2019 Season Preview: Ohio State's Offensive Line Has High Expectations Despite Only One Returning Starter

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BuckInNashville's picture

It DOES seem odd that we are all walking around feeling great about the depth and athleticism of a line with only 1 returning starter. But go back to last season’s tape and see just how many times Haskins had to pick the ball off the ground from the snap. And how many times in short yardage that Dobbins and Weber were hit in the back field. I mean three or four yards deep in the backfield. It was like we had five tackles with all the length desired for an NFL line, but very little ability to drive block on a run play. 

I think the athleticism that we are all anticipating will translate to a much more balanced attack and a threat in the run game as well as pass protection.

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PhillyNut's picture

I think the term "returning starter" is a misnomer for the experience of this team. You have Jackson who was a 2 or 3 year starter at Rutgers, a captain and all Big Ten player. You have Bowen who, if he had not been hurt in 2017 when starting would probably in the NFL this year. You have Alibi and Davis who were starters in some of the biggest games last season. This is not a situation of trying to find guys from a returning group who did nothing but play in mop up duty last year.

I don't buy one goddam drop of gas in the state of Michigan!

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nickel beer's picture

very little ability to drive block on a run play

What point of the season are you referring to?  A big part of the problem last season was that the O-line didn't know what, or which, was going to happen.  Another part of the problem was that by play design the O-line blocks aren't for driving players back for yards at a time.  Predictability, or the opponent d's ability to easily anticipate, allowed for the opponent not only to counter but call their d aggressively.   

Things changed dramatically once blocking assignments were modified, especially by involving the TE group, and then things went electric once Dwayne started taking off with the ball.  I hate playing the coulda woulda game, but, if this stuff had been worked out much earlier in the season ....  Ntl, I'm amazed out how things did turn out given all of the distraction and handicapping, which to some significant degree really was carried throughout the season and post. 

Anyway, to your observation regarding the optimism, I think ppl feel this remarkable group of Slobs have been already schooled and will this season be 'placed in positions to succeed' by the staff.  Not to mention, there's also likely to be someone at QB who's going to be willing and able to run.

half machine

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BucksHave7's picture

1 O line starter?   I know on paper, but peel it back and we get Jonah, 5 stars and others with lots of PT.

We had a top offense in the country last year.   This year the O line should be better. I will gladly take that.  I know we lost Haskins, but if there is anyone that can step in where Haskins left off and run an offense, its Justin Fields. 

BucksHave7

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JohnnyKozmo's picture

Been saying it a lot, but having true interior guys at the G and C spots this year will make a difference in the run game.  

You're too stupid to have a good time. -Dalton

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darbnurb's picture

Anyone know if Wyatt is 21 yet?

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CowCat's picture

If I had my car parked tonight and was walking out of a bar late, I’d be like, ‘Wyatt, are you here?’ And I’d feel comfortable getting to my car.

Hmm. Late night after a bar. Driving?  Not a good example.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

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BbBnD's picture

Not everyone over imbibes at bars. I’m certainly not one of those people, but I have a cousin that will consistently have 1 or 2 drinks over 5 hours. 

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burriix's picture

There is plenty of depth in the middle. Not as much depth at tackle. That’s why Paris Johnson Jr was so critical to the 2020 class. He’ll be in line for early PT. 

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letsgobucks's picture

I don't know many teams who have more than 4 offensive tackles who can get the job done (munford, bowen, alabi, npf). That could potentially be the deepest in the big this year...

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analyticalguy's picture

It's 2020 when i'd worry about depth at OT, particularly if Munford leaves early for NFL. In 2019 depth at OT is a strength.

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bucks15's picture

Aside from Field’s play, the performance of the offensive line has the biggest range of outcomes that could largely impact this season.  They have all the talent, and questions.

Is Mumford really 100%? How does Jackson mesh? Can Myers continue to recent history of great centers? Davis deliver on his high profile status? Does Bowen trust his leg enough? 

You can make an argument that this could end up as our best all the way to worst position group this year.  

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jonping67's picture

I look for this year line to be MUCH improved over last years o-line. It might take 3-4 games for the line to truly get comfortable playing together, but come game 5, yes looking at you Nebraska, look OUT. 

Barring any injuries, this o-line is going to dominate teams. 

Let's also remember that last years team was running a spread option the first 5-6 games and defenses were keying on the running back because they knew Haskins was not a threat to run the ball. Thus, Dobbins and Weber struggled. Once we moved to a pro-pass offense the running lanes began to open.

I look for this offense to put up just about the same amount of yards and points. However, we will have less passing yards and more running yards than last years team.

