COLUMBUS — No decision has been made yet on the status of Chris Olave, and certainly all health updates are subject to change at Ohio State this season.
But there is optimism coming from the Buckeyes that they’ll have the star wide receiver available for the challenging trip to Penn State on Saturday night.
Olave left the season-opening win over Nebraska late in the third quarter after taking a vicious upper-body hit, eventually heading to the locker room before the game ended for additional evaluation from the Ohio State training staff. But even in the immediate aftermath there were encouraging signs for the Buckeyes about how Olave was carrying himself, and that would certainly bode well for a passing attack that would obviously prefer to be at full strength against a team that was projected as the second-most talented in the Big Ten.
“I’m super confident,” Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson said. “I talked to Chris, and he seemed all good. So, I think Chris is going to be ready to play on Saturday.
“But I think just the depth of our receivers, it’s such a deep room, so I know we’ve got some young guys ready [if Olave isn’t cleared]. That would be a great opportunity for them to step up and show that competitive excellence and take on that role. I have full faith in our receiver room that somebody could step up and fill that void.”
The Buckeyes had a pair of freshmen emerge after Olave went down, with Jaxon Smith-Njigba making an insane touchdown catch and Julian Fleming nabbing the first reception of his career in the fourth quarter. And both Gee Scott and Mookie Cooper look poised to lend a pair of hands if need be alongside Wilson, Jameson Williams and a solid group of tight ends that collectively give Ohio State perhaps the deepest set of passing-game targets in the country.
Olave is still the headliner and the leader of that unit, though, establishing himself over the last two years as an elite deep threat with a knack for finding the end zone consistently. And if the Buckeyes have to rule him out by Friday when the school finalizes its decisions on availability, that would certainly force them to do a little shuffling of the rotation.
“We would just move some things around, just like we always do,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “That’s where depth comes into play. We’ll see as the week goes on how it goes.”
The Buckeyes don’t have to rush a decision. But it least appears to be trending in a positive direction for Chris Olave early in the week.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day and a handful of Buckeyes chatted with the media on Tuesday afternoon before practice. Full comments from Day, wide receiver Garrett Wilson, defensive tackle Haskell Garrett and center Josh Myers are available below. All Buckeyes press conferences can also be streamed live on the Lettermen Row YouTube channel.