Ten Thin Big Men

By Johnny Ginter on April 14, 2011 at 1:00p
The Ten Avatars Of OSU

Well thank God we have something to complain about on the offensive line. After what most would categorize as a fairly sucessful 2010 campaign, albeit one that began with a noticable lack of run blocking, two trusted starting seniors departed for parts unknown, five of their backups followed them into the mists of graduation, and Sam Longo decided to take a long, intense journey of self discovery among the ruins of Aam Khas Bagh. No wait, he transferred to Cincinnati. Same thing.

As of now, April 14th, 2011, that leaves the Ohio State Buckeyes with ten offensive linemen on the entire team. Ten plucky young men who have two monumental tasks in front of them: first, to somehow keep an incredibly inexperienced quarterback upright for 5 games while also trying to develop some kind of rhythm among themselves, and two, somehow avoid injuries despite playing a sport that accepts injuries from offensive linemen as a foregone conclusion.

If all of this pressure seems pretty unfair to drop on a group of ten guys, which includes a true freshman and a couple of walk-ons, well... it is. That Jim Tressel and company allowed the OL situation to regress to this point in terms of numbers is pretty ridiculous (although not unexpected, given that since the recruitment of Shugarts, Adams, and Brewster OL recruitment hasn't been given quite the same priority).

Still, as unfortunate as the situation is, it must be dealt with and conquered. For these ten warriors to emerge as victors, they must find within themselves their own Shakti, one of the auspicious qualities of Vishnu that allows him to make the impossible possible.

The Ten

Mike Adams, Mike Brewster, and J.B. Shugarts are pretty well known by most casual Ohio State football fans. Brewster has been an excellent center for three seasons now, and when healthy, Shugarts has done an admirable job at right tackle. Adams quietly had a very good 2010 season, emerging from the apparently very comfortable and spacious Jim Tressel doghouse to hold down the most important job on the line at left tackle. But with Adams suspended and vacancies at guard, some of the non-starters are going to have their work cut out for them matching the play of their predecessors.

Marcus Hall (who enjoyed his own stint in the doghouse at one point) is your most likely candidate to take over at left tackle while Adams is out. Tommy Brown, a massive 6 foot 5, 300 pound freshman who enrolled early, could help add depth at the tackle position. Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, and Andrew Norwell all played last year at a variety of positions and acquitted themselves fairly well, particularly Andrew Norwell. Norwell was a true freshman last year, and filled in admirably for Shugarts when he was out with a foot injury. There's a better than decent chance he'll anchor the line at tackle full time in the near future, while Mewhort and Linsley become guards.

The last two players are walk ons Ben St. John and Ivan Blackman. Ivan Blackman is a transfer from Robert Morris (yes, really), and Ben St. John spent his December as a member of the scout team, helping OSU prep for the Sugar Bowl. Imagine Rudy. Now imagine a dude who could kill him by sitting on him. That's St. John and Blackman.

The Cavalry

Of course, talent really isn't the main worry right now, it's depth. Given how much Bollman likes to rotate players in and out during games, even one injury has the potential to be incredibly disruptive, especially if it's to either Brewster or Shugarts. Luckily, help will arrive in August in the form of freshman Brian Bobek, Tony Underwood, and Chris Carter Jr. Bobek is a future center who is undersized at 6 foot 2 and 275 pounds. He's talented, but a project. Underwood has perhaps the opposite problem, with some questioning whether someone of his size is yet ready for the kind of speed and athleticism he would face at the college level. Both guys will likely be a part of the overall o-line rotation, but don't expect for them to contribute much more than in garbage time.

Chris Carter Jr. had to wait until the legal storm surrounding him subsided to finally become a member of the 2011 recruiting class, but now that he is in it to win it, he makes for a gigantic possible option at guard who has the potential to contribute right away. He is a holy terror of a pulling guard, which means that the coaching staff is one step closer to figuring out a way to run Dave on every single down and still win games.

Overall, though the drama of who will take the quarterback position is probably generating the most interest right now, I think that probably the most important position battles to be played out are going to be on the offensive line. Even if Rod Smith and Braxton Miller are able to run and throw, it isn't going to matter a whole bunch if Norwell and Linsley can't pull and block.


Comments Show All Comments

BuckeyeSki's picture

LOL who is the old dude? I didnt think we were THAT desperate on the line

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Johnny Ginter's picture

well i couldn't find a decent enough picture of ivan blackman so i just used the next best thing that popped up on a GIS (a black man named ivan)

BuckeyeSki's picture


Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Johnny Ginter's picture

ivan blackman is also a black man named ivan, so you can see the irony inherent in the picture

Rooster Buckburn's picture

and, unfortunately, his first name doesn't begin with an "A", otherwise you could have correctly posted any picture of A. Blackman - which would have dripped with irony

Brady's picture

I can't believe it has gotten so thin so fast on the OL.  The lack of recruits the last few years really boggles my mind.  With OSU's reliance on the running game, the lack of bodies scares me to death.  Add in the fact that we will have a green quarterback behind center and the possibility for disaster exists.  Somebody talk me off the ledge.


yrro's picture

It's been a consistent worry with our recruiting strategy. When everything goes right, you have last year's line - excellent players at key position without a lot of recruiting slots used. When it goes poorly, you have 2008.

In a lot of ways, it's all priorities. Recruiting priorities are a large part of why were are ridiculous at the linebacker and defensive line spots.

Maestro's picture

Health is obviously at a PREMIUM this coming season.  Oh, and passing classes please everyone.

vacuuming sucks

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Was it ever disclosed as to why Longo transferred to Cincinnati?

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

Irricoir's picture

I believe it was depth chart issues. I wish it was better clarified because the trolls on Oversigning.com are using that as a constant rebuttal.

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

buckeyedude's picture

I heard it was because he wanted to take Kama Sutra 101(http://www.fhm.com/upgrade/kama-sutra), and unfortunately, isn't offered at OSU. Go figure.



Buckeye_Mafia's picture

We have 10 linemen. How could it be a depth chart issue? Unless he was just pissed he wasn't a starter....and even still. We are no where near exceeding 85 scholarship players....nit arguing with you bro, just not understanding his or the trolls logic on that one.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

blazers34's picture

anyone know about this TP Tweet that Ken Gordon keeps getting asked about?

Jason Priestas's picture

I'm pertty sure it was in reference to a now-deleted tweet where he wanted to clarify that he actually paid for the tattoos and sold his awards for money (I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it).

Imagine OSU compliance shit themselves when they saw it -- ongoing investigation and all.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Yeah just something, as usual, he shouldn't say.

I understand why he would though, as even I get annoyed by people saying that he recieved improper benefits, free tattoos, etc. etc. Some people are just idiots that look no further than the surface or headline title and run with it.

I can't imagine being the one accused.