Land of 10/file photo
With blockers like Michael Jordan returning, Ohio State's offensive line should again be one of the Big Ten's best units.

Ohio State football: Don’t worry about offensive line, Buckeyes are building something special

Austin Ward

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.

The quarterback battle certainly receives the majority of the spotlight outside of the program, and there’s good reason for that considering how important that position is for a College Football Playoff contender. But make no mistake, inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, it’s the offensive line that has the full attention of the coaching staff this spring as Ohio State tries to replace some key veterans in crucial positions.

There are questions marks. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the unit is a concern for the Buckeyes, who have perhaps the best overall collection of talent to work with that they’ve had in quite some time. Losing future NFL starters like Billy Price at center and Jamarco Jones at left tackle is always going to sting, but it’s a bit more manageable when there are multiple options in contention to take over during spring practice.

Ohio State-Branden Bowen-Ohio State football-Ohio State Buckeyes-offensive line-spring practice-depth chart
Getting Branden Bowen back healthy will be a huge lift for Ohio State this year. (Land of 10/file photo)

Ohio State already knows, for example, what Isaiah Prince is capable of providing after his dramatic turnaround last season and has complete faith in him to make a successful transition to the left side. It also might wind up with one of the best combinations on that side of the line in the country with Michael Jordan getting healthy and gearing up for his third season in the starting lineup at guard. Throw in the experience Branden Bowen had at right guard before breaking his leg last season along with the flashes of Thayer Munford’s potential at tackle and Ohio State has most of the difficult work already done with the first unit.

Now, that spot in the middle wasn’t mentioned for a reason. And that’s where an interesting competition is likely going to play out with the Buckeyes potentially borrowing spare blockers elsewhere to make sure they get that all-important position absolutely right. The standard really couldn’t be any higher with back-to-back Rimington Trophy winners coming from Ohio State, and Urban Meyer has always emphasized the value of that job right up there with his quarterback. So, Brady Taylor may be the favorite, but he certainly won’t just be handed the job when guys like Josh Myers, Matthew Burrell, Joshua Alabi or early enrollee Matthew Jones are around.

All of those Buckeyes have the potential to contribute up front this season, along with another experienced performer in Demetrius Knox and some other returners who were once touted recruits like Wyatt Davis and Malcolm Pridgeon. It’s true that all of them still have to go out and live up to their potential, but at least on paper, Ohio State has the foundation for what could be its deepest offensive line under Meyer.

So, it’s fair to ask questions of the Buckeyes at this point. But there’s really no reason to worry.

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