COLUMBUS — The depth on the Ohio State offensive line still isn’t back where Greg Studrawa wants it, but it looks like he’ll at least have his entire starting unit available this week.
After dealing with a hip issue and missing some snaps in the win last weekend over Minnesota, left tackle Thayer Munford was listed as probable for the trip to Purdue on Saturday, according to Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer on his weekly radio show.
The program still isn’t expected to have backup center Brady Taylor available until after the off date following a knee surgery in September, and guard Branden Bowen’s chances of a return this season remain unclear as he recovers from another procedure to deal with complications stemming from last year’s fractured leg. But having Munford in the lineup should be a boost for the Buckeyes ahead of a tricky Big Ten matchup with the Boilermakers, particularly since it won’t put any additional strain on a somewhat short-handed group of blockers.
“We’re a little banged up right now,” Studrawa said after practice on Wednesday. “I don’t know about Thayer yet for this week, but we’re banged up. Brady’s not back yet, Bowen is still out, and because of those things, all those other guys have taken a lot of snaps. We’re banged up.
“I think [Wednesday] was pretty good and I think they feel pretty good now. Hopefully we’ll get Thayer back [Thursday] and get him some work before the weekend.”
If the Buckeyes had to downgrade Munford’s status, they would once again turn to redshirt junior Joshua Alabi to fill the void at left tackle.
The veteran came off the bench and largely held his own on the edge as Ohio State kept on rolling along offensively with another 500-yard performance in a double-digit victory to stay unbeaten.
“[Alabi] played really well,” Studrawa said. “He had one guy where he spun around him inside, but other than that, he came in at a good time and I thought he did a good job.
“I’m proud of him.”
That performance should offer a bit of security for the Buckeyes just in case. But obviously their preference would be not to need him as Thayer Munford tries to get ready for Saturday night.