The curious case of Ohio State’s offensive line

Sports

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Part of Ohio State’s offensive line is the most proven, unrelenting unit in the country while the other part is relatively unknown. But even the returning players may find themselves playing a different position this season.

Two of the Buckeyes most important returning starters are on the offensive line: Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere. The offensive tackle duo ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in 2020 for lowest quarterback pressure percentage allowed by a player from a Power Five conference, per Pro Football Focus.

But Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa has been experimenting with a much different setup by putting Munford at left guard while Petit-Frere plays left tackle — a move Studrawa says will help show Munford’s versatility to NFL scouts and general managers.

“Those kids understand what it’s about and it’s not about them. It’s about the team and more so they understand their position. They want to play,” Studrawa said. “They want to be the best offensive line, so they care more about each other than they care about what position I’m playing.”

During Tuesday’s practice, Dawand Jones moved from guard, a position he played most of last year, to right tackle while sophomore Paris Johnson Jr., who came to Columbus as one of the top-rated tackles in the country, has been practicing at guard.

“You play offensive line it’s the most selfless unit on the team,” Johnson said. “If I’m the best fit to be a center this season, the I’m going to be a center, I’ll be a right guard, I’ll be a left guard and I feel like it’s just about going out there and just trying to show versatility and just showing that you can put me wherever and I’ll go out there and play.”

The Buckeyes are replacing All-America guard Wyatt Davis and center Josh Myers who were both taken in the NFL Draft. Harry Miller started at guard in 2020, but he’s been playing center during the first two weeks of fall camp.

“There’s definitely lots of nuances between the positions but luckily I’ve had a year to be able to work and practice and refine things,” Miller said.

Matthew Jones rotated in at offensive guard in 2020 and started in the playoff semifinal and the national championship game against Alabama with Harry Miller out because of COVID-19.

Other players who will see playing time on OSU’s offensive front include redshirt freshman Luke Wypler, redshirt freshman Josh Fryar, true freshman Donovan Jackson and junior Enokk Vimahi.

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