Josh Simmons Ohio State Buckeyes Left Tackle

More Comfortable Josh Simmons Continuing Upward Trajectory

The 2023 season had its ups and downs for Josh Simmons, which shouldn’t have been unexpected.

Simmons transferred to Ohio State following spring ball last year, leaving San Diego State where he was a starter in 2022 as a redshirt freshman. He had to hit the Ohio State campus full speed over the summer because the Buckeyes were desperate for another starting offensive tackle.

Simmons played right tackle for the Aztecs, but he almost immediately moved to the left side for the Buckeyes.

New town, new practice competition, and new position. It was not an easy transition last year for Simmons.

“It was kind of not the best,” Simmons said. “It’s not what I thought. I think it was really just like the [moving] right to left. You think it’s just kind of like flipping your mindset, but there’s a lot more that goes into it.”

There were some growing pains in camp, but the potential was obvious to head coach Ryan Day and offensive line coach Justin Frye. The more work that Simmons received, the better he got. There were some hiccups early in the season, but he built on positive momentum the entire season.

Playing at Ohio State is just a very different thing than playing at San Diego State, and it took Simmons a tick or two to understand the importance of discipline and cutting out penalties and missed assignments.

“Physically obviously, you gotta be ready, but I think mentally, that’s where you’ve got to start tightening up a little bit because then you start playing in those Notre Dame games, those Penn State games, and then you realize a penalty like that can literally destroy the whole game,” Simmons said. “And once you kind of look at that lens, you know those are no noes. It can’t happen.”

Being an Ohio State football player who has made a mistake in a game, Simmons has also gotten to experience the backlash from some of the fans on social media who demand the same kind of perfection they have mastered in their own lives.

Simmons was prepared for it, but also understood that he did have some say over it.

“Yeah, I knew people love Ohio State. Like, this is Ohio State. A lot of people take this here like this is the best program in the country. So I knew I was gonna get that and it was up to me,” he said.

“I took it as like, ‘Josh, you’ve gotta lock in and figure it out.’ And that’s just kind of what I tried to do throughout the season because I really started to realize that these are brothers here. These aren’t teammates. So I just kind of really started dialing in and really honed my craft a little bit more.”

As the left tackle, Josh Simmons’ number one job is to protect his quarterback’s blindside. His responsibilities obviously go deeper than that, but he has put in a ton of work to make sure his quarterback stays upright.

Simmons has tried to learn from his mistakes so that he doesn’t repeat them. He doesn’t spend much time looking back, but when he does, he can see the growth he has made at Ohio State.

“Yeah, I don’t really try to look back but I definitely try to look forward and just keep climbing up the ladder,” he said. “Obviously, I kind of looked at some tape from the past and then from the near past and it just definitely gave me the sense that I was going in the right direction. I just had to keep going. Put it all together.”

The 2024 season could be one of the best in Ohio State football history, but it requires a new level of execution from everybody on the team. Simmons has the athleticism to make that happen, but he knows it will require much more than just quick feet and long arms.

“Obviously, I feel like, in terms of physical attributes, I can move and I’m strong and stuff like that,” he said. “But I think there’s a lot more to it that I needed to work on to even become close to me being able to help the team, such as I think technique, awareness, just everything. And definitely communication. I think that’s the biggest thing. When you’re in those big games, you’ve got to be able to call out if a pressure might come and things like that. So just awareness of ball.”

So far, it looks like those things are coming together for Simmons.

If that trajectory continues, what could this season look like for the Buckeyes’ left tackle?

“I guess we’ll see,” he said. “I’m gonna keep picking at it and we’ll see what it will be.”

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