Through six spring practice sessions, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer hasn't been tossing around many superlatives, especially toward the offensive line or the young players he wants to see help the defensive line.

Through six spring practice sessions, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer hasn't been tossing around many superlatives, especially toward the offensive line or the young players he wants to see help the defensive line.

He said some of the sloppiness or ineffectiveness on the offensive line is to be expected, considering injuries to some and because two veterans are being rested - left tackle Taylor Decker and right guard Pat Elflein. That has led to lineups of up-and-comers.

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"You want to have a bad practice, have a bad offensive line (during the spring)," Meyer said. "That's what's going on right now. … We're going to have, like most teams across the country, offensive-line issues."

Four starters return from last season's group that launched one of the more prolific offenses in the nation. But Decker and Elflein have gained respites because of their extensive playing time the past couple of seasons, and center Jacoby Boren is out for the spring while he recovers from surgery on both ankles and a shoulder.

Also, journeymen Demetrius Knox is out because of a broken foot suffered in February, and Kyle Trout missed the first several practices because of a bruise but practiced yesterday.

It's easy to see reasons for inconsistency.

"It's just that numbers are way down, still, on the offensive line," Meyer said. "We're counting on eight, nine, 10 offensive linemen who will be (available) in August who aren't right now. That's obviously a big influx of people."

That influx will include four freshmen who signed with the 2015 recruiting class and will join the team this summer.

The defensive line doesn't have the same excuses. Last season, Meyer lamented the lack of depth at tackle as the coaches worked to find backups for Michael Bennett, now gone, and Adolphus Washington.

The hunt continues, so much so that Joel Hale, who had moved to the offensive line for what he said was his fourth and final season last year but played little because of a strained back, agreed to return and play again on the defensive side.

"I was very disappointed last year with the backup group," Meyer said. "We'd like to get a rotation. As a matter of fact, when I heard (coach) Dan Mullen at Mississippi State - he's a great friend - but he said, 'We're rotating 10 guys (on the defensive line),' we had a very ugly team meeting that day."

Meyer recalled saying, " 'We can't rotate 10 guys. Why do they have better players than we do? Why are they better coached than we are?' Because we have to ask that question. We're Ohio State, so we should have 10 guys rotate in there."

The challenge, he said, is to make that possible this season.

"A lot of pressure has been put on them," Meyer said. "I would say Tommy Schutt has had a very good offseason. He has cut weight, he's where we want him, and he's going very hard. I think Joel Hale is the name you kind of forget about; he's going to help us. Then the other guys - you've got Mike Hill, (Donovan) Munger - they show signs of it."

At end, Tyquan Lewis has stepped into the spot vacated by Steve Miller opposite returning starter Joey Bosa. Jalyn Holmes, Darius Slade and Sam Hubbard are being urged along.

"We have bodies there," Meyer said. "But … are they where we need them to be (with their development)? No, not even close."

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports