The offensive tackle situation at Ohio State has been rather interesting over the last year or so.

Last season, the Buckeyes had both of their starting tackles from 2020 returning. Left tackle Thayer Munford and right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere were arguably the best duo in the nation. During fall camp, however, the world’s largest wrench was thrown into the mix when Dawand Jones was put at right tackle, Petit-Frere went to left tackle, and Munford went to left guard.

The move was made in order to get the five best offensive linemen on the field, which is also why former five-star left tackle Paris Johnson was starting at right guard as a sophomore.

Fast-forward back to the present and things are once again worth watching at tackle for the Buckeyes. Paris Johnson has now finally moved to left tackle, and Dawand Jones returns as a starter at the same position he played a year ago.

Neither player is a finished product, of course. New Ohio State offensive line coach Justin Frye has now spent the last five months with the both of them, trying to maximize their considerable potentials.

As to where Johnson and Jones made their largest strides in spring ball, Frye cited the mental side of things.

“Just understanding the inner workings of the game,” he said. “The tackle position, Dawand has taken a lot of reps, Paris is moving back out there. Just the understanding of when I have help, when I don’t have help. From one slide side versus man side, what can I do cutting my splits, doing some things. I think the inner workings and tools of the game really, those guys started to gravitate and grab on to like, ‘Oh, this is the play where I can do this and this will help me.’ So that eliminates and trims some of the fat in the plays as you go.”

Working on the nuances can also be considered finishing touches, which is where both players are in their respective careers. Jones could have left for the NFL after last year and let the chips fall where they did. Instead, he bet on himself to have an even better hand this year. At 6-foot-8 and 360 pounds, Jones is impossible to miss. There will be a lot of NFL eyes on him, and he won’t be alone because Johnson is already popping up in the top 10 of mock drafts for 2023. He has the size and athleticism that left tackle requires, but now it’s time to put the proof out there for all to see.

“He’s a highly skilled guy,” Frye said of Johnson. “He’s going to blow the Combine out of the water. He’s gonna test well, he’s going to jump well, he’s going to do the interview phase well. I mean, this a high-level player, we just have to get him there to play that. Because ultimately, that’s what you’ve got to do. When you press play, you gotta play like a first-round draft pick. So yeah, all these guys respond to that.”

Even though Johnson is only a true junior, people look at his recruiting rankings and his considerable potential and assume this will be his last year at Ohio State. It very well may be, but the last Buckeye offensive linemen who left after his true junior season and was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft was Orlando Pace in 1997. It’s just not easy to do.

Likewise, Jones could come back in 2023 thanks to the COVID year, but most expect this to be his last season with the Buckeyes.

If each player focuses on simply becoming the best version of himself, the draft will be a tremendous byproduct. But could it create a different level of pressure for the players? Even if it does, Frye doesn’t see it becoming a distraction because both Jones and Johnson have been extremely focused to this point.

“Personally, I wouldn’t know [if it creates extra pressure],” Frye chuckled as he shared experiences from his own playing days. “I was always that guy who was, ‘Eh, he’s a starter, he played a lot of games. He’s tough.’ You know, all those adjectives. ‘He’s a tough guy. He’s a great kid. He’s a smart football player,’ which just means you’re just not good enough. So I never had that problem.

“I would assume so, but Paris and Dawand, all those guys that are coming into the back end of their career now and start seeing the stuff. They’re locked in. I get videos and calls from Dawand at home right now and he’s on his break, like ‘Coach, I’m doing this set. Is this good?’ They’re just workers. They just want to be great. So, you know, whatever you guys write, whatever’s on the TV, yeah that’s out there. You can’t say ‘oh, they don’t see it.’ But I just have a good feel with these guys right now. They just want to work and be their best. Whatever happens is supposed to happen.”

Join the Conversation

8 Comments

  1. The offensive tackle situation at Ohio State has been rather interesting over the last year or so.

    Last season, the Buckeyes had both of their starting tackles from 2020 returning. Left tackle Thayer Munford and right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere were arguably the best duo in the nation. During fall camp, however, the world’s largest wrench was thrown into the mix when Dawand Jones was put at right tackle, Petit-Frere went to left tackle, and Munford went to left guard.

    The move was made in order to get the five best offensive linemen on the field, which is also why former five-star left tackle Paris Johnson was starting at right guard as a sophomore.

    Fast-forward back to the present and things are once again worth watching at tackle for the Buckeyes. Paris Johnson has now finally moved to left tackle, and Dawand Jones returns as a starter at the same position he played a year ago.

    Neither player is a finished product, of course. New Ohio State offensive line coach Justin Frye has now spent the last five months with the both of them, trying to maximize their considerable potentials.

    As to where Johnson and Jones made their largest strides in spring ball, Frye cited the mental side of things.

