May 30, 2024


Is Ohio State football getting ready for Michigan with a backup offensive line?


CLEVELAND, Ohio — Along with his role as a vital backup and multiple-year starter at guard for Ohio State football, Matt Jones also had another enduring identity.


Jones’ name was mentioned as a potential replacement each time the starting centre position was vacant. According to the 247Sports composite, he emerged from Brooklyn’s Erasmus Hall High School in 2018 as the country’s best prospect for the role.


However, Jones had never participated at the position for Ohio State until last Saturday. In the second half of a 38-3 victory over Michigan State that was already secured, Jones moved one spot to his left to take Carson Hinzman’s place at centre for a single series. Enokk Vimahi, another veteran, took over at right guard.

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OSU could have kept Hinzman in the game or started backups Vic Cutler or Jakob James if it had wanted to just reward Viamhi for his five years of dedication to the programme by letting him play with the first team. Jones appeared to be playing centre for those ten snaps on purpose, especially considering the impending challenge.



Coach Ryan Day of OSU stated, “We felt like it was good to do at that point because we had a pretty comfortable lead.” There were some nice snaps there, according to our evaluation. When we have the chance, it’s usually a good idea to sort of go see what would happen if we needed to make a change.

According to Pro Football Focus, Michigan’s starting lineup of Cam Goode, Mason Graham, Kenneth Grant, and Kris Jenkins includes four of the top 10 interior defensive linemen in the Big Ten Conference. They serve as the cornerstone of a defence that is ranked in the top 20 nationally in terms of limiting runs (3.23 yards per carry) and defensive quarterback efficiency rating (94.96), which is only surpassed by OSU.



When OSU emerged from its bye week in early October and played a dismal offensive game against Maryland, Day and offensive line coach Justin Frye were questioned about whether lineup adjustments would be taken into consideration.

They both stated that while they thought the personnel was correct at the time, the execution needed to be better. In general, that has occurred, as evidenced by the more consistent play that Jones, Josh Fryar, Donovan Jackson, and Josh Simmons have shown over the past month.



Hinzman has been an exception, leading the team with 17 pressures allowed. The redshirt freshman arguably had the toughest adjustment job this season, after not playing center — and not having a shotgun snap in a competitive environment —until arriving at OSU in winter 2022.

He’s definitely come a long way from where he started to where he is now, Day said. He is the youngest, thogh. He comes inere every day, working hard to improve. He’s also managed some challenging situations so far this year as a redshirt freshman.



A year ago, Ohio State changed their offensive line in The Game. Jones was injured and was unable to play. Josh Fryar took Vimahi’s place at right guard early on in the game. The offence was unable to score more than three points in the second half despite that attempt to stabilise the situation.


Hinzman is still anticipated to be the long-term centre for the Buckeyes. In a position where turnover occurs fairly frequently, he offers an opportunity to age and remain elderly.



The fact that Jones played centre during the game could simply indicate that OSU wanted him to play because he is Hinzman’s backup option. In any case, it is the clearest indication of a long-theorized fact — that, should the need arise, the former high school centre can serve as the Buckeyes’ current one.


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