Day still undecided on key OL battle


Spring practice has entered its final week as Ohio State prepares for the spring game on Saturday. On Wednesday, head coach Ryan Day met with the media to discuss his team’s progression over the past month and look ahead to the position battles that will dominate the conversation when the Buckeyes gather again for fall camp.

Other than quarterback, no positions remain more up for grabs than on the right side of the offensive line, where Ohio State has rotated several people at guard this spring in hopes of finding its best mix to complement a left side that returns both starters in tackle Josh Simmons and guard Donovan Jackson.

In addition to Luke Montgomery and Josh Fryar splitting time at both right guard and tackle, Day said centers Seth McLaughlin and Carson Hinzman have each been given time at right guard to get a look at different combinations, and Fryar also continues to see time at guard with Tegra Tshabola playing at tackle.

“I think by the end of this week, we need to at least identify where we’re going and where we project it, even if it continues into the preseason, which it may,” Day said of the battle at right guard. “But I feel like both tackles have really improved; it’s noticeable. Donovan has really improved, and his leadership has been felt out there. I do think that Seth and Carson have both had good springs as well. So I really want to see if someone can take the next step at that right guard position, however that shakes out.”

While Fryar continues to be a consideration to move down to guard, Day noted he would feel comfortable with starting Fryar and Simmons at the tackle positions again this season after seeing their development this spring.

“I think it’s just overall production,” Day said of what he’s noticing from his tackles. “You’re just seeing, especially in pass protection, those guys in better position against Jack (Sawyer), J.T. (Tuimoloau), Kenyatta (Jackson), and those guys, Mitchell (Melton) and Caden (Curry). They’re just more consistent blocking them.”

Day added, “First off, I think Josh Fryar has really changed his body. His body fat is down, and that’s something along with his diet that we really hammered this offseason. So I think that is significant with how quickly his feet are moving because he’s very sharp in what he does. And he’s bending better.

“For Josh Simmons, that was never an issue, although he is in great shape. I think for him it’s more of the experience and understanding of the offense, playing more football, and more of the mental part of it. So I think both guys have benefitted from another year but both for different reasons.”

With the spring transfer portal window opening next week, Day wouldn’t rule out looking to add another piece along the offensive line depending on how he and offensive line coach Justin Frye feel about the unit coming out of spring practice.

“I think we have to look at everything,” Day said. “I’m not going to sit here and say one way or the other. I’d like to watch the film from today. We did a couple extra things moving guys around to see how that went. And then we’ll see how Saturday goes and then kind of go from there. But I can’t sit here and tell you that I know that right side is solidified right now. So I think we have to keep looking at all options.”

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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