Ohio State still hasn't named a starter at the open guard position opposite of Billy Price, but offensive line coach Greg Studrawa did offer up his thoughts on the situation.
The injury to Malcolm Pridgeon set the Buckeyes depth back some, however Studrawa is remaining confident. While most consider true freshman Michael Jordan to be the favorite to win the starting job at guard, Studrawa said he could see three different players vying for that role before the ball is snapped against Bowling Green.
"There are three guys at that guard spot. (Demetrius) Knox, (Matthew) Burrell and Michael Jordan are all doing excellent at that spot," Studrawa said. "There have been so many guys moving around, that I have a pretty good feel that there are seven or eight guys that could challenge for a spot by the time we decide to name them."
With Pridgeon out, the Buckeyes cupboard at both offensive tackle positions looks rather bare. Studrawa said Wednesday that redshirt freshman Branden Bowen has solidified a backup spot at both tackle spots, likely filling in behind the likes of Jamarco Jones and Isaiah Prince. Studrawa also mentioned Tyler Gerald and Gavin Cupp as true freshmen who could possibly crack the two deep depth chart at some point this season.
One spot that is assumed not up for grabs is the center spot, which has been filled by Pat Elflein. After offseason surgery to remove a cyst on his shoulder, Elflein is still being worked back into the mix. While Studrawa said his starting center is back to 100 percent, the Buckeyes are weighing on the side of caution when it comes to bringing him back to full contact drills.
"We are bringing him along slow," Studrawa said. "He has been in the past couple of days doing some things. You notice a bit of solidification when he is in there making the calls, and his confidence and those kind of things. It has been really pleasant the last couple days and I think moving forward, he is going to take more and more reps."
Elflein said he is feeling comfortable and should be back to full go once game week rolls around and shut down any ideas that he could possibly miss game time.
"I will be full go next week and starting against BG," Elflein said.
As for the open guard spot next to him, Elflein weighed in on the talent of Jordan, who started with the No. 1 offense in the spring game despite arriving on campus just three months prior.
"He is huge and he is very athletic. He is picking up the playbook more and more everyday and he is a finisher," Elflein said. "That is what we like to have as offensive linemen."
The Buckeyes are set to kickoff the 2016 season against the Falcons on Sept. 3 at noon in Ohio Stadium.