Ohio State football not retaining offensive line coach Greg Studrawa

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch
Greg Studrawa coach of Ohio State’s offensive linemen talks to players in a drill during practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus, Ohio on August 6, 2019. [Kyle Robertson/Dispatch]

Ohio State is not retaining offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, the school confirmed Thursday.

Studrawa, 57, had spent six seasons on the Buckeyes’ coaching staff, beginning as an assistant under former coach Urban Meyer and remaining when Ryan Day took over in 2019.

He was the third-longest tenured position coach behind defensive line coach Larry Johnson and running backs coach Tony Alford who were hired in the preceding offseasons before his arrival in 2016

A contract extension he signed two years ago expires at the end of this month. He did not immediately respond to a text message from The Dispatch seeking comment.

In an interview last month, he said he was planning to return to Day's staff.

"As long as he'll have me, you bet I am," Studrawa said.

Studrawa is the second assistant gone since the season ended last weekend with the Buckeyes' dramatic win over Utah in Rose Bowl, following secondary coach and defensive play-caller Matt Barnes who left to become the defensive coordinator at Memphis and cleared room for Jim Knowles to step in this week as the new coordinator. 

When Studrawa first came aboard six years ago, his addition to the staff was meant to ease the responsibilities placed on then-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner, who was also serving as the offensive line coach.

The impact of Studrawa, a coaching veteran from northwest Ohio known for a raspy voice, was felt right away.

In his first two seasons at Ohio State, he developed Pat Elflein and Billy Price into winners of the Rimington Trophy as the top center in college football. Elflein and Price were both converted guards, and Studrawa rarely shied away from having linemen switch positions, using a similar approach in subsequent years.

While moving from guard to center to replace Price in 2018, Michael Jordan also was named an All-American.

But the results became increasingly mixed for the offensive line, especially this past fall.

Using a grouping of linemen that featured two former tackles in Paris Johnson and Thayer Munford starting at guard, the Buckeyes were among the best teams in the nation in pass protection.

They surrendered just 17 sacks. Only 11 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision allowed fewer through the bowl season. They further ranked fourth in Football Outsiders' sack rate at 2.8%.

Issues were found on the ground as Ohio State’s rushing offense struggled late in the season, including being held to 64 yards rushing in their loss at rival Michigan. It marked the fewest rushing yards by the Buckeyes in The Game since 2003, and they had trouble in the trenches throughout the contest.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud was also sacked four times against the Wolverines and faced pressure on nearly half of his dropbacks, according to data kept by Pro Football Focus. Aidan Hutchinson, who finished second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, accounted for three of those.

This season was the first time since 2018 the Buckeyes did not average at least 200 rushing yards per game.

Studrawa dealt with health issues this past season. After he was hit on the sideline in the season opener at Minnesota, he underwent back surgery and missed a Sept. 18 win against Tulsa.

Much of the early speculation over a potential replacement has centered on UCLA offensive line coach Justin Frye, who was previously an assistant with Day on staffs at Boston College and Temple nearly a decade ago.

If Ohio State attempts to pull Frye out of Southern California, the effort could be complicated by the fact Frye also serves as the Bruins' offensive coordinator. 

Frye has ties to the Midwest as an offensive lineman at Indiana from 2002-06 and starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Hoosiers.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at jkaufman@dispatch.com or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.

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