The Ohio State offensive line had to replace three starters in 2016, and while some of the new additions flourished, others seemed to struggle.
The Buckeyes got off to a solid start to the year up front as Weber rushed for more than 100 yards in two of his first three games as a starter and Barrett had plenty of time to throw 10 touchdowns in just three games.
However, once conference play started, the Buckeyes became exposed in multiple areas, particularly in pass-rush situations. After allowing six sacks against Penn State, the Buckeyes had to use reserve lineman Branden Bowen as a blocking tight end just to slow down Northwestern’s defensive ends. It worked, as Barrett was sacked just once against the Wildcats, but the Buckeyes didn’t use that package for the rest of the season, when maybe they should have.
Barrett was sacked 11 times in Ohio State’s final two regular-season games, including a whopping eight against Michigan as right tackle Isaiah Prince struggled to slow down Wolverine Taco Charlton, who collected 2½ sacks on his own in the double-overtime thriller.
The Fiesta Bowl proved to be the Buckeyes’ worst nightmare up front as even fifth-year senior center Pat Elflein struggled to contain a stellar interior from Clemson. Ohio State rushed for just 88 yards, 64 of which came on a long Samuel run with the game already out of reach.
When freshman guard Michael Jordan left the game with an injury, the unit seemed to struggle with backup Demetrious Knox in the fold.
All things considered, Jordan and left tackle Jamarco Jones proved to be bright spots up front for the Buckeyes while Elflein and right guard Billy Price were both first-team All-Americans in a year that the unit struggled at times against topflight competition.
BSB Midterm Grade: B+
BSB Second-Half Grade: C+
BSB Final Grade: B-
If you enjoyed this story, you will love Buckeye Sports Bulletin, the newspaper “For The Buckeye Fan Who Needs To Know More” since 1981. For four free trial issues of Buckeye Sports Bulletin with no obligation, click here.