Buckeye Football Mailbag: Pre-Spring Game Edition – Part II

Ohio State Buckeye Football Mailbag

We covered Part I of this Mailbag on Tuesday, so rather than write another needless introductory paragraph, I would direct you to the link above so that you can be properly introduced to this spring mailbag because how else are you going to have any idea of what you are reading unless you are introduced to it via some preliminary words before you get to the portion of the content that you actually clicked on a link to read?

Consider yourself introducted.

If the players had a Spring Game Draft, who do you think the Top 10 would be ? — Nashville
Interesting question. Let’s ignore the way that Jim Tressel drafted, which required an entire position to be selected once it was opened. Instead, let’s do this as if this was a real game where a result brought about a great reward and teams were playing as hard as they do in a normal game. I’ll still use Tressel’s practice of splitting up the seniors, but I’ll just split up the fifth-year guys and leave everybody else for the taking.

Scarlet (led by J.T. Barrett and Billy Price) vs. Gray (led by Tyquan Lewis and Chris Worley)

I flipped a bitcoin and Gray gets the first pick.

1. (Gray) – DT Dre’Mont Jones (They can’t with good conscience pick an offensive player first.)

2. (Scarlet) – LT Jamarco Jones (Can you see a trend here?)

3. (Gray) – DE Sam Hubbard (Gray doesn’t subscribe to analytics. They subscribe to blatant favoritism.)

4. (Scarlet) – DE Nick Bosa (Scarlet had to make a move at defensive end.)

5. (Gray) – CB Denzel Ward (They’ve got the pass rush situation taken care of, now they just need some outside defenders.)

6. (Scarlet) – HB Parris Campbell (It was only going to be so long before J.T. Barrett selected his top target.)

7. (Gray) – LB Jerome Baker (Perhaps the highest-remaining player on the board. This was a good value pick.)

8. (Scarlet) – CB Damon Arnette (They couldn’t afford to let Arnette go to the Gray team, which he was on the verge of doing.)

9. (Gray) – RB Mike Weber (This pick just allows J.T. Barrett to not have to hand the ball off, which is why there were no running backs on his board.)

10. (Scarlet) – NT Rob Landers (Landers gives Scarlet a disruptor to counter Gray’s running game. Also, in a pinch, he could also be Scarlet’s short-yardage back.)


Why am I paying to go watch a glorified practice? No but really, is there anyone at risk of losing a spot with a bad performance? — @Allmontheirish
Losing a spot here may only be a temporary thing, but if there is a No. 1 at right guard between Matt Burrell and Demetrius Knox, I could see a bad performance from that guy moving him to No. 2. I don’t see any established starters being in danger of losing a job with a poor performance. Remember last year when Chris Worley missed some tackles in the spring game? The spring game is just one more data point, so for it to cost somebody a job, it would have to be a tipping point as well.


How dominant can the D be this year? — @bkbake5
Well, the Buckeyes return 74 defensive linemen and they crank out cornerbacks like TLC cranks out terrible reality shows, so there are going to be some lofty expectations. I think if the safeties can step up, then this defense can be just as good as it was last year. They’ll need some help from everyone, however, because nobody is going to replicate what Malik Hooker did. The Buckeyes should have the best defense in the Big Ten, but that’s not the measuring stick they’ll be going for. As it concerns their regular season schedule, however, I expect them to be around 15-16 points per game allowed like they have been the past two seasons (both were top 3 scoring defenses nationally).


If you’re a deep ball junkie, is this the game for you? — @SBJ36th
It should be, but this might be a game more for pass rush junkies. The Buckeyes are deeper at defensive line than offensive line, so there could be some bad pass-pro moments. Plus, there will be several “touch” sacks probably. I think the staff would like to see some deep shots taken, and with the secondary thinned out, that should happen with protection. J.T. Barrett and Tate Martell can afford to just throw it up for grabs, but I wonder if Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins will both be more reserved because they are the only two quarterbacks in a competition right now. Though maybe the guy who converts those low-percentage throws can make a nice jump.


Who’s your MVP of the spring game? Any particular freshmen gonna stand out Saturday based off practices? — @Giosue_Buckeye
My pick to click is Joe Burrow. He is Mr. April, after all. As to the freshmen, unfortunately I wouldn’t get your hopes up to see much from running back J.K. Dobbins, because there won’t be much running of the football. He’ll have to get his via swings and screens, which he still could do. I’ll be interested in watching the freshmen defensive backs, including safety Isaiah Pryor. Keep an eye on offensive lineman Josh Myers and exactly where he lines up. I want to see quarterback Tate Martell. Remember how Stephen Collier never got any protection in his spring game(s)? Martell will be similar, but it will be fun to watch him try to get out of it. I also think you might see something good from receiver Brendon White.


With all the hype around how deep the D-line is going to be, how deep will the counterparts on the O-line be after spring? — @wvabuckeye
I mentioned that a bit above with the draft question. The good news about having such a tight competition at right guard means that they will eventually have three guards they are comfortable playing. That number could get to four with Malcolm Pridgeon. This summer, don’t be surprised if freshman Wyatt Davis makes it five. Tackle is an issue, however. The Buckeyes have only had three tackles that they trust the last couple years, and I don’t know if that number is any larger right now. Any time Urban Meyer talks about offensive line depth you can see the pain in his face. It’s best just not to bring it up, I’ve found.


Would you rather see/is it more valuable to see all new guys, or see vets with new coaching this year? — @Allmontheirish
There is certainly value to getting a guy like J.T. Barrett some time in Ohio Stadium with Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson, but the spring game is about seeing which young guys can handle their first real taste of the spotlight. That’s what Urban Meyer is looking for. He’s not looking to see Barrett complete 70% of his passes and drop in some dimes from deep. He wants to see the unproven begin to prove themselves, and Barrett has already shown what he’s needed to this spring. He’s not a finished product, but more good can come from the young guys getting snaps than the vets.