What To Watch (And Ignore) In The Spring Game

Ohio State is one of 18 college football teams that will stage a spring game today. The Buckeyes have moved their event up to an 11:45 a.m. in order to avoid storms that are expected to roll into the area during the afternoon, and that--plus the fact that there is ongoing construction occurring at Ohio Stadium--might limit attendance somewhat. 

If you are going to the game, here are three things you should watch for, and two things you should ignore. 

THREE THINGS TO WATCH...

  1. The Quarterback Battle: It's the proverbial elephant in the room, but with J.T. Barrett having moved on, this will be your first chance to see the three-way race between Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow, and Tate Martell. There should be ample opportunity to witness all three throw the ball. Recent history suggests head coach Urban Meyer likes to test his team's ability to pass in the spring game. 
  2. *Some* Of The Other Position Battles: Jordan Fuller has locked down one of the safety spots, but who plays opposite of him is an open question, so keep an eye on Isa­iah Pryor as he tries to snag that other spot. His teammates have raved about his play this spring. Come this season, you'll get a heavy dose of Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins at running back, but Antonio Williams has apparently made great gains. We'll know more after today's scrimmage about whether that might be enough to earn him time at an already crowded position. Finally, there is great competition at linebacker, especially with Tuf Borland out with an Achilles injury.
  3. Circle Drill: It won't really tell you anything about the team, but it's a spectacle. Meyer has always had his players line up for circle drill as part of spring games past. It's a physical, one-on-one exercise in which one athlete tries to dominate another. Not even quarterbacks have been exempt from going into the middle of the circle. There could be other interesting or moving or fun side stories, as well. Last year, for instance, Jacob Jarvis was handed the ball and scored from his wheelchair for the spring game's final play. 

TWO THINGS TO IGNORE...

  1. Line play: Yes, Ohio State needs to replace All-American center Billy Price and All-Conference left tackle Jamarco Jones, but today is an awful day to gauge where OSU stands on either. The offensive line is typically so split up during the spring game that it is hard to read how well they are performing. More than any other group, the men up front need a rapport with the men next to them, and that's just impossible to establish in this setting. As for the defensive line? The group is laden with tested and experienced players, so Meyer is likely to limit their participation to avoid the risk they might get hurt. 
  2. Play calling: How has Alex Grinch's addition to the defensive staff and Ryan Day's elevation to offensive coordinator impacted OSU? Today won't give you any answers. Simply put? This fall Ohio State will run what works. In the spring game, they are going to run whatever they need to work on

Whether you are going to the game, or staying home, enjoy your weekend! And stay dry. 

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