the Buckeyes, and those captains again will play critical roles behind the scenes. Defensively, Dre’Mont Jones’ passion and the way he carries himself make him another candidate to make a leadership impact. Even though he’s younger, safety Jordan Fuller can be thrown into that mix as well.
Most teams also need a rugged, physical offensive lineman to help set the tone the way Price did, and before him Pat Elflein, Taylor Decker and Jack Mewhort. Can Isaiah Price take up that mantle while taking on a new role on the left side of the line at tackle? If Brady Taylor claims Price’s old job at center, might his journey as a fifth-year senior and the importance of that position put him in position to lead?
These are questions Urban Meyer will want answered during the offseason and into training camp. Few coaches anywhere place greater emphasis on leadership and earning a captaincy, and Ohio State has holes there. How they fill them might determine what’s on the next round of rings for the Buckeyes.
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