Veteran Mangold Nervous As Always Before Camp

Center Nick Mangold joins left tackle Rob Sims as returning starters and leaders on Ohio State's young offensive line. Click here for Mangold's comments on his role, getting ready for the start of camp and his thoughts on the newcomers on the line.

Coming back for his junior year, Nick Mangold is one of the elder statesmen on the offensive line at Ohio State.

Mangold, a center by trade, got a chance to play extensively on OSU's national championship team in 2002. Then, last year, the Buckeyes moved returning starter Alex Stepanovich to guard in midseason to make room for Mangold. He started the last 11 games.

But Stepanovich and fellow seniors like Shane Olivea, Adrien Clarke and Bryce Bishop are gone. That leaves Mangold and returning left tackle Rob Sims, also a junior, as the only Buckeyes with appreciable playing experience.

"I'm really excited," Mangold said Tuesday. "I think this is going to be a great year for us. There is a lot of excitement to see how things are going to fall. I think it's going to be a great experience to work with the guys who are my age. It may be more fun for me from that aspect to play with the guys I came in with. It will be different. I've been the young guy and now I'll kind of be one of the older guys.

"I'll be a lot calmer. When I was in there and things get riled up and you get a little anxious. The guys I was in there with, they were calm. That helped me a lot. Hopefully, I'll be able to do the same thing."

Besides Sims, it appears that senior Mike Kne, a former walk-on, will be penciled in at right guard. Sophomore Doug Datish figures to step in at left guard, while the right guard spot was up for grabs between sophomores Tim Schafer and T.J. Downing and redshirt freshman Kirk Barton.

"I don't think anything is set in stone right now," Mangold said. "There is a possibility that any of the five could be switched. Left guard and right tackle are probably the two most uncertain spots with how well they're going to do. But any one of the five (spots) could get switched out.

"The guys that we have here have the full faith in the coaches. That allows us to learn and play the position they tell us without worrying, `Is this the right position for me?' You can just go in there and do the best you can."

The 6-4, 290-pound Mangold made some preseason All-Big Ten lists. He said he worked hard to get ready for the upcoming season.

"I spent my summer going to school, lifting, doing our skill work, watching film and just trying to enjoy the summer a little bit," he said. "I went to Delaware for three days and Atlanta, Ga., for two days as well."

Mangold said he was impressed with the newcomers OSU signed on the offensive line.

"The guys we brought in on the offensive line are great guys," he said. "Steve Rehring has been here since last winter. He went through spring ball, so he knows what's going on. Then, we have the other three – Kyle (Mitchum), Ben (Person) and Jon (Skinner) – come in throughout the summer and doing different things. They all look like they have great potential. I know there is a lot of mental work being done for your freshman year to try and get in there. It will be interesting to see how they do on that. I think they're all capable of being in there and it should add some competition to the offensive line."

Preseason camp will stretch for 2-1/2 weeks. But Mangold said it is a necessary evil to get the team ready for the tough season ahead.

"The first couple days are about getting in and getting settled," he said. "The real fun comes in the middle of it when the pads come on. Everything starts getting going and we're putting in more stuff than we know what to do with. But the first few days are important to get acquainted to what's going on."

Even though he is a veteran, Mangold said he still has the jitters in the hours before practice officially begins.

"I'm nervous coming into camp here," he said. "That doesn't change. But it is different having a sense of confidence and knowing what I need to do."

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