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Is Ohio State football preparing an offensive line contingency plan for Michigan?

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Matt Jones’ tenure as an important Ohio State football backup and multi-year starter at guard came with another perpetual identity.

Every time the starting center job changed over, Jones’ name came up as a possible replacement. He came out of Brooklyn’s Erasmus Hall High School in 2018 as the nation’s top prospect as the position, per the 247Sports composite.

Yet, until last Saturday, Jones had never played the position in a game for Ohio State.

For one series in the second half of an already in-hand 38-3 victory over Michigan State, Jones moved one spot to his left to replace Carson Hinzman at center. Another veteran, Enokk Vimahi, stepped in at right guard.

If OSU wanted to simply give Viamhi run with the 1s to reward his five-year commitment to the program, it could have kept Hinzman in the game or slotted in backups Vic Cutler or Jakob James.

Those 10 snaps Jones played at center seemed quite intentional — especially with the challenge looming on the near horizon.

“We had a pretty comfortable lead at that point, and felt like it was good to do,” OSU coach Ryan Day said. “We evaluated it, and there was some good snaps there.

It’s always good to kind of, in an opportunity like that, go see, if we needed to make a change, what that would look like.”

Michigan’s rotation of Cam Goode, Mason Graham, Kenneth Grant and Kris Jenkins represent four of the top 10 rated interior defensive linemen in the Big Ten Conference, per Pro Football Focus.

They anchor a defense that ranks in the top 20 nationally in limiting runs (3.23 yards per carry) and ranks second to only OSU in defensive quarterback efficiency rating (94.96).

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