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Michael Jordan just made battle at center more interesting for Ohio State

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Michael Jordan is now a candidate to slide down to center at Ohio State. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)

Question Of The Day

Michael Jordan just made battle at center more interesting for Ohio State

The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics on the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today on Michael Jordan and the Ohio State offensive line? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

Maybe Michael Jordan won’t wind up winning the starting job at center for Ohio State. But the fact that he was getting snaps at that critical position was a significant development either way for the Buckeyes. And it’s yet another signal that the depth on the offensive line presents no shortage of options for the coaching staff to make sure it has the best five guys on the field that it possibly can.

The program only offered a brief glimpse to the media on Tuesday morning of its fourth training-camp practice, but that was enough to verify that Ohio State is in fact considering Jordan as an option at center after two years starting at left guard. The Buckeyes, of course, have had some ridiculous success converting guards into the best snappers in the nation over the last two seasons, so it makes sense that a veteran like Jordan would be given a similar opportunity. This experiment could conceivably be viewed as a sign of concern when it comes to the ability of Brady Taylor or Josh Myers to handle a role that is so important to the offense, but I don’t really see it that way.

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Michael Jordan moving to center could allow more flexibility for Ohio State up front. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

There is obviously never any harm in preparing and building depth at center just in case disasters strike. But seeing what Jordan can do at center is potentially much more about what Demetrius Knox and a healthy Branden Bowen could bring to the rotation at guard rather than uncertainty about Taylor or Myers. Throw in the matching rises of Malcolm Pridgeon and Wyatt Davis and Ohio State has the healthiest competition on the interior of the offensive that it has had in years.

If the Buckeyes are working toward their oft-stated goal of putting the best group of five players on the field, it’s reasonable to think that might mean Jordan moving to center boosts the unit by adding another talented guard to the mix.

Certainly Ohio State needs to be confident in its ability to start every play with consistent snapping and line calls from the center. And in that respect, Taylor and Myers came into August with a leg up, and they are both likely still favored at this point to be ahead of Jordan — particularly since the junior was limited physically in March and April and couldn’t get reps to help ease into a transition. But Jordan’s proven ability to acclimate quickly, his veteran experience and a reputation as one of the best blockers in the Big Ten could help overcome that, and there’s really no doubt that he’s going to be on the field for the Buckeyes.

Now it’s fair to at least consider that it might be at center. And that would open up even more possibilities for an offensive line that finally has some freedom to get creative.

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Damon Henry
Damon Henry

I would be more concerned about left tackle than Center. All video I have see of practice is a slow Left Tackle getting beat every play. There should be an article on who is going to be our left tackle or if not then who is our 3rd and 4th string qb.

Meatchicken Sux
Meatchicken Sux

Petit-Frere will be he next Orlando Pace.


Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.

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