When Ohio State created the press release for its 2020 football signing class, the powers that be wrote of Josh Fryar that “his versatility allows him to play any position along the offensive line.”
It was an incredibly prescient bio for the Buckeyes’ current left tackle.
Over his first three years on the Ohio State offensive line, Fryar has played just about everywhere but left tackle. Even last year as a redshirt sophomore, he moonlighted as an extra tight end in OSU’s jumbo packages.
Mostly last year, however, he spent the season as Dawand Jones’ backup at right tackle. And with Jones’ departure to the NFL, right tackle was a position that many thought Fryar would handle this season.
Instead, offensive line coach Justin Frye decided to see how the Buckeyes’ most experienced offensive tackle would do this spring at left tackle, protecting the blind sides of quarterbacks Kyle McCord and Devin Brown.
For some offensive linemen, the move from one side of the line to the other is like learning how to have perfect penmanship with your off hand. For Fryar, he’s spent most of his OSU career learning to write with both hands.
“This is my sixth or seventh time going to a new position,” Fryar said. “So it’s not very hard for me, I don’t think.”
Fryar knows the weight of his new job. He has heard the voices and has seen the concern on social media, but he is confident in his ability and ready to calm peoples’ nerves.
“I think I’m very prepared, honestly,” he said. “Just hearing everybody talk about it and be worried about it, it just gets me more motivated to step up into that position and succeed.”
The Buckeyes wrap up spring ball this week. They have four practices remaining, culminating in Saturday’s spring game. So far, the returns have been pretty good for Fryar.
“I feel like I’m settling in,” he said, before adding, “Well, I mean, that’s a question for [defensive ends] Jack [Sawyer] and JT [Tuimoloau], see how they think I’m doing. Those guys are elite pass rushers, and if I win against them, I think I know that I’m pretty fine.”
Justin Frye wasn’t expecting perfection this spring. He knows that Josh Fryar is still getting comfortable and that there will be mistakes. However, the one thing that didn’t need growing pains is exactly what Frye has seen from his new left tackle.
“I think Josh so far in spring has just embraced that role of like, ‘Okay, I’m now the next year guy. I’m the veteran guy in the room now. I’ve played some. I’ve been around the expectations,'” Frye said. “So he’s probably embraced that the best, just in his preparation and his overall understanding, or being proactive and things that may happen to play that position out on the edge. And so I’ve been really pleased so far with how he’s trying to take the next step in training, and the limit he practices at and how hard he goes and then situationally, when to use what technique and those things. You’ve seen that come out of him a little bit.”
For a left tackle, results aren’t hidden, and they are never hard to find. A left tackle can be almost perfect for 59 snaps, but if they’re bad on the 60th snap, it can be the difference between winning and losing. This is the life that Josh Fryar is now living, and he doesn’t take it lightly.
“Yeah, I feel like I’m the blindside for Kyle and Devin,” Fryar said. “If they don’t feel safe and I give up something, then that’s on me. That’s my fault. So I feel like it’s a huge responsibility, but I’m willing to take that responsibility.”