Protecting quarterback Braxton Miller is a top priority for Ohio State in 2014. The Buckeyes reportedly just got reinforcement on that front.
It hasn't been confirmed by the school yet, but former Alabama offensive lineman Chad Lindsay informed CBSports.com's Jeremy Fowler on Tuesday that he's transferring to Ohio State.
"It's done. Go Buckeyes!" Lindsay texted Fowler.
In a time when graduate transfers have a free-agency feel to them, Lindsay provides Ohio State an immediate upgrade to a position hit hard by turnover. The Buckeyes return just one starter—tackle Taylor Decker—after losing four seniors from last year. The only other assured starter is right guard Pat Elflein.
Though Lindsay only started four games for the Tide at center, all last year, he has plenty of playing experience as a backup during his time in Tuscaloosa. That should give him an edge as he competes for playing time during preseason camp, as experience is something that is generally lacking for the Buckeyes in the trenches.
Last year's senior-laden group helped the team finish fifth nationally in rushing (308.6 yards per game) and set school records in points scored (637), touchdowns (87) and touchdown passes (38), per Ohio State's website.
"The buzz around Tuscaloosa is Alabama did not want to lose Lindsay and had considered starting him at center while moving Ryan Kelly to left tackle," Fowler wrote. "That's no longer an option, and Ohio State makes a nice move on the all-powerful transfer wire."
With Lindsay unofficially in the lineup, the Buckeyes would have three solid players up front. Even psychologically, that's an improvement.
As head coach Urban Meyer attempts to piece together the O-line, he made it clear it was the biggest area of concern. Thus, protecting Miller, who has had his fair share of injuries, is a concern as well.
|Departing Offensive Linemen from 2013|
|Jack Mewhort||Left Tackle||49|
|Andrew Norwell||Left Guard||50|
|Marcus Hall||Right Guard||46|
|Ohio State Athletics|
"We’ve had the luxury of having a very good offensive line the last two years, and (with four starters gone), you were hoping some guys would step up," Meyer said before the Buckeyes spring game, via Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch. "Some guys have gotten better, but not to the point where I (could) tell you who the starting offensive line is."
Fans won't get to see Ohio State's offense at full strength until the season opener against Navy. Miller, tight end Jeff Heuerman and receiver Evan Spencer, all major pieces of the offense, were hampered by injuries this spring. Similarly, fans (and Meyer) won't know what to expect from the O-line until they line up together in actual game play.
O-line may still be the weakest area for the Buckeyes offense this year, but with Lindsay, that group is at least getting much-needed help.
Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand.
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