The moment things clicked for Josh Myers in his transition from guard to center along the Ohio State offensive line occurred during spring practice last year.
It was after a workout when Myers spotted a photograph of Billy Price that hung outside the team’s training room in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. In it, Price, the previous starting center for the Buckeyes, was crouched in his stance before a snap. Myers recollected how Price was gripping the football, with his hand placed near its tip.
The method offered a potential recipe for success.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
“I was struggling a little bit,” Myers said. “My snaps were kind of all over the place.”
Myers was snapping like he was throwing passes at a backyard barbecue. He kept his hand lower on the football, his fingers placed on the laces lining its center, while he sought to snap with a tight spiral. The photo marked an aha moment. The ball just needed to be on target at the quarterback’s chest. He altered his technique to mirror Price’s.
The past year has been filled with adjustments for Myers, a former decorated guard prospect from Miamisburg who was the top-ranked recruit in Ohio by 247Sports’ composite rankings when he arrived at Ohio State in 2017. His learning curve in the position switch has been steep at times. But Myers has positioned himself as the favorite to start at center come September.
“It was kind of crazy how easy the transition seemed like,” said Wyatt Davis, a third-year sophomore who is expected to start alongside Myers at a guard spot.>> Read more: Ryan Day says Justin Fields has made significant progress
Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa remarked this week that Myers proved capable of starting late last season as the team prepared for the Rose Bowl, months ahead of spring practices.
“Something clicked during bowl practices,” Studrawa said, “his mindset, everything about him, how he carries himself. Everything changed. So I’m confident. After watching him for nine practices, I really think he’s going to be exceptional.”
Myers has grown eager for playing time after a reserve role in 2018.
“I just got so sick and tired of watching,” Myers said. “I hated it. I don’t hate it here, obviously, but I hate watching. I’m a competitor, I’m an athlete. I want to play. I just got so tired of watching. I wanted to play so bad. And so I just had that attitude and mentally thought about it every day before practice and came with a passion every day I had probably been missing.”
If Myers holds on to the starting role at center, he will replace Michael Jordan, an All-American last season who entered the NFL draft rather than return for his senior season.
Studrawa oversaw a run of offensive linemen who made the transition from guard to center with great success in his three seasons at Ohio State. Jordan started at guard for two seasons before moving to center last fall. Before Jordan, there were Pat Elflein and Price, former guards who ultimately won the Rimington Trophy as college football’s top center in 2016 and ’17, respectively.
The best hope for the Buckeyes is that the established track record continues with Myers, who will be a third-year sophomore.
There are few sure bets along the offensive line, leaving the position group as one of the bigger offseason question marks. Left tackle Thayer Munford is the sole returner who has started for a season. It leaves Myers’ development as an important step for rebuilding continuity.
Davis observed that Myers made strides in his early years in the program by being inquisitive. In team meetings, he was quick to ask questions, furthering his transition to center that demanded more knowledge of the entire offensive line.
“He’s been in the system now for a couple years,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “I think he feels comfortable.”