Ohio State’s rebuilding offensive line appears to have an anchor from the Miami Valley.
Beyond that, coach Greg Studrawa has a lot of work to do between now and the season-opener against Florida Atlantic.
Here is a look at the Buckeyes offensive line this spring:
1. For now, Ohio State has an all-new No. 1 unit.
Miamisburg’s Josh Myers has claimed the starting center spot with guards Gavin Cupp and Wyatt Davis flanking him this spring.
Senior Josh Alabi was working at right tackle until coming down with the flu last week, leaving reps on each side for senior Branden Bowen and redshirt freshmen Nicholas Petit-Frere and Max Wray to share.
That foursome (when all are healthy) is competing to start opposite left tackle Thayer Munford this fall. Munford, a junior who is the only full-year starter back from last season, is out for spring following an offseason surgery.
“Thayer being out is another blow, but the good news is those young guys get a ton of reps,” Studrawa said. “That’s exactly what you’d probably have it in the spring to get better.”
2. Though he is happy with Myers at center, Studrawa anticipates having multiple choices to play there in the fall.
Redshirt freshman Matt Jones was working as the No. 2 center until also getting hit with the flu, and two more options are preparing remotely.
Harry Miller, a five-star prospect from Buford, Ga., and Jonah Jackson, a senior graduate transfer from Rutgers, are able to follow along via the magic of the internet, joining meetings via video conference and watching video of practice as well.
“So when they get here they can hit the ground running and it won’t be new for them,” Studrawa said.
Miller and Jones both have the ability to play guard as well as center for Studrawa, who generally prefers to get the best five players onto the field whatever it takes.
3. Jackson should jump right into the race for a starting spot when he arrives.
With All-American center Michael Jordan leaving early for the NFL draft, Ohio State found itself talented but young and a little thin on the line.
That made adding a player like Jackson paramount.
“The fact that he’s really an intelligent tough football player, that was the first thing I liked about him,” Studrawa said. "And then I watched him block our guys last year. He did a hell of a job. And then he was interested in us and we reached out to him and here’s an intelligent kid who is really tough, Academic All-Big Ten, honorable mention All-Big Ten as a player, and to have a guy with three years experience coming in it was a huge bonus.”
4. Bowen is looking to get back into the starting lineup wherever he can.
A starter for half the 2017 season at guard before suffering a broken leg, Bowen has endured a long road back.
He was still bothered by the effects of the injury last season and has had three surgeries overall (including one to remove pins) in an effort to get back to full strength.
“I think we’re as close now as we’ve been,” Studrawa said. “I’ve seen him move, strike, drive his legs like the old Bowen before that injury, so I think he’s getting closer.
“I think now it’s just a matter of getting the conditioning back in his leg, over and over and over and over, the wear and tear.”
5. Cupp is having his best spring.
A fourth-year junior from Leipsic, Ohio, Cupp was just about a forgotten man last year as 2017 prospects Myers and Davis passed him on the depth chart.
Bringing more confidence to the practice field has helped him get into the mix this spring.
“To go out there against the first string and be able to say, ‘OK I can go get this done,’” Studrawa said while adding he has a better grasp of the offense.
“He was never confident in the mental aspect of the game. Now he is.”
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.