When I visited Ohio State late in its spring practice session, coach Urban Meyer cited the offensive line "as a very big concern."
That was no surprise, since the Buckeyes lost four starters off a group that had been the best offensive line in the Big Ten for the past two seasons. But Meyer said he was "a little disappointed" with how the line had developed to that point in the spring. At the same time, he mentioned his confidence in position coach Ed Warriner and that "we've got some good players coming in."
Meyer may or may not have known at the time that the O-line was about to get a boost via transfer. Former Alabama center Chad Lindsay is transferring to Ohio State in a move first reported by CBSSports.com and later confirmed by ESPN.com. Lindsay, who started four games for the Crimson Tide, is a graduate transfer who will be immediately eligible this fall in Columbus.
Redshirt freshman Billy Price and sophomore Jacoby Boren had been splitting first-team reps at center this spring for the Buckeyes, but there's a good chance Lindsay steps in and becomes the primary snapper for quarterback Braxton Miller. He didn't play a lot at Alabama after coming in as a highly rated recruit, but it was understandably tough to break into the Tide's star-studded O-line. He spent the first few years of his career behind former Outland Trophy winner Barrett Jones.
It's a nice addition for Ohio State, which Meyer said had only two O-line starters -- left tackle Taylor Decker and guard Pat Elflein -- locked down this spring. And in a double victory for the Buckeyes, it deals a setback to Michigan.
The Wolverines had also been in the running for Lindsay's services and likely have an even bigger need for experience and proven performers on their young offensive line, which struggled everywhere but at the two tackle spots manned by seniors last season. Plus, Lindsay played for Michigan offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who held the same post at Alabama the previous two seasons, and could have helped with the transition to Nussmeier's system in Ann Arbor.
Instead, he'll be suiting up for Michigan's biggest rival. Some are likely to confuse him with Corey Linsley, who played center for the Buckeyes the past two years, because of their similar names. Ohio State would be very happy if Lindsay plays like Linsley did.