- David Jablonski Staff Writer
Billy Price has left a lasting legacy with the Ohio State Buckeyes. As a Rimington Trophy winner, his photo will soon grace a wall overlooking the practice field inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. He hopes it’s an image that will inspire future offensive linemen — not to mention all the other Ohio State athletes who use the field.
“All I know is when lacrosse is in here, I don’t want to get my picture dinged by a ball,” Price said Friday. “Maybe if look pleasant, they’ll be like, ‘Hey, let’s not hit that guy. He’s smiling in that picture.’”
Price will be one of the players Ohio State misses most in 2018. The fifth-year senior and two-time first-team All-American from Austintown Fitch High School has started every game of the past four seasons. He will make his school-record 55th consecutive start Dec. 29 in the Cotton Bowl against Southern California.
Coach Urban Meyer thinks enough of Price he named him the “ring committee chairman,” meaning he will be in charge of designing Ohio State’s Big Ten championship rings.
“It’s going to be a big one, he told me, which is fine,” Meyer said. “Make it as big as you want.”
“It’s about to be massive,” Price said.
Losing Price will be just as massive — in a different way — for Ohio State’s offensive line, though he already has a good idea who will replace him at center: Brady Taylor, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman who will be a fifth-year senior in 2018. Taylor, a Columbus Bishop Ready graduate, has backed up Price all season.
“It’s Brady’s position to lose at this point,” Price said. “The kid’s been in the program for four or five years now. He’s continued to get better. Him and I are having those one-on-one conversations. Let’s work on this. Let’s change this.”
Price points out mistakes Taylor makes and vice versa. He said they have created a strong relationship. As the No. 5 Buckeyes (11-2) prepare for their game against the No. 8 Trojans (11-2) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Price and Taylor are splitting snaps in practice. Taylor is getting more work than usual. Price is getting enough work to stay sharp for his last game with the Buckeyes.
“If it’s a five-snap series, I’m getting two and he’s getting three,” Price said.
Price won’t be the only big loss for the line. Jamarco Jones, a true senior and two-year starter at left tackle, is just as important. Both players are optimistic the returning starters and young players will perform well next season.
“We’ve got a good group of guys,” Price said. “With Branden (Bowen) coming back, that adds depth. You’ve got Isaiah (Prince), Michael (Jordan), Brady, Demetrius (Knox), Thayer (Munford), Joshua (Alabi), and some of the young guys are coming up: Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis, Gavin Cupp, Jack Wohlabaugh.”
“Isaiah and Michael are going to be the leaders, along with Brady and Demetrius and Brandon,” Price said.
Prince could move from right tackle to left tackle, Jones said. Prince has taken snaps there at times throughout this season.
As for the rest of the backups, Jones said, “(Alabi’s) been practicing well. I think Thayer’s going to be really good. Wyatt’s been doing pretty good. The chance to get more reps (in bowl practices) is really important for them going into this offseason and spring ball. Just proving themselves to the coaches, just gaining confidence is the biggest key for those guys.”