Ohio State Football: O-Lineman Antonio Underwood Tears ACL, out for the Year

David Regimbal@davidreg412Featured ColumnistApril 2, 2013

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 29:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on September 29, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

One of the biggest goals for any college football team going through spring practice is to avoid suffering any serious injuries.

Unfortunately for Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes, they couldn't escape the spring without suffering a loss.

According to Austin Ward of ESPN.com, backup offensive guard Antonio Underwood suffered an ACL tear in practice last week and will miss the entire 2013 season.

Personnel note: Reserve offensive lineman Antonio Underwood tore his ACL last week. Meyer said he'd been having good spring.

— Austin Ward (@BuckeyesBeat) April 2, 2013

Even though Underwood wasn't expected to start this year, losing the 300-pound guard is a significant blow to a team that is looking to build depth in the trenches. 

Ohio State does return four starers to its offensive line this year: left tackle Jack Mewhort, left guard Andrew Norwell, center Corey Linsley and right guard Marcus Hall. That group helped Ohio State average over 242 rushing yards per game in 2012 and should be one of the strongest units in the country this year. 

Amazingly, last year's offensive line stayed healthy throughout the course of the season. That's a rarity in college football, meaning depth up front is imperative.

Underwood was Hall's primary backup at right guard last year, but saw little playing time in 2012. He started one game (at Purdue) his freshman season.

With Underwood's injury, Meyer will look to a number of young guys to step up and give the team some depth in the trenches. Players in their second year with the program like Pat Elflein, Taylor Decker and Kyle Dodson are playing well this spring, as well as guys like Chase Farris and Jacoby Boren. 

Still, replacing the soon-to-be junior guard is a headache Meyer did not want to deal with this spring. If Underwood suffered a typical ACL tear, he should be back up to full speed by spring practice next year.

Per a university release, Underwood will redshirt this season and have two years of eligibility remaining when he returns in 2014.


David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.