When a team like Ohio State goes into the transfer portal looking for a center, they don’t normally grab a left tackle to fill that need. But then, Vic Cutler is not your normal left tackle.
Cutler spent his first four years at Louisiana-Monroe as an important piece of the Warhawks offense. He has started at right tackle, left tackle, and center in his time. It’s not unusual for linemen to start at different spots, but the tackle-center combination is certainly on the rare side.
Cutler started all 12 games last year at left tackle for ULM as a four-year player. In 2021, as technically a third-year freshman, Cutler started the first four games of the season at center, then started game five at left tackle, and was then at right tackle for a pair of starts in games nine and 10. He played in nine games in 2020 as a redshirt freshman, including two starts at right tackle, and graded out a winner in all nine games.
Now with two years of eligibility, the Buckeyes view Cutler as a center, but also see a well-rounded picture of possibilities.
“He’s played major college football. He’s played at Texas and he’s played at Alabama on the edge, and then he’s played versus SEC teams inside,” said OSU offensive line coach Justin Frye. “So a guy that has good football knowledge and he’s past that learning curve about learning to play college football. He’s a mature guy that ‘Alright, this is what I need to do. Here’s how I’m going to do it so that I can get on the field that way.’ So we’re excited for him to be around our nutrition program, our strength program, and seeing how much growth he can make in a short window.”
Ohio State wants a center who is athletic and can move around. Finding one who has played both tackle spots should at least check the box on athleticism.
Here is Cutler (59) last year in the first half against Texas.
Unfortunately, in games against Texas and Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe can’t really stick around long enough to run the ball as much as they’d like. As such, there’s not an overabundance of run blocking to look at, which is why the first half of the Texas game will suffice.
What Cutler does show is an ability to move and pull on run downs. He can pull on power runs and is mobile enough to get where he’s asked to go.
Against Alabama — and pass-rushing specialists Will Anderson (31) and Dallas Turner (15), Vic Cutler found himself on an island quite a bit. More so against Turner than Anderson, but he still held his own against some of the SEC’s best.
Cutler appeared to enjoy the challenge against Alabama, showcasing aggression and quickness in both pass-blocking and run-blocking. The game got out of hand quickly, but Cutler never went through the motions.
Watching a left tackle and then trying to picture him at center is not an ideal process, so let’s take a look at Cutler back in 2021 in the season opener at Kentucky. He is playing center for offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez. It should be noted that he rotated a bit at center in the games shown below, but he still probably played 75-80% of the snaps.
Cutler is clearly comfortable in this role and able to move in space as he seeks out defenders upstream. Also of note, through these clips, there weren’t any bad snaps, which is obviously a good sign.
Everything to this point has shown Vic Cutler in games where his squad is overmatched, so here are some clips from games against Jacksonville State, Troy, and Coastal Carolina.
It’s not a completely different picture, but that speaks more to Cutler actually holding up pretty well against better competition.
Cutler is listed at 6-foot-3 and 302 pounds, which is pretty standard for an interior lineman. His length and feet allowed him to play tackle pretty well in the past. Those aspects of his game should now fit in just fine as he competes for the open center spot with two-year starter Luke Wypler surprisingly off to the NFL.
Spring practice gets underway on March 7. Victor Cutler will be on hand and ready to compete.
[Vic Cutler header photo courtesy of the ULM Athletic Dept.]