    “Just understanding the inner workings of the game,” he said. “The tackle position, Dawand has taken a lot of reps, Paris is moving back out there. Just the understanding of when I have help, when I don’t have help. From one slide side versus man side, what can I do cutting my splits, doing some things. I think the inner workings and tools of the game really, those guys started to gravitate and grab on to like, ‘Oh, this is the play where I can do this and this will help me.’ So that eliminates and trims some of the fat in the plays as you go.”

    Working on the nuances can also be considered [I]finishing touches[/I], which is where both players are in their respective careers. Jones could have left for the NFL after last year and let the chips fall where they did. Instead, he bet on himself to have an even better hand this year. At 6-foot-8 and 360 pounds, Jones is impossible to miss. There will be a lot of NFL eyes on him, and he won’t be alone because Johnson is already popping up in the top 10 of mock drafts for 2023. He has the size and athleticism that left tackle requires, but now it’s time to put the proof out there for all to see.

    “He’s a highly skilled guy,” Frye said of Johnson. “He’s going to blow the Combine out of the water. He’s gonna test well, he’s going to jump well, he’s going to do the interview phase well. I mean, this a high-level player, we just have to get him there to play that. Because ultimately, that’s what you’ve got to do. When you press play, you gotta play like a first-round draft pick. So yeah, all these guys respond to that.”

    Even though Johnson is only a true junior, people look at his recruiting rankings and his considerable potential and assume this will be his last year at Ohio State. It very well may be, but the last Buckeye offensive linemen who left after his true junior season and was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft was Orlando Pace in 1997. It’s just not easy to do.

    Likewise, Jones could come back in 2023 thanks to the COVID year, but most expect this to be his last season with the Buckeyes.

    If each player focuses on simply becoming the best version of himself, the draft will be a tremendous byproduct. But could it create a different level of pressure for the players? Even if it does, Frye doesn’t see it becoming a distraction because both Jones and Johnson have been extremely focused to this point.

    “Personally, I wouldn’t know [if it creates extra pressure],” Frye chuckled as he shared experiences from his own playing days. “I was always that guy who was, ‘Eh, he’s a starter, he played a lot of games. He’s tough.’ You know, all those adjectives. ‘He’s a tough guy. He’s a great kid. He’s a smart football player,’ which just means you’re just not good enough. So I never had that problem.

    “I would assume so, but Paris and Dawand, all those guys that are coming into the back end of their career now and start seeing the stuff. They’re locked in. I get videos and calls from Dawand at home right now and he’s on his break, like ‘Coach, I’m doing this set. Is this good?’ They’re just workers. They just want to be great. So, you know, whatever you guys write, whatever’s on the TV, yeah that’s out there. You can’t say ‘oh, they don’t see it.’ But I just have a good feel with these guys right now. They just want to work and be their best. Whatever happens is supposed to happen.”

  2. [QUOTE=”VBCoach, post: 601425, member: 1846″]
    They have already shown that Donovan Jackson would slide out to LT. He is a 5 star. They then have four star Christman. 4 star Michalski, 3 star Fryar who has played better than his rating, 4 star Tegra Tshabola that everyone forgets about, and 4 star Fitzpatrick who has been exactly what I said he would be. You don’t think they can get two good tackles out of that?
    [/QUOTE]
    I think it’s a concern when your future left tackle is currently a guard and all of your other tackles are right tackles or guards and you don’t even know which is which yet, except for maybe Zen Michalski who probably isn’t a guard. That being said, it was clear from his HS tape that Donovan Jackson had the feet to play tackle. The coaches have hinted to it as I’ve [URL=’https://buckeyescoop.com/community/threads/what-i-know-what-i-think-what-i-wonder-spring-2022-midpoint-edition.15188/’]mentioned here several times [/URL]and I’m on record as having him as the LT next year. I was very impressed with George Fitzpatrick in the spring game. He moved up my rankings for 2023 quite a bit. Josh Fryar will battle to be the sixth man this year and he’s probably my pick to be the RT next year, but I need to see more from him at ONE position. Nobody else at this point has pushed me past any kind of tipping point to thinking they’re in the starting lineup next year at tackle. It’s still early … but it’s also getting later by the day. I think they’ll be fine. But you say “good tackles” and I say “fine” and we can ask ourselves if that’s good enough. I’m not sure it is. Fortunately, if they have issues, they can go grab the best RT in the portal because there will actually be a job available for him.

  3. [QUOTE=”VBCoach, post: 601457, member: 1846″]
    I think you are completely wrong. Worrying about a guy playing guard is worthless. We have a LT now who played OG last year. There is this false notion that if you play OG then there is something wrong with you and you can’t play OT. I have no idea where that came from. If you can play OT then you can play OT. Its really that simple. Whether you took snaps at OG is meaningless. It just meant you were one of the 5 best and you got on the field. We see it happen all over college football and yet on here its this taboo thing.

