COLUMBUS — There will be no fans in Ohio Stadium when No. 3 Ohio State plays No. 9 Indiana on Saturday.
OSU allowed families and friends of players and coaches to attend the first two home games against Nebraska and Rutgers. But the university announced Wednesday that people in those categories will not be able to attend Saturday’s game, a policy which could remain in place the rest of the season.
“The Ohio State University Department of Athletics has determined that family members of the players and coaching staffs of teams competing this fall will no longer be permitted into any university sporting event,” according to a statement from OSU.
“The decision by the department to not allow any fans aligns with the Columbus Department of Health’s stay at home advisory, which was issued Wednesday. The advisory starts at 6 p.m. Friday and will remain in place for the next 28 days.”
The statement said this decision will be reevaluated before the final home game of the season against Michigan on Dec. 12 but the decision to not allow families will apply to all men’s and women’s basketball games and hockey games at Ohio State for the remainder of 2020.
“The health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, spectators and event staff is our top priority,” athletic director Gene Smith said. “We had hoped to continue to allow family members of our student-athletes and coaching staffs to be able to attend games, but circumstances around this pandemic are prompting us to adjust, just as it has throughout the past eight months.”
There were 1,344 people at Ohio State’s opener against Nebraska and 1,275 at the Rutgers game.
RECRUITING OLAVE: The first time Ohio State coach Ryan Day saw Chris Olave he was trying to recruit his teammate, 4-star quarterback Jack Tuttle, who is now Indiana’s back-up quarterback.
When Day visited Mission Hills High School, Calif., near San Diego, in 2017, the Grizzlies’ coach, Chris Hauser, told him he should take a look at Tuttle’s best receiver, who was Olave.
This suggestion did not immediately excite Day, not because of anything about Olave, but because of past experiences as a recruiter.
“Usually if the coach is saying, ‘I’ve got another guy over here for you,’ that means you’re not getting the guy who was just introduced to you. That’s usually not a good feeling,” Day said earlier this week.
“In this case it was kind of the perfect storm. He didn’t play the year before, he had some really good track times, he was a multiple sport athlete. I kind of liked him, I liked his approach. He had a quiet confidence about him. I loved his family.
“For us to go all the way to San Diego to get a receiver, you’ve got to feel really strongly about him. And I did. To say that we would think that he would be the way he is now, that isn’t true. We saw something we really liked. We thought he would be a really good football player but he has exceeded his expectations here so far,” he said.
Olave’s freshman year in 2018 began quietly before he caught two touchdown passes and blocked a punt in a 62-39 win over Michigan in the last regular season game of the year.
Last year he had 48 catches for 840 yards and 12 touchdowns and in three games this season he has 18 catches for 288 yards and four touchdowns. He has scored 19 touchdowns in the last 20 games he has played.
BIG JUMP: Ohio State offensive tackle Thayer Munford was named second-team All-Big Ten last season despite coming back from offseason back surgery. But apparently he wasn’t overly impressed with how he played.
Asked earlier this week to compare how he is playing this season compared to last season, Munford
said, “Compared to last year, 20 times better. I’m a lot quicker, a lot more physical. I just feel a lot more confident. But I’m not there yet, I’m not at my peak.”
OPENING THE TOOL BOX: Ohio State safety Josh Proctor lost out to Marcus Hooker as the starter in OSU’s three cornerbacks, one safety defense but still has averaged 27 snaps per game this season.
His versatility is one of the big things that gets him on the field.
He has replaced Hooker on some series and has played the nickel when OSU uses five defensive backs.
“I would describe my role as kind of like a Swiss Army knife. Just kind of anywhere you need me,” Proctor said.
NEW CASTLE CONNECTIONS: Indiana coach Tom Allen played for his father, a longtime high school football in New Castle, Ind.
The basketball coach at New Castle when Allen was in school was Sam Alford, father of Indiana University legend Steve Alford, who was also coached by his father at New Castle.
Allen’s sports in high school were football, wrestling and track. And he is six years younger than Alford, so they were never teammates
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau