In the days before Josh Myers made his debut as Ohio State’s starting center, one thing gave offensive line coach Greg Studrawa pause for concern.
The Buckeyes planned to place quarterback Justin Fields in the shotgun and under center.
Different formations meant that Myers would be required to snap the ball to Fields from varied lengths. In previous seasons, their Buckeyes lined up almost exclusively in the shotgun. It was a more consistent exchange between the center and quarterback.
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“I was worried about it,” Studrawa said. “I thought it might be a little too much on him early.”
Myers eased any doubts last Saturday in a season-opening win over Florida Atlantic.
None of the snaps were mishandled or fumbled as the Buckeyes ran about a dozen plays from under center.
“He handled it magnificent,” Studrawa said.
Myers, a redshirt sophomore who was once the top player in Ohio in his high school recruiting class, waited two seasons at Ohio State before he took over the center spot, a role that involves directing a variety of pre-snap adjustments along the offensive line.
“He was able to overcome his nerves,” Studrawa said, “because I knew he was nervous before the game. It was his first start. But he was able to really play physical and still handle all the things mentally.”
Studrawa believed there were only two misidentifications by Myers, “which was excellent.”
Myers will need to lead the offensive line against Cincinnati, which boasts a physical defensive line that was formidable against the run last season. The Bearcats ranked 13th in the Football Bowl Subdivision in rush defense last season and surrendered only 62 yards on 36 rushes in their season-opening win over UCLA.
Myers had a significant hand in the Buckeyes’ ground game on the opening series against Florida Atlantic, when he and left guard Wyatt Davis opened a hole that put Fields on the way to a 51-yard touchdown run.
Right guard Jonah Jackson raved about the effort from Myers.
“He’s chucking a dude five yards down the field,” Jackson said. “He’s a grown man down there for sure.”