Senior Isaiah Prince has played every snap of his Ohio State career at right tackle.
To say there is a comfort level on the right side for Prince would be like saying you have a comfort level with having the steering wheel of your car on the left side.
Does that mean you couldn’t drive a car with the steering wheel on the right and the gear box on your left? No, but it does mean you’d have to think about it a bit more and it would slow you down. In a car, that may be fine. At left tackle, however, not so much.
Prince spent the first half of spring practice this year at left tackle in hopes of taking over for departed stalwart Jamarco Jones. By the end of spring practice, however, Prince was back on the right side and sophomore Thayer Munford was on the left side.
As it stands now, it looks like Prince will remain at right tackle.
“Yeah, there’s a chance I might still play right tackle this year,” Prince said last month at Big Ten Media Days. “Just doing whatever the team needs me to do. If I have to play left tackle to help the team, or right tackle, or guard, whatever it may be. I’m down to help the team in whatever ways I can.”
Left tackle is the more marquee position, which is one of the reasons Prince wanted to step in there. What he found out, however, was that you can’t just slide in and pick up where you left off. Everything is different and it’s a lot to process.
“It’s a tough adjustment, especially because I’m right hand and right foot dominant,” he said. “So it’s like I’m on the left side and it’s just different. The way you think about things is backwards. It’s the complete opposite, so it was a big adjustment.”
There was a learning process for Prince, and it came with some rough moments.
“It was a hard transition,” he said. “I’d say the beginning of the spring was extremely frustrating for me because I went from having all of this confidence and being a dominant right tackle, to not being as good at left tackle, and I’m like, ‘Here we are starting over again.’ But as the spring went on I got a lot better at it.”
Those on the outside might look at the situation and wonder what the big deal is. But as important as technique is in successfully getting the job done, the big deal is in every step or punch or slide.
“It’s completely different,” Prince said. “It’s like writing with your right hand your whole life, and then switching and write with your left. Your muscle memory is different. Everything is backwards. The way you think about things, the defense looks different. You’re on a whole different side of the field. It’s just completely different.”
Following spring football, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said the move of Prince back to right tackle was because Thayer Munford was more comfortable at left tackle. That may be, but the comfort for Prince was also a factor.
That being said, Prince also closed the spring much more ready to play left tackle than how he began it. The media has yet to get a glimpse at any type of position groupings, so things may ultimately change yet again. If they do, Prince says both he and Munford will be fine on either side.
“I think Thayer is comfortable playing both sides, and I’m comfortable playing both sides,” he said. “In the beginning of the spring it was uncomfortable, but you’ve got to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I don’t think anybody’s really uncomfortable playing a certain position, but I think experience does help at certain spots.”
Experience goes a long way on the offensive line, and perhaps Studrawa feels like it would be better to keep Prince where he is most comfortable.
Ultimately, it will come down to OSU finding their five best offensive linemen and then slotting them where they fit best. Prince will likely end up at right tackle, but is willing to play wherever he is needed.
“Yeah, I’m more comfortable at right tackle, but I’ll do whatever the team needs me to do,” he said. “If I have to play left tackle, then it is what it is. I’ll get the job done.”