At 6 feet 7 and 315 pounds, Taylor Decker doesn't look like most people's vision of a little brother. But playing alongside four seniors on Ohio State's offensive line, that's what the sophomore right tackle feels like.
At 6 feet 7 and 315 pounds, Taylor Decker doesn't look like most people's vision of a little brother.
But playing alongside four seniors on Ohio State's offensive line, that's what the sophomore right tackle feels like.
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"They've had good careers and have established themselves, and they deserve the respect that comes along with that," Decker said of linemates Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell, Corey Linsley and Marcus Hall. "I do feel I've improved and gotten closer with them, but it's kind of a little brother relationship. I wouldn't have it any other way."
Decker earned the starting job in preseason camp. He said before the season that he wanted to play well enough not to be considered the line's weak link. Then he struggled against Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack in the season opener, though offensive line coach Ed Warinner said that three bad plays overshadowed all the good ones.
"I knew that that wasn't me, that wasn't how I'd performed in camp and the weeks leading up to that game," Decker said. "It was a tough pill to swallow. I just had to bounce back and recover from it and play the way I had to play."
Decker said that his fellow linemen provided support and Warinner supplied the coaching. Decker has carried his weight since then. Coach Urban Meyer said that Decker's play against Iowa earned him "honorable mention" champion status.
"His progress has been what we hoped - getting experience, continuing to play, being around other guys in the group that are very good players and learning how to practice," Warinner said. "He's becoming more consistent.
"He has great talent. He's a young kid. He's playing solid football for us and continues to get better with a big upside. He's getting to where we need him for this Big Ten stretch. He feels good about himself, and so do we."Tight end challenge
Iowa tight ends C.J. Fiedorowicz and Jake Duzey combined to catch 10 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns last week. The Buckeyes face another tough tandem at that position this week. Penn State tight ends Jesse James and Kyle Carter have caught a combined 28 passes for 344 yards.
"I think they're very good players," Meyer said. "They're big. It's a mismatch problem for us and I know they like to utilize them. If it's not concern No. 1, it's either 1A or 1B."Farris back to offense?
Redshirt sophomore Chase Farris has bounced from the defensive line to the offensive line and, this year, back to defense. But with the return of defensive tackle Tommy Schutt from a broken foot, another switch might be in the offing for Farris.
Asked whether Farris was back working with his unit, Warinner said, "He isn't, yet. We'll see where that goes with some of the injuries they've had over there. He's been on the defensive line.We'll see where we go when everything is healthy over there."
Meyer said that freshman defensive tackle Michael Hill is injured. Adolphus Washington also has dealt with groin and ankle injuries, though he played last week.