March 12, 2014
March 12, 2014
With the departures of Marcus Hall, Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort and Andrew Norwell, it may seem as if Buckeye offensive line coach Ed Warinner's cupboard is bare. However, junior offensive tackle Taylor Decker is on a mission to put that conception to rest. As Ohio State's lone returning starter on the offensive line, Decker is no longer the wide-eyed underclassman of the bunch. This time around he looks to lead a young crop of talented, yet inexperienced Buckeyes, who will be competing for a coveted position much like Decker worked toward in the past. Also new this season, Decker will be returning to left tackle after transitioning to the right side upon arriving in Columbus three years ago. Decker took some time after practice last week to discuss the upcoming season and his motivation to become a leader within the offensive line.
"When I was younger in high school I always played on the left. Then when I got to Ohio State the coaches asked me to flip sides in practice. You do whatever the coaches tell you to do. It was actually a good experience to have. It made me more versatile.
"I try not to worry too much about the position I'm playing because I know the coaches want to put me in a position to succeed. They wouldn't put me in a position they didn't think I could handle. I trust in my coaches and I trust they have confidence in me. I just need to continue building confidence in myself.
"Now we just need someone to lead these guys. This is a talented group of guys who just need to get some experience. I'm trying to be that person to lead them, encourage them and help them in any way I can.
"It was a quick transition from being the young guy to needing to become a leader. I think towards the end of the year the older guys let me become more vocal because they realized this coming year I was going to be the experienced one.
"I have to be more vocal now and lead by example. I can't tell people to do things I'm not doing myself. It is kind of a practice what you preach kind of thing - don't miss workouts and don't be late to things. You also have to be an advocate for the guys who are on your side of the ball. You have to believe in them and that will help them a lot."
Previous Spring Spotlights:
Kendall Sheffield: Cleats & Spikes