Bishop Helps Solidify Line

Fifth-year senior returns as solid piece of OSU's offensive line puzzle.

Senior guard Bryce Bishop has seen a little bit of everything during his time at Ohio State. He was ineligible is first year, redshirted his second and is now entering his third year as a starter.

"I have been through the ups and downs, but I've just tried to get better each year and I think I have," Bishop said. "I just stayed with it and it's nice to contribute to what we're accomplishing around here."

Bishop (6-3, 310) is confident that the Buckeyes' offensive line will be among the Big Ten's best.

"I think it's a great offensive line," he said. "We have four seniors on the line and also we have Rob Sims and Nick Mangold coming in and that is helping out a lot. We have a lot of depth behind us, which helps us compete and pushes us a lot. I think we've been doing real well, but we've still got a ways to go to make it perfect."

Bishop has a starting spot right now, but he can feel the heat on his neck. When Mangold comes in at center and Alex Stepanovich shifts to guard, someone will have to come out. Bishop knows that might be him sometimes, but actually likes the idea of an O-line rotation.

"We have the depth where we can do that now and it will help us all," he said. "I've been hard on myself to make sure I get that much better and keep my spot. I'm trying to get everything perfect, but I know it's not going to be perfect. I'm just trying to work hard each and every day, trying to get myself to that point.

Bishop was one of the Buckeyes that trimmed up in the offseason. He is about 10 pounds lighter and can feel the difference in camp.

"Camp is going to be rough, but it's gone pretty well because I feel like everybody's in a lot better shape than last year," he said. "All of us lost a couple pounds, including myself, and that makes us move better, run a lot better and everything. I think camp has gone pretty well so far."

Ohio State offensive coordinator/O-line coach Jim Bollman has a reputation of being a detailed-oriented guy. He has been known to break out a ruler on the practice field to measure the distance between a lineman's feet. Bishop agreed that Bollman stresses the little things.

"What coach Bollman says all the time is, ‘Think about what you have to do.' That's just another way of saying that he wants us to think about our technique. Make your technique better, that's what you've got to do. You've got to keep that in your head on each and every play. That's going to make you that much better."

The OSU offensive line was a big question mark in camp last year. But this year, it is shaping up to be a formidable unit. Bishop was asked if the group is playing with more confidence this year.

"I never felt our confidence was down; it was always up," he said. "But us being in much better shape and working that much harder up to this point, I think it's going to help us out a lot."

Except when he's ribbing some friends back home in Miami, Bishop doesn't think much about the Fiesta Bowl. He'd rather focus his attention on the upcoming season.

"What's in the past is in the past," he said. "We have to think about just Washington right now. We have to take one game at a time and just do what we've got to do. We've got to work hard like we've been doing to win the game."

Bishop said the players know they are a marked team. They've had it drilled in their heads by the coaching staff.

"I listen to coach (Jim) Tressel and he tells us, ‘The eye is on us.' So, we have to work that much harder because everybody's going to be out to get us and everything, so we have to work harder than we did last year and I think we've been doing that. Better conditioning, better everything."

How much better?

"We've been working three times harder than we did last year," Bishop said. "We started running a lot earlier than we did last year and everything. We're just physically a lot better."

Bishop admits he is counting down the days until the opener.

"I'm real excited," he said. "You can feel it coming closer and closer. We've got 11 more days and it's here. I've been looking forward to it since the last game of last year."

The Bucks will likely start game-planning for the Huskies later this week.

"I think in a couple days we will," Bishop said. "I think today (Tuesday) is our last real hard day. Then we'll start to bring in Washington's plays. We've already watched some film and they are pretty good. They have a good defensive line."


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