Nicholas Petit-Frere made his first career start Friday night when he started at offensive left tackle against Northwestern.
The news was a little slow getting to Justin Fields. Ohio State’s quarterback was asked Wednesday if he had to make adjustments in his game because Petit-Frere started in place of Thayer Munford.
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“Looking back on it, I didn’t even realize he was playing, to be honest,” Fields said.
Only when Petit-Frere missed a couple of assignments and got chewed out on the sideline by offensive line coach Greg Studrawa did it register with Fields that he had a different blindside protector.
“I was trying to give him confidence and trying to get him going,” Fields said. “I think he was a little bit kind of shook at first, but I think he got settled in as the game went on.”
Though clearly hobbled, Munford played for a couple of possessions as Ohio State built on its lead before giving way to Petit-Frere again.
It was a tough challenge for Petit-Frere, a redshirt freshman who was not only making his first start but was switched from his normal right tackle spot.
“That's one of the toughest things you can do, especially at tackle,” said senior right tackle Branden Bowen, who won a training camp competition with Petit-Frere. “It’s more of a mind game. People think, oh, you can just flip your feet and it's all good. But it's totally different.
“You're changing which hand you punch with in pass (protection). All your technique is just flipped. Especially when you have that muscle memory locked in, it's a tough move.”
Overall, Bowen said, he believed Petit-Frere played well.
Munford’s status for the game against Wisconsin on Saturday is unclear. Ohio State releases its status report for injured players Friday.
Olave bounces back
Sophomore receiver Chris Olave has emerged as a star with his smooth route-running, speed and hands. But he said he had a tough couple of weeks after he wasn’t a target for a pass against Michigan State.
“I think that was one of my worst games, in my opinion,” Olave said.
But Olave rebounded against Northwestern with five catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Such is a receiver’s role. All he can do is his job and hope the ball comes his way, and be happy for teammates if they get the ball instead.
“It could be me having a big game one game and Ben (Victor) having a big game the next game,” Olave said. “You go from having six catches one game to zero catches the next game. We're real unselfish in the receiver room. We have a great bond with each other, and we're happy for each other.”