Left Tackle Position Wide Open At Ohio State

No position figures to get more scrutiny at Ohio State this spring than left tackle, and what offensive coordinator and line coach Jim Bollman told reporters Friday night did nothing to change that.

For those seeking quick closure in the battle at left tackle, Jim Bollman had bad news Friday night.

"We'll just keep rolling those guys throughout there until we feel like we're settled, but it's nice that we have four guys that have some experience," Ohio State's offensive coordinator and line coach said. "We'll see how things evolve. There are four guys that will play at left tackle before the spring is over."

The four of whom he spoke are senior Andy Miller, juniors Mike Adams and J.B. Shugarts and sophomore Marcus Hall.

Adams got the first crack at reps with the first team on Thursday when spring practice opened, and Miller took over on day two.

Shugarts played right tackle with the first team both days, while Hall was on the second team both days. The youngest member of the battle spent most of his time at right tackle on day one before shifting to the left side on day two while Adams held down the No. 2 right tackle spot.

"It's evident that there are seven guys who have experience," he said, referring also to the starting inside trio of center Michael Brewster and guards Justin Boren and Bryant Browning. "And then you have a couple guys that we redshirted that have some potential, so we could have a chance barring injury to have a little bit of depth."

Miller is taking part in his fourth spring practice while Adams and Shugarts are in their third. Hall first hit campus last summer, but he benefitted from a few brief appearances with the first team in games during his true freshman season.

Shugarts started 10 games at right tackle last season and is viewed by many as a lock to remain there unless he turns out to be the best option at left tackle. Hall also got his feet wet in the second half of the season, including some time with the No. 1 unit, mostly at right tackle.

Miller began the season as the starting left tackle but was supplanted by Adams in week four before bad luck on the health side of things soon knocked both out.

Miller fell ill and missed three games while Adams suffered a knee injury and did not play in the last six games of the season.

In their stead, now-graduated senior Jim Cordle took hold of the left tackle spot for the last six games of the 2009 season. Once doing so, he played well enough to earn a share of the team's offensive lineman of the year award.

Bollman said all four of the candidates for left tackle can benefit from learning some of the same things.

"Body control - when you don't have good body control you're getting pulled all over the place," the coach said. "Your center of gravity is too high, so you've got to have great strength and play lower. That's not just (Adams) - that's the same with all those taller guys. J.B., Marcus, Andrew Miller - all those guys have got to do a better job of playing lower, getting their tails down there and playing powerfully and more consistently."

The coach said no one would likely pin down the job by the end of spring, but all will get valuable chances to put themselves in position to earn it when preseason practice begins.

Cordle's loss is being felt in two areas this spring. As much as fans and media want to know who will play left tackle, Bollman seems just as concerned about who will back up Brewster.

The early candidates are redshirt freshmen Jack Mewhort and Corey Linsley. Mewhort handled snapping for the second unit on day one before giving way to Linsley on Friday.

"Those guys are going to be continually rolling again until we decide. I told them both no matter who is No. 2 and who is No. 3, they've both got to come out of here being able to operate the show."

Additionally, veteran walk-on Scott Sika has helped the two learn the ropes.

"We're very lucky that Scott Sika really is great knowledge-wise and can get in there and help the other guys."

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