The good news – Connelly likes the upside of the younger players. Crabtree, a 6-foot-7, 290-pound first-year player from Mansfield, Texas, has been one of the pleasant surprises of the spring.
“I really, really like the kid,” Connelly said. “I think he’s got a bright future. He’s got all the intangibles. He’s got a great work ethic. He got a great mindset. He asks great questions. He’s incredibly motivated for a young kid; he’s further along than you think maturation wise. Very, very mature for his age.”
The players seem to like Connelly as well, which is a key factor in developing a solid and cohesive unit.
Joe Wickline was the longest-tenured assistant of the Gundy era before he bolted for Texas, seeking a change. And Wickline’s record of producing formidable fronts is impressive.
Still, a fresh look can be good for both sides.
“They say change is a good thing,” said Koenig, who reminds that his two brothers, both OSU linemen before him, worked under multiple coaches. “This change is a good thing. You can see it out here. We’re breaking good runs and whatever.”
Connelly is tweaking techniques and steps, while also relieving pressure on the tackles, who were regularly left on their own out on the edge, but now get more double-team help from the guards. It might not make for the sexiest story of OSU’s spring camp, what with Tyreek Hill and Jhajuan Seales and the quarterbacks sparking conversations, but building a line is of vital importance.
“It’s a work in process,” Connelly said. “Things are starting to slow down now, having been here six weeks and having three weeks of spring practice under our belt. I’m kind of getting a better feel for where we are and where we need to be.”