    Michelski and Fitzpatrick are not guards. But if someone else can play guard now and move out to OT later, it does not matter. It is actually humorous that there is a fear of this when there are examples right in front of us OSU fans showing that its just fine. PJ played RG and now will be a LT. Munford was a LT who moved to LG, the greatest team move in the history of OSU football to be honest. No one would have been real worried if he had to move out to LT. Then Jackson is a LG who took lots of reps this spring at LT and is the future there. Why is this an issue? What is the “concern”? No one gives a crap if a Will moves to Mike. What if a Sam moved to Will? Oh dear God!!!! Its football. The best play. Pigeonholing them into a spot is not smart. With the way the game is going, depth is a thing of the past. If you have a talented LT at 3rd team, he is gone.

    The issue isn’t talent. The issue is reps. That will always be the case in football. You don’t know about them not because they do not have the talent. You don’t know about them because you have not seen quality reps from them. You say a job will be available. Thats not true. What will be there is a spot that someone could compete for. The notion that it will be their spot is false. I gave enough names to show that is not the case. Someone could come in from the portal and compete for the spot, but it will not be handed to them. Its not like there is no one there.

    The only issue so far has been injuries. Fryar,Leroux, and Christman missed a lot of the spring. Thats why you do not know much about them. Heck, its why we all do not know much about them yet. Again, its a lack of reps.
    [/QUOTE]
    I’m not worried about a guy playing guard. The concern is a GUARD playing tackle. Matt Jones is not a tackle. He is a guard (or a center). Your two examples of Munford and Paris Johnson playing guard is misplaced here because those two guys were/are tackles. The concern is that they have to play a guy who would normally be a guard at tackle. Playing guard isn’t some scarlet letter. But there are guard-types and there are tackle-types and there are tweeners, as you know. Tweeners at tackle can cause issues. Guards at tackle will definitely cause issues. Josh Myers learned right away as a freshman that he wasn’t a tackle at Ohio State. Josh Myers was a great Ohio State offensive lineman. Not everybody can be a tackle is basically my point, and we don’t really know who is where at this point because of injuries and the fluid need to fill out a two-deep during practice.

  4. [QUOTE=”VBCoach, post: 601473, member: 1846″]
    OK, that makes sense. Yes, there are guys who are suited to play guard and not tackle. Just like guys are suited to play DT and not DE I guess. But occasionally you will see a good young DE get reps at DT because he is good enough and earned it. Its the same for some guys at OG. Jones will probably never be an OT. That doesn’t mean we need to worry about others doing it.

    I was not misplaced at all. This was your statement “I think it’s a concern when your future left tackle is currently a guard”. You said that. That was the statement I was proving to be wrong, and did so successfully. In no way is the fact that a future LT is now playing a guard and “concern”. Again, those were your words. Do I wanted Jones playing LT? No, definitely not. However, I have no issue with Jackson doing it as I have seen it with my own eyes and was just fine with how he did there. You keep pigeonholing guys. You say Munford is an OT playing OG. You say PJ is an OT playing guard. This is false. They were OGs. Thats the position they played. If we want to be precise, they are football players and offensive linemen. Where they started at is meaningless. They were one of the five best so they started.

    Josh Myers was an OG in high school in a wing-t offense. If anyone thought he was going to be successful right away at OT, then they were crazy. But to your point, yes not everyone is meant to be an OT. What I am saying is that just because you play OG does not mean you can not slide out to OT. There should not be a “concern” when it happens. The five best should play as long as it can work.
    [/QUOTE]
    It is a concern when your future left tackle doesn’t play much tackle. It’s not the end of the world, but generally you’d like next year’s left tackle to have experience playing tackle in a game — like Paris Johnson has. Just like any other position, you’d like them to have experience playing that position in a game. But again, I am completely confident in Donovan Jackson and I think he will do very well. But when the guy with the least amount of worries at tackle is a true sophomore who has only played the position in small snippets in practice, that’s far from ideal.

  5. [QUOTE=”VBCoach, post: 601514, member: 1846″]
    Would you rather have a Paris Johnson in there who last year started all year at RG or would you rather have a Paris Johnson in there who last year backed up Munford all season but got reps at LT and not RG? You seem to suggest that you want the later.

    I would never be concerned about a guy who got quality snaps being in there. I don’t care where the snaps occurred. If my #1 corner last year was my nickel corner, I could care less. He got reps. He got snaps. He was in the fire. Yet no one every worries about this. But if a guy has to slide from OG to OT happens? Then there is “concern”. You don’t see the hypocrisy of that? I get your point that you don’t want every single guard playing LT. Jones shouldn’t play LT. Myer should never have played LT. That doesn’t mean there should be concern over Paris or Jackson doing it.
    [/QUOTE]
    I don’t have an issue with Paris Johnson playing guard. I’m not worried about the semantics of it. I think there are concerns when you don’t know if your linemen are guards or tackles. That’s all. I don’t see that as being a controversial statement.

