Ohio State Buckeyes: Tim Gardner

Position preview: Offensive line

August, 15, 2013
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Breaking down the Ohio State roster as training camp heats us and the program turns its attention to the opener on Aug. 31 against Buffalo.

OFFENSIVE LINE

[+] EnlargeJack Mewhort
Kirk Irwin/Getty ImagesAn Ohio State offensive line that returns four starters is anchored by Jack Mewhort.
Top of the depth chart: From left to right, Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell, Corey Linsley, Marcus Hall and Taylor Decker

Next in line: The backup spots don’t have to be quite as precise given the flexibility of some reserves capable of playing multiple spots, with Chase Farris likely the first man up if injuries strike at either guard or tackle. Darryl Baldwin has impressed during training camp and provides depth on the edge, and Pat Elflein has emerged as a viable option on the interior. Jacoby Boren spent time filling in for Linsley when he was injured during spring practice and early this month, and the sophomore’s work ethic and family history with the program is well documented.

New faces: The Buckeyes didn’t do much to restock the cupboards with the most recent signing class, and a class of blockers that only included two names dropped to one this season when Tim Gardner was sent home following an off-the-field incident. That leaves just Evan Lisle, who has shown some potential but would likely benefit from a year to develop on the sideline before getting thrown in the mix.

Recruiting trail: With four seniors set to move on from the program after this season, coach Urban Meyer made it clear since signing day in February that he has to bring in a strong class of linemen to pave the way for the future. He would have liked to have done that in 2012, obviously, but he’s off to a strong start with the next group after getting pledges from ESPN300 picks Jamarco Jones (Chicago/De La Salle) and Demetrius Knox (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal). The Buckeyes also have commitments from tackles Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) and Marcelys Jones (Cleveland/Glenville), reinforcing the importance of targeting the line in the 2013 class.

Flexibility: Returning four senior starters doesn’t leave much room for movement on the first unit, and the strong start to camp for sophomore Taylor Decker erased the only real question mark heading into the opener. Farris and Baldwin have each been able to push for work at times at right tackle, but Decker’s brute strength and knowledge of the game has given him a leg up and given line coach Ed Warinner little to worry about with his starting unit.

Notable numbers:

• The work hasn’t all come at one spot, but one way or another, the Buckeyes have been able to count on inking Mewhort’s name in the starting lineup for quite some time now. The season opener against Buffalo will mark his 26th consecutive start, a string that has included appearances at left guard, right guard and the position he locked down for all of last fall, left tackle.

• For all the hype about the spread offense and what it would do for the passing attack in 2012, the Buckeyes ultimately relied much more on power and a smash-mouth ground game thanks to the nasty attitude and physical approach up front in Meyer’s first season. Ohio State rushed twice as often as it passed, turning those 559 total carries into an average of 242 yards per game and finishing the season as one of the top running teams in the nation.

• The offensive line wasn’t necessarily on the hook for all the sacks on Braxton Miller last season, but given the quarterback’s mobility and the experience returning, they should be able to cut down dramatically on the 30 takedowns they allowed in 2012. Miller is a better decision-maker moving into his junior season and that should get the ball out quicker and provide some help for the line. But the big guys also appear capable of establishing a more comfortable pocket.

Big question: Is Taylor Decker ready?

The Buckeyes weren’t ready to pronounce the sophomore a starter leaving spring practice, and Decker himself admitted that he hadn’t earned the right after 15 workouts in March and April. The coaching staff has already seen enough in August to trust him with that responsibility, though, and it comes with expectations that could hardly be higher. From a broad perspective, the Buckeyes are planning to contend for a national title. From a position-specific angle, Meyer has made it well known that everything starts in the trenches, and he wants nothing less than the best offensive line in the Big Ten -- for starters. With four proven commodities from an unbeaten team returning, the focus will be on the new guy to meet the standard.
Jamarco JonesJared Shanker/ESPNESPN 300 lineman Jamarco Jones believes Ohio State's line could be the best in the country.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It's no secret Ohio State missed on the offensive line by only grabbing tackles Evan Lisle (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) and Tim Gardner (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) in the 2013 recruiting class.

Gardner won't be part of the program this season after some off-field issues, and the Buckeyes are losing four senior starters after this season.

Urban Meyer has said his offensive line might be the best in the Big Ten this season, but what about the future?

One 2014 pledge's view is just as optimistic, despite the fact the Buckeyes would have only 13 scholarship linemen if next year was now at Ohio State.

The long anticipated Friday Night Lights camp is finally here with some big names slated to attend as we have highlighted over the past eight days.

BuckeyeNation gave you what to expect and what to watch in separate stories this week. Here’s a little bit of what happened last year to get fans in the mood for what is a very fun event.


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Editor’s note: This is the third in a three-part series detailing some of the big visitors scheduled to be at The Horseshoe Friday.

As was the case last year, there are some monster names headed to the event in hopes of catching the eye of Urban Meyer and maybe grabbing an offer.

