Nick Petit-Frere ‘stepped up’ To Help Buckeyes Blow Out Northwestern

Ohio State football tackle Nick Petit-Frere

It wasn’t the ideal way for a player to make his starting debut.

Ohio State redshirt freshman Nick Petit-Frere was in limbo until just moments before the start of the game at Northwestern on Friday night.

Both he and junior Thayer Munford took reps with the first team offensive line during pregame warmups, and even Petit-Frere wasn’t sure who was going to start.

“Kind of like right before we were going to go kick off they were like, ‘you’re in, Nick,’ said Petit-Frere after the Buckeyes’ 52-3 win.

The news wasn’t a total shock. Munford is the normal starter, and was listed as a game-time decision. The normal backup left tackle, Josh Alabi was out. That gave Petit-Frere basically a full week of practice to prepare.

“I was with the ones most of the week,” he said. But it wasn’t totally clear where he would be lining up.

“At the beginning of the week, I was playing right (tackle). And then they switched me over to left for a few plays and I was like, ‘hey, I kind of feel comfortable with this,'” he said.

That comfort allowed the Buckeyes to leave starting right tackle Branden Bowen in the place he’d been playing all season. But it meant that a first-time starter would be watching Justin Fields’ blind side. Again, not ideal, but Petit-Frere held his own.

“I thought Nick stepped up. Nick played well,” said OSU head coach Ryan Day. “We did a good job with him in there. That was his first real time where he had to start, and I thought that was good.”

Petit-Frere played the entire first quarter and the Buckeyes’ initial drive of the second. During that time, OSU put up 157 yards of total offense and 14 points.

After the game, he said this week was the first time he had played on the left side of the line all season.

“Last year I was running with the left tackle during fall camp. And I played left in high school, I played both left and right,” he said.

Munford replaced Petit-Frere on the Buckeyes’ second drive of the second quarter, and played for much of the rest of the game. Afterward, Petit-Frere sounded pretty happy with his first extended playing time.

“All the coaches came up to me after halftime and after the game and were like, ‘Nick, you did a really good job, we’re very proud of you.’ And I’m very thankful for them giving me this opportunity.”

Petit-Frere came to Ohio State with 5-star hype, ranked as the best offensive tackle in the 2018 recruiting class. After making a solid initial impression, he’ll have an opportunity to play a lot more next season. Bowen and Alabi will both be gone, and Petit-Frere will be the front-runner to win the starting spot opposite Munford.

“All the coaches were telling me to keep working hard. There’s going to be some bumps and bruises along the way, especially in your first start,” he said.

“I’ve still got to improve, I’ve still got to work hard, and everything is just trying to get better.”

2 Responses

  1. PF will start at Lt next year. No chance munford is coming back. And I don’t blame him.

    1. Yeah, OSU will lose both tackles and left guard at the end of this season. PF will definitely be playing tackle next year, and probably on the left side as you said.

      I know a lot backup lineman have been getting a fair amount of reps this season late in games. And that experience will pay dividends next year when we have three starters to replace..

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