Strong Offseason, Spring Practice, Josh Fryar Becoming More ‘Well Rounded’

When the Buckeyes sat down to fill out their goals for this offseason, many of them had to think both collectively and individually.

For offensive tackle Josh Fryar, he’d come off playing all 13 games as a starter for the first time in his career. After developing for three-plus years upon joining the Buckeyes as part of the class of 2020, last season was a signature year for him.

Along with taking care of his body, the Beach Grove, Indiana, native said he thought intensely about the goals he would set for himself this offseason.

“For me, it was just go hard the whole entire time,” Fryar said. “Like no matter what. Competitions — lose, win, draw — just go hard and try to beat everybody I can.”

That effort has led Fryar to a strong spring as Ohio State navigates through practice No. 10 as of Wednesday.

Fryar has made progressions in almost every area of his game, he said. It all starts in the weight room with strength coach Mickey Marotti, and that’s how Fryar has built momentum for himself this spring.

“I think now I’ve got a better grasp of strength and conditioning, the football part of it,” Fryar said. “Just everything. And I think I’m well rounded in that to where I just don’t have to think about it. I just go.”

Head coach Ryan Day and the Buckeyes have tried slotting different offensive linemen into different spots along the line, and Fryar is no exception. He’s taken some reps at guard as well.

Offensive line coach Justin Frye said Fryar “has had a great offseason” noting “he can play all five “ spots along the offensive line. Frye explained Ohio State’s thinking behind a versatile O-line, and Fryar fits into that puzzle.

“You have to get a really good, gradable set so that everybody has numbers of how many times have we done a run-blocking or pass-blocking situation so that all evens out,” Frye said. “It’s not experimentation. It’s just making sure that you get a good book of work to look at and grade that so as we work guys around, the platoons, and go just making sure that everybody gets good gradable reps so we can sit back by the end of spring and say, ‘Alright, you’re comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges.’”

Last time out, Ohio State lost 14-3 in the Cotton Bowl to Missouri in a defensive slugfest.

Fryar remained at right tackle as the Buckeyes shook up their offensive line starting Matt Jones, the usual starter at right guard, at center and inserting Enokk Vimahi at right guard.

Fryar said the Cotton Bowl “was a learning curve for all of us” as Ohio State allowed 10 tackles for loss, four sacks and ran for 97 yards, its third-lowest total of the season. On a personal level, Fryar said he felt his play was “disgusting for my performance.”

“Last year was a learning curve for me starting. And it’s kind of crazy to see the response you get from people when you have a bad season, I guess you could say,” Fryar said. “The DMs, the everything with people just trying to talk to you, saying you suck, worst offensive tackle, commenting on my girlfriend’s post, and it’s Ohio State fans. It’s kind of crazy to see. But at the same time, I understand their passion for us to win. So, I get that.”

Fryar said he didn’t think he played to his standard in 2023.

Whether he’s at guard or tackle, Fryar said he still has confidence in himself. He said it’s “a lot faster” and he’s “got to sit faster” as a guard, and he enjoys “a lot more space” going up against “more athletic guys” when as a tackle.

Fryar will likely play most at tackle next season, and he said he’s ”prepared if needed to play guard.” He already knows he’ll feel more comfortable in his second season as a starter.

“I thought I was thinking too much and not playing,” Fryar said. “And I deleted my social media so I’ve got other people who control my social media now. So I don’t do any of that.”

Fryar has made impactful improvements in the span of several months since the end of last season. He took away key moments that he said would’ve helped him as a younger Buckeye, something he’s noticed already helping teammates such as junior left guard Donovan Jackson.

Fryar enters his fifth year at Ohio State, and he’s learned lessons that he thinks will help him play his best in 2024. He’ll be a key anchor along an offensive line that will be tasked with protecting the Buckeyes’ gunslinger — whoever that might be.

“I think experience is the biggest key,” Fryar said. “I mean, I think Donnie can attest to it too. Like just that first year is kind of rough. And then that second year, you get it a little bit more and now — he’s in his third year so he’s going to have it down pat — but I feel like now, I’m having it down pat as the same.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *