Buckeyes fill holes in spring

With Ohio State already two-thirds of the way through spring football practice, there are still holes to fill for the upcoming season as there usually are yet in the spring.

Of course, the No. 1 question on offense is who will take over at quarterback for J.T. Barrett, with apparently just two candidates that head Buckeye Urban Meyer will have to decide from.

The finalists are Joe Burrow, from nearby Athens (Ohio) High School, who “has been excellent in limited opportunities the last two seasons,” wrote Steve Helwagen of 247sports. com, with the second nominee being Dwayne Haskins, “who pulled OSU’s bacon out of the fire in last year’s win at Michigan,” Helwagen reminded the Buckeye football faithful.

To Helwagen, “Haskins seems like he has the stronger arm,” but adds that “Burrow brings accuracy and perhaps a better ability to impact games with his feet.” Nevertheless, Helwagen’s view is that “they seem to be neck and neck, and each have impressed their teammates quite a bit.”

Helwagen notes, though, that “the public should have a chance to see both of them in action in the (Scarlet and Gray) spring game (next Saturday, April 14) and will draw their own conclusions. But Meyer and his offensive coaching staff will have the opportunity to watch the duo’s full 15 spring practices in considering their decision — which even then might not be a clear-cut choice after spring ball until into the summer.

Another major obstacle in using spring practice to get ready for August’s pre-season grind is always patching up along the offensive line. This time around, however, most of the first-team O-line returns intact, all except for left tackle Jamarco Jones and center Billy Price.

Now, here comes how the line may look after spring drills.

Isaiah Prince, a two-year starter at right tackle, has moved to left tackle in Jones’ vacant spot. Michael Jordan — no, not that one — is slotted in to be back at left guard after starting there the last two years, although being hindered in the spring with a shoulder injury. But senior Malcom Pridgeon could be challenging Jordan after filling in for him this spring.

Another possible duel is at right guard, where senior Demetrius Knox started the second half of last season after junior Branden Bowen exited the spot with a broken leg, but looks to be back for the start of fall camp.

At right tackle, sophomore Thayer Munford has stepped into the line at No. 1 there, while at center, fifth-year senior Brady Taylor is the current front-runner, but with at least three others contenders — redshirt freshman Josh Myers, junior Matthew Burrell and early-enrollee Matthew Jones — for the job.

Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at shemmelgarn@newsandsentinel.com

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