Injuries Have OSU Offensive Line Shuffled

When he met with the media Saturday, OSU offensive coordinator and line coach Jim Bollman confirmed the status of super recruit Mike Adams as well as the rest of the happenings among his charges so far this spring.

Spring is not the season for renewal along the offensive line at Ohio State, but the hope is summer will be.

Three scholarship linemen have gone down with injuries during the first half of spring drills, meaning six members of that group are currently on the sidelines, although all could be healthy again by the time the 2008 season starts in August.

The latest loss is Mike Adams, a five-star recruit from nearby Dublin Coffman High School who twice aggravated an old shoulder injury in the past week, meaning he is out for an undetermined length of time.

Also nursing injuries as of Saturday were Jon Skinner, a fifth-year player who missed all of last season with a knee injury, and sophomore Josh Kerr.

Bollman said Skinner was looking good during the first couple of days of practice before the knee injury flared up again, while Kerr was thriving as the second-team guard before he twisted an ankle. OSU offensive coordinator and line coach Jim Bollman gave no timetable for a possible Skinner return but said he believed Kerr would miss the remainder of spring drills, which conclude April 19.

In going to the injured list, the trio of Skinner, Kerr and Adams joined senior guards and returning starters Steve Rehring (shoulder surgery) and Ben Person (foot surgery) along with freshman Mike Brewster (shoulder surgery), all of whom were declared out before spring practice began.

Bollman was not quick to quantify Adams' loss nor speculate on when the player might return.

"It's a little bit too early to make assessments on (playing time this fall) but he certainly has a very bright future. He was showing well enough to make you very excited about being here."

The coach speculated that had Adams suffered the injury in midseason while playing a meaningful role with the team, playing through it could have been an option.

"Everybody comes back from injuries a lot differently from everyone else," Bollman said. "That's just an individual basis, but (Adams' shoulder) will certainly be something that you want to be conservative with."

Prior to the injury, Adams was among those battling for the lone open starting spot on the offensive line: right tackle.

Sophomore Bryant Browning is the front-runner for that job while sophomore Andrew Miller and freshman J.B. Shugarts share the No. 2 spot.

Given the injuries to Person and Rehring, the top line has quite a different look this spring than it did last fall.

Senior Alex Boone and junior Jim Cordle return at left tackle and center, respectively, while senior Kyle Mitchum and sophomore Connor Smith are holding down the respective left and right guard spots.

Person said he expects to return to health around mid-June, while Rehring has another three weeks of recovery time. Both are likely to regain their spots upon returning, but the experience others have gained with them on the sidelines figures to make the group stronger in the long run.

"It's been great for Connor Smith and Bryant Browning to get as much work as they have gotten this spring," Bollman said. "That's been a really good deal for them… They are third-year guys. It's time for them to get rolling and be part of the deal."

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