March 11, 2014

Redshirt sophomore Pat Elflein enters spring camp as one of Ohio State’s top returners on the offensive line. After sitting out the 2012 season with a foot injury, Elflein turned heads when he replaced starter Marcus Hall midway through the first quarter of the 2013 regular season finale against Michigan and helped the Buckeyes’ amass 393 yards rushing in a 42-41 win over the Wolverines. Elflein would go on to start at right guard in the Big Ten championship game and play significant minutes in the Orange Bowl, gaining valuable experience that will be crucial to the success of the OSU offense in 2014. Elflein took some time after practice last week to talk about the upcoming season and his important leadership role on a young offensive line.

“We need to have a big spring as a unit. There are some guys who are inexperienced but we have enough talent to get the job done. If we work hard to get better every day, we’ll be ready to go this fall.

“The talk of inexperience on the offensive line is motivation. We’re not worried about who we lost but who we have now. We all have big shoes to fill because the starters on the offensive line were the heart and soul of our team last season, but we have a great group that is up to the challenge.

“Building chemistry on the offensive line is our focus this spring. We have to learn to play together as a group and develop as a cohesive unit. Protecting Braxton Miller and our running backs is an important job.

Taylor Decker and I will have to step up and be leaders on the line. We have the most game experience, and we have to use that experience to help the younger players prepare for the playing field. We’re both young, but we are confident in our abilities and know we can help make our teammates better.

“Playing in the Michigan game as a freshman was surreal. It was unexpected, but I was ready to go. Our coaches train us in practice to be ready to play at any given moment. My number was called and I stepped up and did my job. I’m excited to receive my gold pants.”