Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Andrew Norwell, Marcus Hall, all gone. Carlos Hyde, gone. Philly Brown, gone. Braxton Miller, injured.
Needless to say, there are some holes in Ohio State’s high-powered offense this spring. But the Buckeyes aren’t worried. They’ve reloaded, and in only two days of practice, potential starters and leaders are emerging.
In the first year of the four-team playoff, there are high expectations in Columbus. The football-mad city is depending on the unit to contribute to another memorable season.
- Offensive line coach Ed Warinner said Taylor Decker was the best linemen at the end of last season. He expects Decker to continue playing at that level this year.
- The starting offensive line could be decided in the spring or late-August, Warinner said. He’s going to be patient and make the right decisions. There’s no fire drill.
- When mentioning true freshman Marcelys Jones, Warinner dropped a “wow.” He said Jones could crack rotation as a freshman.
- Antonio Underwood is 100 percent after suffering a torn ACL during fall camp last season. Warinner is pleased with what he’s seen so far.
- Taylor Decker said there’s a sense of urgency on the O-Line. He said guys are working hard to show a good impression.
- Decker said he's embraced a leadership role. Jacoby Boren named himself, Decker and Pat Elflein as leaders.
- The most important thing for new linemen, according to Decker, is to develop confidence and be consistent.
- Decker said the focus isn’t on who’s been lost, but who remains. The offensive line is concentrating hard on improving and developing together as a unit.
- Battling for the starting center position are Boren and Billy Price. Boren is the presumptive starter and working with the ones, but he said Price is competing well.
- Learning from Warinner and Corey Linsley has benefitted Boren greatly, he said. Right now, tempo and establishing good communication is key. That’s one of the biggest responsibilities for any center.
- Offensive coordinator Tom Herman said it’s a blessing in disguise that Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett are getting so many quality reps with the first-team offense. Come fall, Herman said he’s 100 percent confident OSU will have one or more reliable backup quarterbacks.
- Jones and Barrett each have strengths and weaknesses. At the moment, Herman wants to work on strengths, then try and correct deficiencies.
- The competition at backup quarterback and offensive line has upped the competition, according to Herman.
- Herman’s reaction when asked if 10- second rule has any merit: raised eyebrows, wry smile.
- Herman said the Braxton cam is used to keep him involved this spring and hold him accountable with responsibilities. So far, Herman’s been impressed with the audio part. He said they’re trying to keep Miller involved and accountable.
- Part of the reason for the video is to get Miller up to speed on terminology. Herman said he’s football smart, but he just needs to work on explaining what he sees in football terms. It will be a major benefit next year when NFL personnel interview him.
- Stephen Collier is fine, Herman said. They talked today and Herman said Collier told him he’s trying to survive. Herman said the freshman is doing OK in drills and just learning.