When Jamarco Jones graduated after last season, it was expected that Isaiah Prince would step in and play left tackle for his final season as a Buckeye.
Prince opened the spring at left tackle, but did close it that way. Instead, Prince was back at the right tackle spot where he had started for the previous two seasons, and sophomore Thayer Munford was running with the ones at left tackle.
When Munford opened up at left tackle in the spring game, many were surprised, but it wasn’t the first time Munford had played left tackle. Last year in fall camp while Jones was dealing with appendicitis, Munford was on the left side and gained a little bit of experience playing the position, but not much.
It wasn’t until this spring that Munford got knee deep into the position, and according to offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, the left side just felt more comfortable to his young sophomore.
“He hasn’t played it very much but when I talked to him the first day after we switched, I said, ‘Go over there and play a little bit,’ he kind of lit up and was like, ‘This isn’t bad, Coach, I like this.’”
Many may not think there is much difference in playing on the left side or right side, but ask yourself this — how well could you do everyday tasks like brushing your teeth, throwing a football, or eating a bowl of cereal with your opposite hand?
Finding out which side a player is more comfortable playing is generally a trial and error situation in that wherever they try him, he’ll end up where he makes fewer errors.
“One time you try left and right handed, you don’t know if a kid is right-hand dominant or left-hand dominant, you switch him,” Studrawa explained. “Sometimes like [Demetrius Knox], you switch him he can do it easily on the left side. Some guys can’t go over to the left side and do that. So that’s just a feel when they start to play and you can tell if they’re awkward or they’re tentative, ‘Oh boy, I don’t know if he can handle that side.’”
What Studrawa liked about Munford’s response was the enthusiasm and the production, and upon seeing both, he felt it was best for Prince to stay on the right side and Munford and Joshua Alabi to remain where they seem to be most comfortable.
“Thayer jumped over there, switched his stance and was really, really good, so that led me to believe that,” he said. “And I know that Alabi is really good on the left side, too, he’s not comfortable on the right side. He’s really good on the left, so you try to get him in a position where they’re the most comfortable and where they fit what we’re doing and where we need them.”