It is just the spring game. The performances will be forgotten once fall arrives. Many of Ohio State's star players will see limited or no playing time. But this spring game still will be special because the Buckeyes will play at Ohio Stadium for the first time since winning the 2014 national championship.
It is just the spring game. The performances will be forgotten once fall arrives. Many of Ohio State's star players will see limited or no playing time.
But this spring game still will be special because the Buckeyes will play at Ohio Stadium for the first time since winning the 2014 national championship.
"Guys are super excited to get back out there," senior linebacker Joshua Perry said. "The offseason is a bit of a grind. Guys are antsy to get out there and do what they love to do."
As of early Friday afternoon, Ohio State said it had sold 61,000 tickets at $5 per general-admission seat. That doesn't include Ohio State students, who get in for free.
"We're expecting a pretty big crowd and we're going to do some fun things to get everybody involved," Perry said. "We're really looking forward to getting out there and competing and having a good time."
Fans who want to see most of the starters should arrive on time. Coach Urban Meyer said that veteran starters aren't likely to play much more than a couple of series.
"It won't be to-the-ground tackle," Meyer said. "It'll be very structured. But we're going to let them play. I think the fans deserve to watch the Joey Bosas and Taylor Deckers of the world perform. Then we'll start taking those guys out of the game and go on with the scrimmage."
A number of starting jobs have been all but won this spring, Meyer said. Noah Brown has earned a spot in the receiver rotation. Chase Farris has won the job at right tackle.
Tommy Schutt has a leg up on the competition at nose guard. The same goes with Gareon Conley at cornerback and Tyquan Lewis at defensive end, though a shoulder injury will keep Lewis out of the spring game.
But for a lot of young players hoping to make an impression, the spring game will be a crucial test. It's one thing to perform at practice with no spectators. It's another to do so in front of a crowd that will be bigger than most teams have for the regular season.
"I can't say it's going to be pleasant all the time," Meyer said, "because you're going to have some young guys out there who aren't quite ready to play yet, but we're going to throw them out there in front of a crowd. I love looking in a kid's eyes and see how he's reacting."
Among the players Meyer said he is curious to see are redshirt freshmen receivers Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell, sophomore safety Erick Smith and junior defensive back Cam Burrows, who's penciled in as the nickel back. Meyer said he also is interested in watching freshman linebacker Nick Conner, an early enrollee.
The quarterbacks will be Cardale Jones for the Gray team and redshirt freshman Stephen Collier for the Scarlet. Jones will be off-limits for tackling. Not so for Collier.
Joining Jones on the Gray team are Decker, Farris and fellow offensive linemen Billy Price and Pat Elflein, hybrid Jalin Marshall, tight end Nick Vannett and running back Curtis Samuel, who also has been used as a hybrid and receiver this spring.
Notable players on the Scarlet team include Bosa, linebackers Perry, Raekwon McMillan and Darron Lee, safeties Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell, cornerback Eli Apple and defensive tackle Adolphus Washington.
Quarterbacks J.T. Barrett (ankle) and Braxton Miller (shoulder) will not play, though Barrett will join Jones and 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith in a quarterback competition at halftime. Running back Ezekiel Elliott (wrist) also won't play.
When:Kickoff will be about 1:45. The game will be preceded by an OSU men's lacrosse game against Maryland starting at 11 a.m., in which a Buckeyes victory would clinch the Big Ten championship.
Format:The roster has been divided into Scarlet and Gray teams. Quarters will be 10 minutes. There won't be kickoffs, and all punts will be fair-caught.