Morning Conversational: What To Watch For In the Ohio State Spring Game?

Ohio State football defensive end Chase Young linebacker Baron Browning

Today’s Topic: What To Watch For In the Ohio State Spring Game?

It’s the one game every year that you can’t wait to see and yet at the same time you’re glad there’s a running clock in the second half.

Ohio State’s spring game is always something to look forward to because it always gives us something to watch.

Quarterback battles. New starters on the defensive line. Who has improved from last year? The amazing way the tight ends are involved in the offense.

Every year it’s something different!

And this year is no exception.

The quarterback battle this spring has been waged by Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin, with Fields seemingly getting the bulk of the rep with the ones over the last half of camp.

They are currently on the same roster, but in last year’s spring game all three quarterbacks suited up for both teams. Expect something similar in this one. This will be your first chance to see either of them, so be sure to soak it all in.

And when trying to make some judgements on which of the quarterbacks should be starting, remember that last year Joe Burrow was 15-22 passing for 238 yards and two touchdowns. Dwayne Haskins, meanwhile, completed 9-19 passes for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Protecting those quarterbacks, however, is not going to be easy. The defensive ends are deeper than the offensive tackles, and you should notice that on Saturday. If you don’t, Larry Johnson is going to be very disappointed.

In this week’s Buckeye Weekly podcast, I set the over/under on Zach Harrison sacks at 1.5. Tom Orr took the over.

Behind those defensive ends will be a pair of middle linebackers to watch in sophomore Teradja Mitchell and junior Baron Browning. Browning will be in scarlet, which is the No. 1 defense. Mitchell will be with the Gray. Tuf Borland won’t be playing due to a knee injury.

During Friday’s coaches clinic, Al Washington was showing plenty of highlights of Mitchell. At least half of the plays involved Mitchell making a mistake, then correcting it in time due to relentless aggression. Keep an eye on those two today.

The cornerbacks behind Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette will also bear watching. Second-year players Cameron Brown, Sevyn Banks, and Tyreke Johnson are going to play most of the game. Pay attention to how they do against the Buckeye receivers.

And speaking of receivers, pay some attention to No. 5 in scarlet — freshman Garrett Wilson. He is different than most freshmen. Hopefully you’ll see that on Saturday.

There will be plenty of players held out due to injury. The players currently listed as being out are: Jordan Fuller, Jaylen Harris, Kamryn Babb, Tuf Borland, Alex Koch, Brandon Pahl, Robert Landers, Marcus Williamson, Marcus Hooker, Ronnie Hickman, Tyler Friday, Noah Donald, and Thayer Munford. Linebacker Justin Hilliard is not listed as being out, but that may be an oversight. He injured his Achilles earlier in the spring.

I will be watching free safeties Josh Proctor and Isaiah Pryor. Pryor has been with the ones for most of the spring. He had a rough go of it last year as a sophomore, but it appears that he has bounced back pretty well.

The spring game is also a big recruiting weekend every year. This year, Ryan Day and his staff are hosting a number of top prospects.

Cincinnati St. Xavier offensive lineman Paris Johnson will be at the game, as will Cincinnati Princeton defensive end Darrion Henry. This visit could help solidify the both of them in this class. Johnson is still very much looking around, and Henry isn’t exactly closing things down just yet.

A pair of 2021 teammates will be on campus as well, in Philadelphia quarterback Kyle McCord and wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. This will not be their first visits to OSU, nor likely their last.

Four-star California slot receiver Lavon Bunkley-Shelton is making the long trek. He is the No. 38 receiver in the nation per the 247Sports Composite.

Four-star Florida running back Lawrance Toafili will be in attendance. His crystal ball is pointed heavily to Florida State.

2020 Dublin Coffman running back Mike Drennen will be at the game. He is the No. 5 all-purpose back in the nation.

Most of the Buckeyes’ 2020 commits will be at the game, including out-of-staters in quarterback Jack Miller and receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. New Jersey center Luke Wypler and Washington receiver Gee Scott, Jr. will not be making the trip, as they have already visited this spring.

Those are just a handful of the bushelful of names who will be on hand.

All in all, it should be a fun day with plenty to watch. Bring the kids, and your wallet.

If you’re interested, Tom and I will be available for a pregame chat over at the new message board. But you don’t need to wait for us to get the discussion going.