Last year, Tim Gardner committed after the camp and Tyquan Lewis brought his family to meet the coaches before picking the Buckeyes two months later.

A list of scheduled visitors can be found here. As always, the names are subject to change and often do at the last minute.

Here are the five biggest names scheduled to attend:


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We’ll give you five things to watch with the campers at Friday Night Lights on the day of the event, but for now, here are five things to expect when the star-studded event gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Friday:

Familiar faces


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Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series detailing some of the big visitors scheduled to be at The Horseshoe next Friday.

Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights sits a week away.

As was the case last year, there are some monster names headed to the event in hopes of catching the eye of Urban Meyer and maybe grabbing an offer.

Last year, Tim Gardner committed after the camp.

A list of scheduled visitors can be found here. As always, the names are subject to change and often do at the last minute.

Here’s a first look at three of the biggest names scheduled to attend:


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This month is very important for Ohio State, as the staff is set to host its senior advanced camp on Sunday. Hundreds of prospects will be in attendance, including several top targets. Here are five storylines to watch this week:


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It’s a job interview, but for whom?

While official visits are important in landing pledges, summer camps on university campuses are almost as vital in the recruiting scene.

The summer months are a quiet period for coaches, and that means face-to-face contact can only be made on a campus.

Ohio State will have a number of camps, but the big ones on June 9, June 21 and July 26 will likely produce commitments. That is if those three dates pan out like in years past.


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State of the Rivalry: Offensive line 

February, 25, 2013
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The writers at WolverineNation and BuckeyeNation put their heads together to break down the rivals' 2013 recruiting classes. They'll give readers a position-by-position look at who coaches Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer signed and, ultimately, which class edged out the other. It's too early to say what will happen through the next few seasons, and we won't make any promises except that Hoke and Meyer are going to put talent on the field.

Ohio State got: At a position Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said Ohio State missed on a bit, the Buckeyes picked up ESPN 150 offensive tackle Evan Lisle (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) and Tim Gardner (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central), who also plays tackle.


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Spring forward: Guards, center analysis

February, 19, 2013
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Corey LinsleyJim Owens/Icon SMICorey Linsley is expected to continue to add stability on the offensive line.
With national signing day in the books, the next big date on the Ohio State calendar as it continues working toward an encore for an undefeated season in 2013 is spring practice. Before those workouts begin, BuckeyeNation will take a look at each position to see where the roster is at -- and where it's going.

INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

    • Who's back: The central nervous system of the offense returns completely intact, starting with the anchor who will be looking to build off a banner year in the middle of everything. Corey Linsley's transition to center went perhaps more smoothly than anybody at Ohio State could have expected, and in addition to limiting himself to a handful of errant snaps, his ability to handle the mental load was critical for an attack that wants to push the tempo. With both guards returning on either side of him with Marcus Hall and Andrew Norwell also trying to take their games to a higher level, the Buckeyes are loaded in important spots up front and capable of putting up even more points than they did in Urban Meyer's first year with the program.

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OSU-Michigan recruiting roundtable 

February, 18, 2013
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Every other week, Tom and Chantel invite in an outside writer to give some of their thoughts on the state of recruiting. Today, since they’ve started their Michigan-Ohio State position-by-position comparison, they decided to ask BuckeyeNation writer Brad Bournival to weigh in on the rivalry and its recruiting.

1) Defensive end Lawrence Marshall (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) recently committed to Ohio State, then decommitted after visiting Michigan State and Michigan. Where does he eventually end up?


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Three OSU commits each fill 2014 needs 

February, 10, 2013
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Ohio State coach Urban Meyer comes into the 2014 recruiting season knowing he wants to shore up an offensive line he missed out on in 2013.

Check.

As always, he wants more defensive linemen.

Check.

He also wants a speed running back to add to his spread offense.

Check, check and check.


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Linemen lining up for OSU in 2014 

February, 8, 2013
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With only ESPN 150 offensive tackle Evan Lisle and Tim Gardner signed from the class of 2013, the trenches will become the focus of 2014 for Ohio State.


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BuckeyeNation signing day recap

February, 6, 2013
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We can almost put a bow on the 2013 recruiting class -- punter Johnny Townsend has not signed his letter of intent and is apparently having second thoughts -- and it was one of the best recruiting classes in school history.

The Buckeyes signed 24 players and finished third in the ESPN class rankings behind SEC powers Alabama and Florida, with 19 of the 24 signees at four stars or more.

Here's a recap of how the day unfolded. Follow the live blog after the jump.

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OL commit could be big for Buckeyes 

January, 17, 2013
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With Ohio State’s wide receiver outlook still up in the air for the Class of 2013, coming into town on an official visit Saturday is an offensive tackle who could calm the nerves of those worried about the trenches.

Cameron Hunt (Corona, Calif./Centennial) came in last weekend after an official visit to Michigan, but left without a commitment.

Now, it’s Dan Skipper’s turn.


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