Ohio State Buckeyes Offensive Line Justin Frye

Spring Recap: Buckeyes Have Yet To Finalize Key Spots On Offensive Line

With spring football now in the rearview mirror for Ohio State, it’s time to look back at what happened with each position group and where things currently stand for the Buckeyes. We continue our series with the offensive line.

[Previous: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Defensive Tackles | Defensive Ends Safeties]

Quick Position Overview

The Buckeyes returned four starters on the offensive line and added in a fifth starter in Seth McLaughlin from Alabama, who was a two-year starter at Center for the Crimson Tide. The Buckeyes are set at left tackle and right tackle with Josh Simmons and Josh Fryar. Center Carson Hinzman could be back at his usual spot or could be at right guard this season. But that right guard position is wide open right now and it is being battled for by a cast of options. Left Guard Donovan Jackson returns for his senior season.

Expectations Going In

The expectations going in were that Donovan Jackson and Josh Simmons would anchor the offensive line from the left side and the right side would be an ongoing process to figure out exactly where everybody would be lining up. Would Josh Fryar stay at right tackle? Would they move him to right guard? What was going to happen at center with Carson Hinzman and Seth McLaughlin? The expectation was that all of this would be sorted out in some fashion by the end of spring practice.

Reality Coming Out

The reality coming out is that the Buckeyes are set on the left side as expected. Donovan Jackson and Josh Simmons were what they needed to be — and better, which is exactly what the coaches wanted. Offensive line coach Justin Frye wanted to see more from the center position. He wanted to see the competition between Seth McLaughlin and Carson Hinzman, and he did that. That may continue on into the summer and into fall camp. Or perhaps they will just move on at this point, set the position and then figure out exactly what they’re going to be doing at right guard because it is right guard where the biggest question is right now. Sophomore Luke Montgomery got plenty of action at right guard. He had his ups and downs, which was the plan, and now he can learn from the downs and be ready to compete for that position in the fall. Josh Fryar is going to stay at right tackle barring anything unforeseen in the transfer portal over this next final week.

Any Surprises?

Maybe the biggest surprise was the advancement of redshirt freshman Austin Siereveld to the second team. He spent most of the spring with the twos at left guard and seemingly played well. His promotion and advancement comes in contrast to the lack of such things from some of the older players on the offensive line. It’s not unusual for players to take a few years or more on the offensive line to start contributing. But there were seemingly some backward steps taken from some of the veteran backups on the offensive line after getting significant opportunities a year ago at this time

Subscribe Promo banner

Unanswered Question

The unanswered question here is what is going to happen with Carson Hinzman. After starting 12 games for the Buckeyes at center last year as a redshirt freshman, you would expect that he would be capable of starting another bunch of games this season. He is one year older, one year more experienced, and one year better than he was a year ago. But where will he be? He finished spring playing right guard in the spring game after splitting reps with the ones and twos with Seth McLaughlin at center throughout the bulk of spring. Is he the best option at right guard for the Buckeyes? He is certainly the most experienced of the options and would be able to build off of last year.

So Now What?

So now Justin Frye and all of his young offensive linemen go back and look at what they did right and look what they did wrong and build off of that. That means Tegra Tshabola, Luke Montgomery, Carson Hinzman, George Fitzpatrick, and more. All of those names who are vying for a spot in the two-deep, if not better. This spring was about personal growth, but fall camp will be about the growth of the offensive line and finding the right five. And not just the right five, but the three or four guys behind them that can step in whenever somebody goes down. Because as offensive coordinator Chip Kelly said after the spring game, there is no way they’re only going to be starting five guys over the course of 16 games on the offensive line. They will need more than five starters.

One Concern

The biggest concern here is what happens if Josh Simmons goes down at left tackle? It would likely create a domino effect of moves. That may feature Josh Fryar moving from right tackle to left tackle. Fryar has said in the past that he is more comfortable on the right side than the left side, but he will do whatever is asked. Is there a second legitimate left tackle ready to play right now for the Buckeyes? The answer is probably no. It might be yes by November. But right now nobody has taken that next step. Maybe it’s George Fitzpatrick, a redshirt sophomore. It may eventually be true freshmen Deontae Armstrong by the end of the season, but you can’t put that on most true freshmen. This is a question that is almost impossible to answer right now. Which is why the easiest answer is probably Josh Fryar. Then what happens at right tackle? Is that Tegra Tshabola? Is it Luke Montgomery? George Fitzpatrick? Is it one of the freshmen like Ian Moore or Deontae Armstrong? It’s a question that needs to be answered, but it’s also a situation that Ohio State definitely doesn’t want to be facing at any point this season.

Are We Sure?

Are we sure that we won’t see an entire second unit offensive line on the field together this season in the first three quarters of games when things are still somewhat in doubt? This would give an opportunity for an second offensive line to get out there and play with each other. There are a number of options to choose from, but how many of them are to the point where they can be trusted? Everybody on that second unit could be one snap from being with the first unit. Getting some time in games early on wouldn’t be the worst idea. And we know the Ohio State non-conference schedule this year should provide plenty of opportunities for young players and older players who have not yet seen the field much. That way if somebody goes down later in the season, this won’t be the first time they’re under the bright lights and gray skies of ‘you better not mess this up.’


“I mean as we grade you can see the guys that grade well in critical situations. We have to put them in third-and-long situations. We have to put them in coming outs and we have to put them in short yardage. You’ve got to manufacture enough of those so you can see in critical situations how these guys respond. As opposed to just a controlled rep or drill all the time. And then you just grade those and then the cream always rises to the top. So you’re gonna see that and it’s gonna shake itself out.” — Offensive line coach Justin Frye on finding his starting five.

Depth Chart

Left Tackle

71 Josh Simmons, rJr
65 Zen Michalski, rJr OR
68 George Fitzpatrick, rSoph
72 Deontae Armstrong, Fr

Left Guard

74 Donovan Jackson, Sr
67 Austin Siereveld, rFr
73 Devontae Armstrong, Fr


56 Seth McLaughlin, rSr OR
75 Carson Hinzman, rSoph
62 Joshua Padilla, rFr
54 Toby Wilson, rJr

Right Guard

75 Carson Hinzman, rSoph OR
51 Luke Montgomery, Soph
77 Tegra Tshabola, rSoph
66 Enokk Vimahi, rSr

Right Tackle

70 Josh Fryar, rSr
77 Tegra Tshabola, rSoph
69 Ian Moore, Fr
76 Miles Walker, rFr

Go to discussion...