Pat Elflein was comfortable with his new offensive line coach Greg Studrawa immediately.
Ohio State’s new hire met with the one senior in his unit the day he arrived on campus and invited Elflein to dinner that night.
“We had talks that day before and just, you know, kind of got familiar with each other and talked about his family, my family, expectations, what he’s done, what I’ve done, kind of just feeling us out,” Elflein said. “Just feeling each other out, what he’s about, what I’m about, what we’ve got to do together to get this unit going and just all that type of stuff. It was a good dinner and it just kind of set the base for what we want to do.”
Together. That was the key take away from the relationship between Elflein and Studrawa when the redshirt senior spoke to the media today. Studrawa may be the coach, the man in charge of the offensive line room, but the coach knew as well as Elflein did that that unit would not accomplish anything unless it was a collaborative process.
Eflein is the clear leader for the offensive line, named a captain what felt like moments after the Buckeyes won the Fiesta Bowl at the conclusion of the 2015 season. The Pickerington, Ohio, native played in all 14 games as a redshirt freshman, including nearly the entire win over Michigan that season and started the Big Ten Championship game against Michigan State. Elflein started all 28 games for the Buckeyes at guard the past two seasons and will slide to center for the 2016 team.
Given his wealth of experience with the offensive line, there’s plenty that Studrawa can learn from Elflein.
“Our room starts with the leaders in that room. It’s me and it’s leaders in that room that are going to develop and dictate that culture so we show the young guys how to do it because they’re coming in there and there are a lot of young guys in our room right now,” Studrawa said Feb. 3. “Pat and I need to be on the same page as the leaders. I’m not in there as some dictatorship. We’re in this together.”
Elflein said he appreciated the collaborative nature of his interactions with Studrawa and welcomed the change in position coach. Not only will Ed Warinner still be heavily involved as the team’s offensive coordinator and tight ends coach, but adding another voice offers a new perspective, Elflein said, a chance to add new techniques and ways to think about the offensive line.
“We started talking and the first thing he said is we’re going to do this together,” the senior said. “We’ve got to do this together, we’re going to lead together. And (redshirt junior Billy Price), too, obviously. So that was the first thing, we set the ground with that. That’s what we’ve been doing.”
Studrawa is the new man in charge of the Ohio State offensive line, but it’s obvious that for this season he’ll have a coach on the field. This season he and Elflein are doing it together.