The Ohio State football program is one of prestigious tradition.
The storied program is traditionally successful, having won nearly 1,000 games and eight national championships. A recent and rare trend has become sort of a unique tradition for the Scarlet and Gray.
Ohio State converted a different offensive guard to center in each of the past three seasons from Pat Elflein to Billy Price to Michael Jordan. While this is a common practice in the sport, what makes the Buckeyes’ case unique is that each of those three linemen went on to earn All-American honors after switching to center.
After his first season in the middle, Jordan decided to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft, leaving a vacancy at center.
Enter redshirt sophomore Josh Myers.
“Josh Myers is having a heck of a spring,” Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said.
Studrawa added that the center position was a major concern for the offensive staff after Jordan decided to leave, but that Myers has stepped up in the void.
Studrawa also said that the progress that Myers showed during the Buckeyes’ practices prior to the Rose Bowl gave him more confidence in the converted guard, who initially came in as a tackle.
Myers (6-5, 310), a former four-star recruit, admitted to some apprehension about switching positions at first, but has found a new home.
“To be honest with you, when he told me that I was moving to center, I was not upset because I wanted to play,” Myers said. “But I didn’t know how it was going to go and I was nervous about it. I absolutely love it. I like it more than guard, more than tackle; I absolutely love it. It’s my favorite position, for sure.”
While tackles are known for pass blocking and guards are known for pulling and run blocking, centers must command the line of scrimmage by making calls with clarity, confidence and consistency.
“I love being vocal,” Myers said. “I like getting set first, making the calls, being loud, being confident. I love that about it. It changed my own confidence, because like I said, I had no choice but to be confident or else the other guys would question my calls. So honestly, just being a center went a long way with my own confidence because you have no choice but to be confident.”
Myers’ improvement was apparent to Studrawa, particularly from a mental aspect, and his teammates took note, too.
“Josh Myers filling in for Mike (Jordan), that center role, he’s definitely taken charge,” redshirt sophomore guard Wyatt Davis said. “And up to this point, he’s been doing great; he’s been strong with his calls and really confident.”
In addition to Davis, redshirt junior guard Gavin Cupp, who is Myers’ roommate, said he has noticed that Myers is more confident both on and off the field.
“It’s been incredible to see the level he’s playing at,” Cupp said.
His fellow lineman and his coach have been impressed by Myers’ transition to center, but the Miamisburg, Ohio, native said it wasn’t always that way due to struggles early on.
Changing positions can be difficult for anyone, especially at the Division I level, but a more confident Myers has come to embrace his role.
“I struggled at first,” Myers admitted, “I did not love it at the very first, last spring, it’s really stressful, honestly. You don’t realize how many things are happening and how many calls and how fast it is. And I did not understand when I was a guard how difficult it is at center.
“But once it starts slowing down, I love it. It’s mean, it’s in your face, it’s a 320-pound D-lineman is five inches from you and trying to jump the snap. I don’t know, it’s just fun, I like it.”