Ohio State Right Tackle Isaiah Prince Learning From 2016 Season Struggles

By Dan Hope on August 8, 2017 at 1:05 pm
Isaiah Prince hasn't shied away from last year's struggles as he prepares for the 2017 season.

COLUMBUS – Ohio State right tackle Isaiah Prince isn’t shying away from his 2016 season struggles.

Instead, he’s looking back on what went wrong last year as he works to improve for 2017.

Prince’s play was much maligned last season, as the then-sophomore first-year starter regularly struggled in pass protection. Prince’s struggles were particularly noted in Ohio State’s loss to Penn State, in which the Buckeyes allowed six sacks, and in the Buckeyes’ overtime win against Michigan, in which the Wolverines had eight sacks.

According to CFB Film Room’s Ryan McCrystal, Prince allowed 39 quarterback pressures last season, the most among all Ohio State offensive linemen. McCrystal used a heat map to show how opposing pass-rushes exposed Prince, in comparison to the Buckeyes’ other offensive linemen, last season:

Despite those struggles, Prince started all 13 of the Buckeyes’ games last season. That was in part because the Buckeyes lacked the offensive line depth to replace him with anyone else. But going through those struggles last year could pay dividends for Prince and the Buckeyes this year.

"I learned a lot from last year," Prince said. "Without last year, I wouldn't have had this growth."

Prince’s growth, according to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, has been among the most profound on the Buckeyes’ entire team.

"He's one of the most improved players on the team right now, and that's A to Z," Meyer said. "That's not just out there in practice, but with (strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti), with the bend and all the things he's struggled with. He's a very serious player right now."

Looking back on his film from last season, Prince identified multiple issues with his technique that he has worked to correct this offseason.

"I definitely played a little too high, footwork wasn’t all that good," Prince said in regards to his 2016 play. "Definitely just got a little better at that throughout this offseason."

Prince believes his biggest change to this year from last year, however, has been his mindset.

"Just simply not hanging my head on mistakes," Prince said. "That was the biggest thing, every time I'd make a mistake I'd hang my head and I'd be so frustrated, it’d just build up play after play after play. And just knowing that I’m not going to play perfect, just keep a good mindset."

“He's one of the most improved players on the team right now.”– Urban Meyer on Isaiah Prince

Jamarco Jones, Ohio State’s starting left tackle, says he has seen a newfound confidence in Prince this offseason.

"He's out there fighting and scratching, doing whatever it takes to protect that quarterback just like the rest of us," Jones said.

Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa has been impressed with Prince’s focus and determination.

"He struggled at times last year and he's taken that to heart," Studrawa said. "His offseason's been outstanding with what we've done so far. His attention to detail, his work ethic and the little things he's been doing are tremendous."

The only member of Ohio State’s 2015 recruiting class who has played in all 26 games over the past two seasons, Prince is one of four returning starters on Ohio State’s offensive line, along with Jones, left guard Michael Jordan and center Billy Price.

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