  6. [QUOTE=”VBCoach, post: 601512, member: 1846″]
    Were they supposed to play meaningful snaps? I do not understand. This is how football works. How many meaningful snaps did CJ Stroud have before he started? He has ZERO pass attempts. It is how the game works. You have a starter and then he leaves. A backup has to come in.

    Why are we not worried about the QB position next year like we are the OT position? See what I mean? We will lose a first round pick at QB. There is a high standard there at that spot. Yet there is no one saying they are concerned? It is what it is.
    [/QUOTE]
    Because we know who the quarterbacks are. They play quarterback. Not quarterback and sometimes tight end. And they’re all very highly touted. Plus, Kyle McCord already has a start and threw for 300 yards in that game. The options at tackle are not as highly touted (no, recruiting is not the end-all, be-all) and we don’t know who they are. Taking a stab at next year’s starting five, I could go with something like this …

    LT Donovan Jackson
    LG ??? Ben Christman?
    C Luke Wypler
    RG Enokk Vimahi
    RT Josh Fryar

    Ideally, somebody other than Josh Fryar steps up at tackle so that he can play inside. Fryar and Vimahi are two of the top 7 this year, so they’ll be two of the top 5 next year along with Wypler and Jackson. Who that No. 5 is will impact the tackle position whether or not he’s actually a tackle imo. It would obviously be better if they had more clarity, but they’ve got time for things to clear up. Let’s see how George Fitzpatrick and Zen Michalski do outside this year. Ben Christman maybe too. I think any of those three could be the guy at RT.

    But as the saying goes, if you’ve got four right tackles, you ain’t got one.

  7. [QUOTE=”VBCoach, post: 601752, member: 1846″]
    I asked this question earlier and you never answered it.

    Would you rather then have a Paris Johnson playing LT this year after he started all season at RG or would you rather have a Paris Johnson playing LT having taken mop up snaps at LT?

    As for the rest, that is why they hired Frye.

    Also, the example of QB to TE is not in the same world as RG to LT. You are making a mounting out of a mole hill here.
    [/QUOTE]
    I’d rather have Paris Johnson having a year of starting a guard under his belt. Of course. That’s never been part of the argument here. He has tackle measurables and abilities and was always going to be a left tackle. My argument has basically been would you rather have Wyatt Davis at tackle or Dawand Jones at tackle? The Buckeyes are hoping all of their tweeners can play tackle. If a guy can’t play tackle, you move him inside to see if he can play guard. Conversely, if a guy can’t play guard, you generally don’t move him outside to see if he can play tackle because you already know the answer. Not unlike moving a corner who can’t play corner to safety. Rarely do you move a safety who can’t play safety to corner.

  8. [QUOTE=”VBCoach, post: 601756, member: 1846″]
    This dude started 8 game at LG and then in the middle of a season moved to LT. He is the PFF second rated OT going into this season. The horror though of a guard moving to tackle must have caused nightmares for everyone on the west coast!!! :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:

    [URL unfurl=”true”]https://usctrojans.com/sports/football/roster/andrew-vorhees/12737[/URL]

    Anyone here think that Lincoln Riley has an issue with this dude having taken snaps at guard?

    This crazy bastard moved from handiman to right tackle and then to left tackle!!! He is PFFs #4 ranked OT coming into this season.
    [URL unfurl=”true”]https://clemsontigers.com/sports/football/roster/jordan-mcfadden/[/URL]

    This one is just mind blowing. He has started at RT, LG, and LT!!!!! PFFs 5th ranked OT coming into this season.
    [URL unfurl=”true”]https://www.kstatesports.com/sports/football/roster/cooper-beebe/8504[/URL]

    Then there is this guy…………….
    [HEADING=2][B]6. [/B][URL=’https://www.pff.com/college/grades/position/qb’][B]PARIS JOHNSON JR.[/B][/URL][B], [/B][URL=’https://www.pff.com/college/grades/position/qb’][B]OHIO STATE BUCKEYES[/B][/URL][/HEADING]
    Johnson will be moving back to tackle in 2022 after spending his debut starting season at right guard as a sophomore in 2021. Despite not playing his natural position at tackle, the 6-foot-6, 315-pound five-star recruit earned a 79.1 PFF grade that ranked 16th among Power Five guards. From Week 4 on, Johnson posted an 83.5 PFF grade that ranked seventh. He was third in run-blocking grade and allowed just five pressures — none of which were a sack or a hit — over that nine-game span.
    [/QUOTE]
    Voorhees has tackle measurables. He’s 6-6 and 325 pounds. Again, playing guard isn’t a plague. Not being able to play tackle is the concern. I don’t think you’re having the same conversation as everybody else here.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Exit mobile version