The offensive line should be the biggest question mark for the Ohio State football team going into the 2014 season. The O-line was one of Ohio State’s biggest strengths last season, but it consisted of four multiyear senior starters. Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Andrew Norwell, and Marcus Hall are no longer options for Ohio State on the O-line.
Taylor Decker is the only returning starter, and he has flipped from right tackle to left tackle to help with this major transition. Only one other starter has emerged so far this spring, with Pat Elfein ready to replace Marcus Hall at right guard.
This leaves vacancies at right tackle, left guard, and center. One name to watch above all others in this competition is Joel Hale. After the Orange Bowl loss last season, Hale went in to Meyer’s office and asked to switch from defensive line to offensive line because the team needed more help there. I believe that with his size and athleticism, Hale will be able to make the transition to the O-line look easy.
The Buckeyes have an array of talent, young and old, competing for the remaining three spots on the offensive line, though. I believe age and experience will prevail, but don’t be surprised to see a true freshman or two starting for Ohio State come the fall. After all, Urban Meyer is quite the recruiter.
My Projected Starting Offensive Line –
LT Taylor Decker: 6-foot-7, 315 pounds, Junior, Vandalia, Ohio
Decker is the only starter to return to the offensive line this year. He played very well as a part of the Buckeyes dominant O-line last year, and will need to be the leader of this year’s group if they wish to do the same.
LG Joel Hale: 6-4, 310 pounds, Senior, Greenwood, Indiana
Hale was a beast on the defensive line last season, starting eleven games at nose tackle. I believe that he is the type of player to not only learn his new position well, but become a leader on this offensive line.
C Chad Lindsay 6-2, 302 pounds, Senior The Woodlands, TX
Lindsay is a transfer from Alabama. That is all you need to know in order to put him at starting center. Alabama controls the trenches better than any team in college football, and I believe that Lindsay will shine playing against the Big Ten.
RG Pat Elfein: 6-3, 300 pounds, RS Sophomore, Pickerington, Ohio
Elfein is the only new starter that Urban Meyer has already named. He was a part of Urban’s first recruiting class, and will be a crucial piece of this puzzle.
RT Darryl Baldwin: 6-6, 307 pounds, RS Senior, Solon, Ohio
This will be Baldwin’s fifth year with the Buckeyes. He has the size and strength to start, and I believe that Urban will reward his hard work and persistence.