Tuesday brought Ohio State’s first day of spring practice, and with it the beginning of key position battles that will likely continue into fall camp.
Outside the quarterback competition between junior Kyle McCord and redshirt freshman Devin Brown, the most eyes are on the offensive line, where three spots are available for the taking. In that vein, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day provided a few big updates on the competition there — redshirt junior Josh Fryar will be locked in at left tackle for now while redshirt junior Zen Michalski and redshirt freshman Tegra Tshabola fight things out at right tackle.
“We moved Josh to left, we felt like he had enough experience. He felt comfortable making that move, we’ll see how that goes as we start to put the pads on,” Day said. “It’s hard with no pads, just the point of contact. But watching him move his feet, that was really good. We see Zen and Tegra on the other side, watch the film, kind of see where they’re at.”
Both Michalski and Tshabola were four-star prospects out of high school, though Tshabola was the much higher rated of the two as the 104th-best recruit in the 247Sports composite. Michalski exited his prep career as a late-rising mauler of a run blocker but has had to develop his pass blocking after playing in an offense that rarely threw the ball at Floyds Knobs (Ind.) Floyd Central.
“Zen, this is a big year for him,” Day said. “This is year three and so again, I don’t think we’ll get an idea until we put the pads on.”
Listed at 6-6, 327 pounds on OSU’s spring roster, Tshabola made enough noise as a true freshman to crack the two-deep and is now firmly entrenched in competition for a starting job.
“Tegra will be in year two. Tegra got a lot of two reps for us last year, we see a lot of potential in Tegra,” Day said. “And I think every rep you get in Tegra is going to pay off in the long run. I think it’s a really good investment. Hoping that he can make a push.”
Day also gave a nod toward the competition at center, which excludes redshirt junior Jakob James, last year’s backup at the position who is out with injury this spring. UL-Monroe transfer Vic Cutler has slid in from tackle and brings starting experience with him, but talented redshirt freshman Carson Hinzman could be looking to make a name for himself too.
“Carson’s at center there, Vic’s at center,” Day said. “So first day, it’s kind of hard to tell. But I don’t think anybody looked out of place. And they’re going against a good front — JT (Tuimoloau) and Jack (Sawyer) and Tyleik (Williams) and Ty (Hamilton). So we’re going to get a great evaluation as we head through 15 practices.”
Stick with BSB throughout spring practice as the offensive line and other position battles continue evolving.