New Spring Game Format Official
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State fans will be treated to a different look at their football program Saturday during the annual Scarlet and Gray spring game at Ohio Stadium.
Instead of the usual format, which traditionally includes two teams being divvied up by the seniors, this year’s game will pit the OSU offense against the Silver Bullet defense inside the Horseshoe with the right to wear the scarlet practice jerseys hanging in the balance.
“It will be something different,” center Michael Brewster said.
“And I think fans will get to see a little bit more 1’s-vs-1’s, which will be cool.”
The format itself is not new to Ohio State. An offense-vs.-defense “jersey” scrimmage takes place every spring—typically the Saturday before the actual spring game. The winning side gets to wear the scarlet jerseys in practice until the next jersey scrimmage, which takes place sometime during fall camp in August.
This year’s spring has been different, to say the least. Along with a number of other changes, the Buckeyes have had an “ongoing” jersey scrimmage that will finally be decided in the spring game.
For those caught off guard by the change in format, this was something foreshadowed by Head Coach Jim Tressel at the start of spring practice, and it has a lot to do with the team’s low numbers on the offensive line.
“I’m not sure that we could field two teams,” Tressel said earlier this month.
“We have 10 offensive linemen and we don’t know if any of them have sprained an ankle by the time we get to the spring game. It may have a different format.”
With the addition of preferred walk-on Eric Kramer, the Buckeyes are up to 11 offensive linemen this spring, but that is still down five from the number they played with last season. They will add three more linemen in the fall—freshmen Brian Bobek, Antonio Underwood and Chris Carter—but that wasn’t the only reason for the change in format this spring.
“The (players) never felt like we got the full use out of that practice No. 15. Some of their thoughts were to make it a little more competitive and perhaps have a jersey scrimmage to end the spring,” Tressel said after polling his team during the winter.
“Sometimes when you draft up teams there are some mismatches in situations and then the coaches say, ‘You’re only allowed to run these five plays and you can only play these three defenses.’"
The new format should certainly create a much more competitive spring game than in years past, although the first team offense will be without starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor. It does, however, take away from some of the fun aspects of the spring game for seniors like Brewster.
“The spring game is cool because you get to draft and stuff, but with the numbers we have and the linemen, it’s not possible,” he said.
“So we’ll do a scrimmage. A lot of schools do a scrimmage like we’re going to do.”
Much like their “jersey” scrimmages, the ball will be placed in various spots to create a variety of game-like situations. Each drill will consist of 3-6 scripted plays and the first-team offense will have a chance to move the ball down the field against the first-team defense if they can sustain a drive. Otherwise, the drive stops and the second-team offense takes over at the original spot against the second-team defense.
Spring Game Details
As of right now, Saturday’s forecast calls for rain, so fans are encouraged to dress appropriately. That means rain coats ponchos because umbrellas are not permitted in Ohio Stadium.
Be sure to get your tickets in advance for $7, because the price more than doubles to $15 on Saturday at the stadium.
Advance tickets may be purchased at the Athletics Ticket Office, online at OhioStateBuckeyes.com, through Ticketmaster and at area McDonald’s locations. Day of game sales are cash only.
Ohio State students get into the game free with a valid ID. Children age 6 and under will be admitted free of charge.
Seating is general admission. Proceeds from various events surrounding the scrimmage benefit the Ohio National Guard Family Readiness and Warrior Support Program, LiFE (Learning in Fitness & Education) through Sports Program and the Ruth and Jesse Owens Scholars Fund.
Open parking will be available in most of the lots surrounding Ohio Stadium. Shuttle service will be provided free of charge to fans parking in West Campus lots beginning at 9 a.m. Disability parking is available in the lot directly east of Ohio Stadium. RV parking is at Bill Davis Stadium.
Special recognitions during the day will involve members of the Jesse Owens family and Buckeye football All-Americans. A number of active military and veterans groups, along with their families, will also be recognized.
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