When Ohio State lined up for its first offensive snap against Troy, the predictions had come true. After joining the Buckeyes the previous winter as the nation’s top-ranked center in high school, Michael Brewster lined up in the middle of the OSU offensive line and assumed the starting center job four games into his college career.
It was the kind of ascension that made just about every player on the OSU roster happy. But for Andrew Moses, it meant an opportunity had passed him by.
It made for a sense of disappointment for the central Ohio native.
“Oh, of course,” Moses told BuckeyeSports.com when asked if he was disappointed. “You want to see that action. You want to see that time, but the coaches made a decision and that’s their job.”
OSU head coach Jim Tressel likes to refer to the football program as being similar to a family. Not surprisingly, Moses looked at the situation in such a light.
“It’s a family,” Moses said. “There’s decisions in families that you’re not going to like, but hey, this person got the nod so God bless him, let’s do everything we can to help him perform and that’s just what I did. I tried to help Mike as much as I could with the mental aspect of it. Hopefully I made a positive impact.”
That type of sentiment helps sum up what kind of player Moses has been during his OSU career. Now a fifth-year senior who already has a degree in political science under his belt, the 6-3, 280-pound Moses has been a player who has drawn plenty of praise from position coach Jim Bollman throughout his tenure in Columbus.
Two years after leading Dublin (Ohio) Bishop Watterson to a state championship as a sophomore, Moses was named lineman of the year as a senior by the Columbus Dispatch. He earned scholarship offers from a few schools in the Mid-American Conference but opted to walk on at OSU and perhaps try his hand at long-snapping.
Before long, Bollman was dropping his name in interviews as a player who had impressed the coaching staff. Asked if he felt he had surprised people with his abilities, Moses demurred.
“I don’t really think about it that way,” he said. “I guess (I did), being a walk-on, but I knew I was good enough to play here.”
Praise from the likes of Bollman has not translated to much game action, however. After walking onto the program for the 2005 season and subsequently redshirting, he did not take a snap for the Buckeyes until his redshirt sophomore season.
Moses first appeared in the season-opening win against Youngstown State and then went on to see a total of 44 minutes’ worth of action in seven games. The high-water mark came in week seven, when he played for 17 minutes as the Buckeyes ran roughshod over visiting Kent State by a 48-3 margin.
That season, he served as the primary backup to Jim Cordle at center. Despite playing with a broken hand for part of the season, Cordle earned the team’s Jim Marshall “Warrior” award and was named to ESPN’s all-Mayday team for his toughness.
But during the third game of the 2008 season, then-starting left guard Steve Rehring went down with an injury. When Cordle slid over to Rehring’s vacated spot, it appeared to be a battle between Moses and Brewster to fill the new opening at center.
In his weekly press conference that week, Tressel never mentioned Moses when discussing possibilities on the offensive line and Brewster was mentioned as having spent time at guard but not at center.
One day before the Sept. 20 kickoff against Troy, Brewster learned he would be the starting center. During the 2008 season, Moses’ minutes dipped to 20 – less than half the action he saw the year prior.
Throughout it all, however, Moses has emerged as somewhat of a mentor for Brewster, helping him learn the system at as rapid a pace as possible.
“It’s going well,” he said midway through spring football. “We get along really well. We always watch each other and say things like, ‘That went wrong’ or ‘that was really good.’ It’s nice to have people to talk to going through the same things.”
When the 2009 season begins, either Brewster or Cordle figure to man the starting center spot. Despite that fact, Moses said he is proud of what he has accomplished for the Buckeyes regardless of what others had expected out of him.
“I’m just trying to work as hard as I can,” he said. “Whether people have expectations for me or not, I know I have high expectations for myself so that’s all that matters for me.”