The Buckeyes offensive line last year did a surprisingly good job despite having to do a little bit of patchwork. Moving Reid Fragel from tight end to right tackle made the coaching staff look like a genius, and the unit did a good job as a whole.
Now that Fragel has graduated, there are question marks on the right side of the line. Oh, and that's not just to be talking, head coach Urban Meyer recently told Tim May, of the Columbus Dispatch, about the concerns with spring ball in the books.
“The offensive line kind of set a nice little standard last year—I felt we were the best offensive line in the Big Ten,” Meyer said. “And as of practice number (13 of the spring) we’re not right now".
When asked who would be the starting right tackle between Taylor Decker or Chase Farris if there were to be a game today, Meyer couldn't come up with an answer, according to the report.
“That’s real bothersome to me,” Meyer said. “That’s real bothersome to our coaches, too.”
So, while the coaches try and figure things out in fall camp, let's try and come up with a verdict before everything takes place later in the year.
Breakdown of Taylor Decker and Chase Farris
Farris was actually a defensive player in high school. Playing both defensive tackle and defensive end, Farris was known for his strength and relentless motor as he played the game with a lot of intensity. Due to his size at 6'4" and 300 pounds, his athleticism and the overwhelming depth on the defensive line, the coaching staff saw potential in him on offense.
Offensive line coach Ed Warriner recently told Marcus Hartman, of Scout, about the position switch:
I had always had my eye on him since he was in high school, and then I got here and he wasn’t really in the picture on defense so I lobbied every day until Coach Meyer had no choice but to either fire me – no, I’m just kidding – but I bugged him about it. We want people in positions to play, and we realized we had some depth issues. He had great talent so he could move over and be an offensive lineman. His year he spent there developing is coming on. He should play a lot of football for us. He has a great upside.
Decker has more experience playing on the offensive line and played some guard in high school as well. Like Farris, Decker has remarkable size at 6'7", 315 pounds, and he brings that aggressiveness and high motor you love to see at the position.
He is athletic enough to pull, get to the second level and he is effective in run blocking. The problem is that he can play a little high at times, which leads to him getting beat in pass protection.
The Starter Will Be
Due to more experience on the line, I would give Decker the advantage heading into fall camp. Both are terrific athletes and either one could win the starting job, but Farris is still making a transition into his role which has to be remembered when seeing him struggle.
At this point, it wouldn't be surprising if Meyer began looking for another solution on the line, especially after what he told Brandon Castel, of the-ozone.net, after the spring game performance.
“That's going to cost me some nights wondering what we're going to do at the right tackle spot,” Meyer said of the ongoing battle between Decker and Farris.
Both guys have great upside, but Decker seems to have the higher ceiling at the tackle spot while Farris may be a better fit at guard due to his stronger upper body. Regardless, Decker is a little more polished on the offensive line which will likely earn him a starting role at right tackle once the regular season arrives.