Where injuries are concerned, Ohio State has fared well over the last several seasons. There have been some injuries to key players, but, for the most part, Ohio State has avoided the physical meltdowns that have afflicted UCLA and Tennessee recently.
So, when I read that projected left guard Justin Boren sprained his knee in practice, I am fairly certain he let out an audible expletive. The details I have read are sketchy, with suggestions ranging from one to several weeks of missed time.
Any extended period of time is disappointing for a couple of reasons:
1) by virtually all accounts, Boren is the best lineman on the team, and was helping instill a new “nastiness,”
2) the line—a veritable albatross for seemingly Tressel’s entire tenor—needs to improve if the Buckeyes are to have any chance of beating the elite teams they face this season (i.e. USC on September 12).
If Boren’s injury is less severe, I think you will see Connor Smith slide into Boren’s spot to maintain as much consistency as possible along the line.
If we see Jim Cordle back practicing in his old left guard spot, that could be a bellwether of Boren’s extended absence. Although Cordle needs all the reps he can get at his new right tackle position, moving him back to the position he held for nine games last season, with Shugarts sliding in at right tackel, is the best long-term solution.