Ohio State won’t be making any changes to its offensive line ahead of the Fiesta Bowl.
Let’s start there.
Jamarco Jones, Michael Jordan, Pat Elflein, Billy Price and Isaiah Prince will be the five up front for the Buckeyes when they take on Clemson on Dec. 31 in a College Football Playoff national semifinal game.
With the recent news junior college transfer Malcolm Pridgeon — who was injured during fall camp and hasn’t played this season — declared himself healthy after he got his black stripe removed, there was the thought Pridgeon might be able to contribute in some fashion — most notably at right tackle where Prince struggled at times this season.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said Thursday at the team’s on-campus media day, however, that while Pridgeon is progressing, he’s not ready to play just yet.
“He’s not prepared to play,” Meyer said. “He’s practicing with us, just individual and not scout work yet. He’s a guy we all love to death. He’s done over and above what we’ve asked.”
“He has two years left, though, so he’ll play for us.”
So the Buckeyes will ride with Prince at right tackle as they have all season. And Meyer knows he — like many of Ohio State’s younger first-year starters — must improve before the Buckeyes play the Tigers on New Year’s Day.
Meyer said he likes Prince’s progress so far.
“I’ve never seen a guy work harder in two weeks since that last game. I mean, ridiculous,” Meyer said. “Even on days off, he’s coming here and getting extra work.”
Clemson's defensive line is one of the best in the country at getting after opposing quarterbacks as the Tigers rank second nationally with 46 sacks. It's going to be a tall task for Ohio State's offensive line as a whole, not just for Prince at right tackle.
The Buckeyes have plenty of confidence in the sophomore from Greenbelt, Maryland, though, and they feel like he'll rise to the challenge when the two teams square off two weeks from Saturday.
“It’s his first year starting as well and he’s just a sophomore,” left tackle Jamarco Jones said, "so just making sure that when stuff goes wrong, we keep him up and stuff like that. He’s a great player, and I’m not worried about him at all.”