The 2019 Ohio State Spring Game kicks off Saturday.
This annual event always marks the first public unveiling of that year’s new and improved Buckeyes, and this year is no exception.
It’s also a reminder of just how quickly things can change with a college football program in only one year.
Take, for example, this look at “10 Things We Learned” during last year’s game. Nine of the 10 include at least one name that isn’t part of the Ohio State program a year later.
Seven of the eight scoring plays in the box score involved players who aren’t at OSU any longer.
Something that would have been unthinkable back then: Urban Meyer isn’t the head coach any more.
There is a new wide receivers coach. Both Defensive Coordinators are gone, so is the linebackers coach, and so is the cornerbacks coach.
The quarterbacks who threw every pass in last year’s game, Dwayne Haskins, Joey Burrow, and Tate Martell, are all elsewhere. Haskins is now headed for the NFL, Burrow is a returning starter in the SEC, and Martell is a possible starter in the ACC. Even walk-on Kory Curtis, who was the fourth-stringer last spring later left for FCS Bryant University.
Five scholarship players rushed for 10 yards or more that day; four are gone. Mike Weber will get drafted in a couple weeks, Antonio Williams is at North Carolina, and you know about Burrow and Martell already.
None of the five starting offensive linemen from the 62-39 win over Michigan will play a snap on Saturday. Only one of them is even on the roster any more.
The scholarship quarterbacks who will play on Saturday were either injured or at Georgia and West Virginia this time last year.
Garrett Wilson, the young wide receiver who has drawn rave reviews during practice, was still a high school junior when last year’s Spring Game was played.
Change is one of the only constants in college football. Roughly a quarter of the roster leaves at the end of every year, and coaching turnover is an annual event as well.
In the days after this year’s Spring Game, there will likely be one or more players who decides to leave for another program. A grad transfer may join the team.
A couple months later, the rest of this year’s freshman class will arrive.
This is all to say that the football team you see on Saturday in Ohio Stadium is not the same one you’ll see on the field this fall.
And it’s not even close to the team Ryan Day will run out for his second full season in 2021.
So try not to read too much about what the Buckeyes look like on Saturday. A rough Spring Game doesn’t immediately doom the Day era to failure.
Soak up the sunshine, watch some football, and enjoy this moment in Buckeye history before it all changes again.