Ohio State football: Alabama transfer fighting for starting spot at center

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Chad Lindsay has been within the football inner sanctums at Alabama and Ohio State.

“There’s not a lot of differences,” the fifth-year senior center said. “Both places have great tradition, they both are winning programs, and they both want to win championships. There’s no difference, really, at all.”

And in this, his final season, his heart is where his current home is: Ohio State. Having graduated from Alabama in four years but with a season of eligibility, he took advantage of the NCAA rule that allows such a player to transfer and play immediately.

“I had four great years at Alabama, and I felt like I needed to go somewhere else for my last year,” Lindsay said. “I found that right here with the Buckeyes. … It’s great being here.”

He didn’t just throw a dart on a map to set the destination for his adventure. As he plotted his departure from Alabama, where he started four games at center last year but where nothing was guaranteed this season, he zeroed in on several programs which lost interior linemen after the 2013 season. One was Ohio State, which lost all three starters on the inside, including center Corey Linsley.

“I was looking at a place where I thought I could fit in best and do what I can to help the team,” said Lindsay, who is capable of playing center or guard.

It just so happened that Ohio State had a center-in-waiting, junior Jacoby Boren. The two are involved in one of the big competitions in camp, and Boren welcomed it.

“Chad’s a great guy, he does a lot of great things, and as camp keeps going we’ll see how things work out,” Boren said. “But competition always makes everyone better, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Can they be friends?

“Yeah, you can be friends,” Boren said. “At the end of the day we’re all fighting for the same thing, and that’s to win football games. So we’re going to push each other, try to get everyone better.”

For Lindsay, the season marks the end of his college career. But what a trip. Originally from The Woodlands, Texas, he was on two national-championship teams at Alabama (2011, 2012). Yet he moved on with the blessings of his parents.

“I’m 23 years old, they wanted me to do what was best for me,” Lindsay said. “And I felt like, ‘Hey, let’s go to Ohio.’ ”

Which brings it back to the comparison of powerhouses. Such as: What’s the biggest difference between the offense at Alabama and Ohio State? Philosophically, not much, Lindsay said.

“They both want to be the most dominant offense in the country and in their conference,” Lindsay said.

How about coach Nick Saban, a four-time national-championship winner, and coach Urban Meyer, the two-time national-title winner?

“I tell you what, they’re not that much different at all,” Lindsay said. “They’re both great competitors, they both expect the best out of their players, and they both are winners. They want to win it.”

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

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