No Shortage of Candidates, But Ohio State Needs Right Fits on New-Look Offensive Line

By Patrick Maks on August 17, 2014 at 6:00a
The torch was passed.

Dear Ohio State offensive lineman,

We hope this letter finds you (insert name: Jacoby Boren, Chad Lindsay, Antonio Underwood, Joel Hale, Chase Farris, Billy Price) well and, especially, healthy (two-a-days are rough we hear). 

We’ve carefully reviewed your application to be a starting offensive lineman at Ohio State and, well, this is sort of awkward, but we’re not ready to make a decision. At least not yet.

“The good thing is we have a couple names in there,” coach Urban Meyer said Saturday. “The bad thing is it’s not solidified yet.”

Don’t get us wrong. We really like you, and we see a lot of potential in how you can help us this season. You, like most of our applicants, are on this team for a reason. Meyer brought you here for a purpose. You’re unusually big, really freaking strong and have quick hands and quicker feet.

"The thing that’s interesting is we have a lot of different parts or pieces to choose from," offensive line coach Ed Warinner said two weeks ago. "We’ve got a lot more choices. We have to see who rises to the top.”

But we can’t just hire anybody to fill the vacancies at left guard and center.

As I’m sure you know, we lost four multi-year starters in Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Marcus Hall and Andrew Norwell. Boy, they were good. They made up a unit that’s regarded by some as one of the best offensive lines in school history. It’s why we hope you understand why this process is taking us so long. We’re intent on making the right hires. We need the right fits.

The good news: you’ve made it to the final round of the process. You’ve beat out the likes (at least, so far) of talented players like freshmen Demetrius Knox, Jamarco Jones, Marcelys Jones, Kyle Trout, Evan Lisle, and Brady Taylor. Those guys will be studs someday, but they’re young. In a season where we’ll be expected to compete for a Big Ten and national championship, we don’t have much room for young.

“What we lack is experience. But I think we’re going to have enough talent. I know we have a good work ethic. They’re tough. They train hard. We just have to get them up to speed. Experience comes from playing,” Warinner said.

And we need experience. We need someone who can make an impact from day one. In Taylor Decker, Pat Elflein and, most recently, Darryl Baldwin, we’ve found that. As I’m sure you already know, they’re starting offensive lineman and it’s not by accident.

We already know what we’re getting physically and athletically with all of you. What matters now is we need someone who gets the team’s culture.

“(It’s) very high effort. We’ve really taken that to heart. We’re all high character guys,” Baldwin said last spring. “We just need to be very consistent. That’s what we need to be as an offensive line – develop a consistency and really play well together.”

Added Decker: “I became a good player because of the culture created in the offensive line room. I believe 100 percent in that. We have a culture in that room, and I either had to become better or I wasn't going to play.”

Maybe most of all, we need you to understand that, no, we’re not going to expect you to be 2013’s offensive line. That’s an awfully tall order and, really, it’s probably an unfair expectation.

But we need you to be good. Really good. Our offense, and a tidal wave of momentum from last season, are counting on you.

We’ll be in touch by the end of next week.

All the best,

Ohio State


Comments Show All Comments

gumtape's picture

Fantastic read Patrick. However, now we will all be expecting new content every sunday morning, up until opening kickoff.

High and tight boo boo

+9 HS
buckeyes763's picture

Here's some good news for you, Patrick, and everyone: There's ONLY ONE more Sunday morning after this before opening weekend.

+3 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

Stay healthy (and thirsty) my friends.

+2 HS
niblick's picture

No metion of kyle dodson does not bode well for him

DC-town's picture

They won't be last years line.  Instead of following that up with a 'but', every fan needs to let that sink in for a minute.  Last year we had four rocks and one new guy named decker that got baptized by getting pushed around by Khalil Mack- which made him better.  That will need to happen a few times with these new guys-  

they'll be a good osu line...and hopefully a lot better when we start big ten play, regardless will be fun to watch

'Piss excellence' -RB

+2 HS
buckeyedude's picture

 Last year we had four rocks and one new guy named decker that got baptized by getting pushed around by Khalil Mack- which made him better.

Great post and I can't agree with you more, DC. Decker got his butt handed to him by Mack, but in the end it made him a better player. I just hope that the inexperience doesn't cost us a game. It would really help if the defense would step up and play like the Silver Bullets of old which would take some of the pressure off of the offense and give them time to learn and grow.



d5k's picture

Mack handled Mewhort pretty well too.  Luckily I don't think we have another Mack coming for us early in this season.  Although Bud Foster's defenses are typically pretty good.

+1 HS
Boxley's picture

Not to mention, but this unknown Khalil Mack was alos a  first round draft pick this year. He was much better than anyone else we faced last year in his position.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

+1 HS
jonping67's picture

Our new o-line is going up against arguably the best d-lines in the nation every day in practice, so I expect them to be clicking on 8 out of 10 cylinders by the time we hit the field against Navy and 10 out of 10 cylinders when we head to East Lancing.

Our offense may not be as good as last years offense starting the season, but I believe it will be come November.

In Urban and Ed we trust!


+7 HS
RBuck's picture

Good point.

Long live the southend.

ibuck's picture

I think you mean the offense will be better than it was at the end of last season.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

Nairion's picture

Why did you choose 10 cylinders? We are most definitely a V12!

808buckeye's picture

If anyone has AT&T uverse you can officially DVR buckeye navy game

seize the carpe

-1 HS
808buckeye's picture
+3 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

Got it!  But - what channel will it be on?  I don't think I have the CBS Sports channel in our package...

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

burnest1420's picture

We're pretty good when we got a guy by the name of Boren on the field. I wish Mr&Mrs Boren had more kids. 

+2 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

Went by the stadium the other night.  Hopefully we get some more closeups and some different angles from the 11w staff when it is totally finished but the seats are done, the tunnel needs some final touches 

+3 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

Agreed, the O-line goes against one of the best D-lines in practice every day and that should make them solid. Positions still up for grabs helps the competition and improves the players. Sounds like a very great attitude from the players and Coach Warinner. They may lack experience but several have been in the program 3-4 years, so that should help. Who knows, they may have been starters last year, on teams with a lesser line than what the Buck's had.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

+1 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

I have faith in Ed W.

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

+1 HS
chirobuck's picture

I think in two years we will again have one of the best lines in the country especially if Decker sticks around for his last year


^ best post ever ^

Vinsaniti's picture

Ed is miles ahead of where he was 3 years ago when he came in. Great guys in the program now and he will make sure the best 5 are out there. I have faith in him and Urb to make this a very good line this year.

Citrus's picture

Its encouraging that Chad Lindsay is still fighting for a spot. Speaks well of the talent battling for the starting C and LG position.

+2 HS
BuckNutzGasMan's picture

I hope Ed doesnt leave with Herman