My BOLD prediction for the year is JK runs for more than 2,000 yards because the o-line is going to open up holes and Fields can run the option as well as any QB.

GO BUCKS!

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Sterve's picture

Love this prediction and hope it comes true.  Go Bucks!

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allinosu's picture

It only takes one unit struggling to ruin a season. This is the one I'm most concerned about. The talent is there but I'm on the fence about Stud. One way or another I'm off it somewhere during the season. If the offensive line turns out to be a solid strength of the team, then NC here we come.

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2morrow's picture

I believe the OLine will be significantly better than last year.

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Major H's picture

Lots of questions remain about the O line, but every time they line up against LJ's D line in practice, I can't help but think they're getting better.

I'd rather be an hour early than a minute late.

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RBurgundy4's picture

I'm bullish on this unit and fully expect that this group will be a significant upgrade over last season. Will likely take a few games to get their sea legs, but the early schedule is manageable. Excited.
Thorough analysis and a good read, Dan. Thanks.

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Dillon G's picture

Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa believes the state of his position group is the best it’s been since he arrived at Ohio State, and head coach Ryan Day agrees.

Yes. We had 5 tackles, that couldn’t get low for leverage in run blocking, and the option formation was wrong too. It won’t be zone read that improves the running game, it will be better play from the interior along with more play action pass like at the end of the year. 

#walkaway

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BuckeyeinFlorida's picture

Last years O line output was very bad sometimes. Other times it was just not good enough. Losing starters is not always a bad thing if they're not getting it done. Very much looking forward to better results this season. I have to be patient but 2 young men with very bright futures are Matthew Jones and Harry Miller. Can't wait to see a previous problem corrected and a weakness become a new strength.

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analyticalguy's picture

Protecting the QB was excellent, with sacks occurring less than 4% of the time, even though the QB wasn't a proficient scrambler, and even though we passed so often the defense could expect it was coming.

run blocking was sub-par by Ohio State standards, probably due to a number of factors, one of which was having tackles (I.e., pass protectors) across the line.

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dschuetz11's picture

Haskins is a world-class QB with a quick release with electric-fast receivers—a combination that can clever a lot of errors!

Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!

~Judge Judy~

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85ThruTheHeart's picture

*looks at list*

Davis is heaviest at 313.

*scrolls down*

Good lord Dawand Jones is enormous!

"He has that look in his eye when it's time to start feeding the beast" UFM on EZE

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dschuetz11's picture

Urban Meyer talks about how BIG is Michigan’s offensive line—I think BIG is a good thing!

Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!

~Judge Judy~

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buckeye2012's picture

If Bowen starts, he will struggle against speed rushers. Does not have the footwork for the position. 

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buckslan's picture

What are you even basing this on? Tape from 2 years ago?

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CorchUrb's picture

Wyatt Davis is a bad boy. He’s going to have a breakout season

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mtrotb's picture

He should be, he is Alvin Mack's(The Program) son.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9qtuj8zDWM

mtrotb

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BuckeyeinFlorida's picture

We have 4 or 5 Seniors who won't be starting. I hope all get plenty of game time when we have a comfortable lead. God knows they have put in thousands of hours of work to get here.

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IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

We had a bad OL last year? OL was the least of our problems last season.

"You're the patron saint of the totally effed" - Hot Tub Time Machine

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dschuetz11's picture

If OSU plays EVERY game like they played Michigan last year, they will win the national championship!

Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!

~Judge Judy~

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BbBnD's picture

OSU’s inability to run the ball effectively was a major reason they lost the Purdue game. The inability to run wears out the defense as well and contributes to their poor performance. 

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martin anderson's picture

OSU had time of possession for 31 minutes and Purdue had time of possession for almost 29 minutes. Purdue's defense spent more time on the field than did OSU

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fritziebuck's picture

I'm hopeful Munford gets healthy.  I'm not sure about Josh Alabi.   

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southbay's picture

No more "princely" penalties...

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BuckeyeinFlorida's picture

Prince didn't play a lot in his last preseason game. Did he commit a penalty ? You know he did. Holding third team D linemen.

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NOBLUE's picture

Well OSU sure will have alot less penalties with those four gone.......

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martin anderson's picture

The OL coach didn't leave. Have no idea if he is part of the problem or not

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dschuetz11's picture

The offensive line situation sounds in REALLY good shape! To have seven or eight guys that can play is a luxury! Michigan lost one of its right tackles already and now they have six guys who can play! Offensive line takes FOREVER to recruit and build-up with seven or eight ready to go!

Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!

~Judge Judy~

HS