As Ohio State’s 2013 season came to an end, Joel Hale came to a sobering conclusion. After beginning the year as a starter on Ohio State’s defensive line, the junior defensive tackle was no longer as valued of a member of the Buckeyes roster as he was at the start of the year.
The emergence of freshman defensive end Joey Bosa shifted sophomore Adolphus Washington back inside to his original position of defensive tackle, effectively pushing Hale out of the OSU lineup. But rather than be content with spending his impending senior season as a reserve, the 6’4″, 310-pounder approached Urban Meyer with a career-altering proposition.
“I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do for the team toward the end of the season last year,” Hale admitted. “That was bugging me. That was really bothering me and sticking with me. So I just wanted to do what I could and know that I can. I know I can do a lot more for the Buckeyes because I have a lot in my heart and a lot in my mind to make this team the best it can be. I went in with a change to the O-line in mind.”
Meyer obliged, and with that, the three-year defensive lineman transformed into a first-year offensive lineman fighting in the most important position battle on Ohio State’s most important unit. With the Buckeyes replacing four experienced starters from last season’s offensive line, Meyer’s already admitted that he’s found his eyes drifting to one particular vacant spot.
“Left guard, left guard, left guard,” Meyer unsolicitedly repeated…