Ohio State will be without three starting offensive linemen and several other contributors for Saturday's game at Michigan State.
Starting offensive tackles Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere and center Josh Myers are among a list of 23 players who are unavailable to play in Saturday's game. Backup offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. is also out, leaving the Buckeyes without four players from their offensive line two-deep.
Other key players listed as unavailable on the status report released by the program on Saturday morning include starting middle linebacker Tuf Borland, defensive end Tyler Friday and defensive back Josh Proctor.
|Ohio State Status Report for Michigan State|
WR KAMRYN BABB
LB TUF BORLAND
CB CAM BROWN
WR MOOKIE COOPER
DL JACOLBE COWAN
DL AARON COX
RB MARCUS CROWLEY
DE TYLER FRIDAY
TE PATRICK GURD
WR JAYLEN HARRIS
OT PARIS JOHNSON JR.
DB CAM KITTLE
QB JAGGER LAROE
LS ROEN MCCULLOUGH
OT THAYER MUNFORD
C JOSH MYERS
OT NICHOLAS PETIT-FRERE
DE NOAH POTTER
S JOSH PROCTOR
TE JOE ROYER
WR GEE SCOTT JR.
DB ALEC TAYLOR
S KOURT WILLIAMS
While Ohio State has typically released its status report on Friday mornings, the team waited until less than two hours before Saturday's game to release its list of unavailable players this week due to the increase in positive COVID-19 tests within the program.
The availability report does not specify whether players are unavailable because of COVID-19 or due to injury, but it's known that at least 13 individuals within the program tested positive for COVID-19 last week, and any Buckeyes who tested positive will be unable to return to competition for 21 days from the day they tested positive, per Big Ten protocol.
It's also possible that players could be unavailable due to contact tracing this week but available to return next week if they test negative for COVID-19.
Cam Brown, Jacolbe Cowan, Jaylen Harris and Kourt Williams were all listed on Ohio State's status report for its game against Indiana due to injuries. Brown and Williams are both out for the season due to injuries.
With Myers, Munford and Petit-Frere all sidelined, Harry Miller and Wyatt Davis are the only available offensive linemen who have started games this season. Top candidates to potentially replace them in the starting lineup on Saturday include Dawand Jones and Max Wray at tackle and Matthew Jones and Enokk Vimahi at guard.
“We're missing three starters there, so we're going to have some guys in there that haven't played a lot of football,” Ryan Day, who is also absent from Saturday's game due to a positive COVID-19 test, said on ESPN's College GameDay. “But you come to Ohio State for a reason. You don't come to Ohio State because it's easy, you come here because it's hard, and this is a great opportunity for those guys to step up. There's been great stories of young players who have come in in tough spots and played really well, and they practice for a reason, and they come here to play. So what a great opportunity for these guys to come in in a big spot and have a great game.”
The absence of Borland will leave the Buckeyes without their longtime stalwart at middle linebacker, where Dallas Gant is a likely candidate to take his place in the starting lineup while Teradja Mitchell and Justin Hilliard are other candidates for increased playing time.
Proctor's absence leaves the Buckeyes with almost no experienced secondary depth behind starters Shaun Wade, Sevyn Banks, Marcus Williamson and Marcus Hooker. Friday's absence leaves the Buckeyes without one of the regulars in their defensive end rotation, though they still have plenty of depth there with Jonathon Cooper, Zach Harrison, Tyreke Smith and Javontae Jean-Baptiste leading the way.
Ohio State is also without four members of its coaching staff for Saturday's game: Day, co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis and special teams coordinator Matt Barnes.