Confidence helps Munford as first-year starter

Bill Rabinowitz
Left tackle Thayer Munford holds up receiver Terry McLaurin after a touchdown against Rutgers. Munford said he believes he has done a good job in his role as a starter. “I know I’ve had some hiccups here and there, but I’m learning from that,” he said. [Jonathan Quilter/Dispatch]

Left tackles have a crucial position as the protector of a quarterback’s blind side. It’s a big responsibility, especially for a true sophomore and first-year starter like Thayer Munford.

But the job hasn’t been too big for Munford, whose unshakable belief in himself might be his biggest asset.

Asked whether he ever gets nervous, he replied, “No. It’s just the mindset that we have and I have. I have confidence in myself and my teammates.”

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Munford acknowledges that his play hasn’t been flawless.

“I think I’m doing pretty well,” he said. “I know I’ve had some hiccups here and there, but I’m learning from that.”

One came last week when Michigan State’s star defensive end Kenny Willekes beat him with an inside move.

“He got me on an up-and-under (move),” Munford said. “I’m not going to lie about that. He did. But at the same time, I’m going to fight my butt off.”

He said that Willekes tried to get in his head with trash talk. Munford just dismissed it.

It would take a lot more than words to deter Munford. He showed his determination his senior year of high school when he lost 50 pounds and improved his grades after moving from Cincinnati to Massillon to live with his coach.

“I’m just living my dream,” Munford said. “I’m really happy to be here, being an Ohio kid and a Cincinnati guy and a Massillon guy.” 

Fuller returns

Safety Jordan Fuller returned last week after missing the second half of the Nebraska game because of a targeting call. The violation was clearly not intentional. The receiver ducked his head trying to reel in a pass and Fuller made more contact with his shoulder than helmet. Still, the rule is the rule.

“If I could go back (and do it again), it would probably be the same result,” Fuller said Wednesday. “I didn’t think I could do anything about it. I tried to go low, and he just fell awkwardly and I hit him in the head.”

The silver lining to the disqualification was that it gave Brendon White a chance to play.

“I guess it was a little blessing in disguise for him,” he said. “I’m just really happy for him. It’s funny how things work.”

Injury update

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said on his radio show Thursday that he expects linebacker Baron Browning, who will miss the Maryland game, to be available for next week’s game against Michigan.

Meyer said kicker Sean Nuernberger is “on call and ready to go” if needed. Blake Haubeil has handled kicking duties since Nuernberger injured his groin right before the Minnesota game on Oct. 13.

As for the offensive line, Meyer said Branden Bowen is available. Bowen was the starter at right guard last year until he broke two bones in his leg against Maryland. Meyer said that Brady Taylor (knee) is “close” to being ready to play.


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