Urban Meyer left lasting impression on Bengals center Billy Price

Cincinnati Bengals rookie and former Ohio State University center Billy Price wouldn’t be surprised to see Urban Meyer coaching again, this time in the NFL.

Meyer is set to retire after the Rose Bowl completes his seventh season with the Buckeyes, but he's retired once before when he left the University of Florida in 2010 and Price said he would make a good NFL coach if that ever became a consideration.

“Whatever he puts his mind to I think he would be good at,” Price said. “It just depends on what Urban wants to do.”

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Price, who played at OSU from 2014-2017, said Meyer left a lasting impression on him because of the way he builds relationships with his players.

Meyer helped him grow from a three-year starting guard to a Rimington Trophy winner as the nation’s top college center as a senior, and now he’s preparing for his seventh start with the Bengals when they travel to play the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

“The amount of things he’s done for myself the list goes on and on and on,” Price said. “Probably the best aspect of it is the journeys you go on with him. You take a guy like (New York Jets linebacker and Ohio State product) Darron Lee, I saw a bunch of his stuff on Twitter, we both show up and redshirt our freshman year to he’s now one of leaders on the Jets defense. Everybody he puts his hands on actually has an impact, it’s pretty incredible, and his repertoire of guys in the NFL, I think kind of reflect who Urban is.”

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Price is still trying to make his way in the NFL, where he was drafted in the first round to replace Russell Bodine as the Bengals’ starting center.

He missed six games with a foot injury suffered in a Week 2 win over the Ravens and has struggled at times, including botching a snap in a Week 12 loss to Cleveland that led to Andy Dalton needing season-ending thumb surgery. Despite the “rookie mistakes,” Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack is pleased with his development.

“He’s progressing along nice,” Pollack said. “He’s a rookie, so he makes some of those rookie mistakes, but he’s getting better at fine-tuning and limiting some of those. But every game is a new experience for him that he’s not seen or done before at this level, so he’s continued to learn as he should and will keep growing from those. He’s doing a nice job. He’s working real hard, he’s been busting his butt and we’re proud of him.”

Price took a while adjusting to Dalton and the way he wanted the ball snapped, especially as this has been his first real experience snapping to someone under center instead of solely out of the shot gun like at Ohio State.

Now he’s working with new quarterback Jeff Driskel and getting accustomed to his nuances. Both are “learning together on the fly,” Price said. Driskel is preparing for his second NFL start this week.

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“The first time when he got thrown in there against the Browns, there were a couple miscues, communication issues, and after that, we didn’t have any issues going into last week at all,” Price said. “There’s a couple breakdowns here or there, whatever the case may be. Again, I think Jeff is becoming more comfortable, I’m becoming more comfortable, and I think us as an offense because it’s just different, everybody can see it.”

The offensive line did some shuffling around last week with left tackle Cordy Glenn out a second straight game with a back injury and backup Jake Fisher going on injured reserve. Left guard Clint Boling slid over to tackle and Trey Hopkins replaced him at guard.

Price said he could move to guard if necessary but noted that moving from guard to tackle is a huge adjustment, which speaks to Boling’s abilities as a lineman.

Cincinnati’s linemen will be challenged Sunday by a Chargers defensive line that features Price’s former Ohio State teammate, Joey Bosa, and seven-year veteran Melvin Ingram on the ends. Price said Bosa is as good as advertised and the Bengals will have to be on top of their game to keep him off Driskel.

“A freak,” Price called Bosa. “I think that’s probably the unanimous term for him. He’s very big, 6-5, 260, 270, whatever he is at this point, he’s rare that he turn from quickness to power very quickly. I think that he can impact the game whenever he wants. If he wants to flip that switch there’s nobody stopping him. It’s a great challenge for us. It’s going to be fun going against him again.”


Bengals at Chargers, 4:05 p.m., WHIO-TV Ch. 7, Ch. 12, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7

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