The spotlight matters, even if it’s a muted one like spring games inevitably are.

Urban Meyer believes it has been a productive spring for his football team. But the final test comes in front of a big crowd, and that matters to the Ohio State coach.

Players don’t get recruited to Ohio State if they don’t have ability. Performing under pressure is what matters, though, and that’s what will make today’s spring game potentially significant.

“I say it every year,” Meyer said this week. “We are very fortunate to watch guys perform in front of a lot of people in the stands. It is different, the ability to focus and not tighten up in front of a big crowd. For some guys, it doesn’t matter. Other guys, it does. I always like to see that, especially with the new players.”

A year ago, a record crowd of more than 100,000 watched the Buckeyes’ spring game. Renovations to C Deck at Ohio Stadium this year have reduced the capacity to 84,000, and today’s scrimmage is sold out.

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Don’t expect veterans such as quarterback J.T. Barrett, center Billy Price, linebacker Chris Worley or defensive ends Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard to see extended action. But for many others, this will be a chance to make a lasting impression. That’s particularly true for receivers trying to emerge after a disappointing 2016 season and for defensive backs competing to fill the void left by the early departures of Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley and Malik Hooker to the NFL.

The Buckeyes have placed extra emphasis on fixing the deep passing game. Players have been excited about the wrinkles that new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson has installed, including a faster tempo. Wilson is the designated coach of the Scarlet team. That squad will include quarterbacks Joe Burrow and freshman Tate Martell and receivers Austin Mack, K.J. Hill and Johnnie Dixon.

The Gray team, coached by defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, will feature Barrett and redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, who will throw to receivers such as Binjimen Victor, Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin.

“We didn’t perform at that position like we should have last year,” Meyer said of the receivers. “I’m anxious to see the K.J. Hills and see if they take the next step and become the starters.”

Hill believes they are ready.

“I think we’ve got all the issues out of the way,” he said this week. “We’ve got new (coaches) that came in and are showing us the way we’re going to do things. Last year was kind of like a drought. Nobody was doing anything. It was kind of predictable what we were going to do. Now it’s totally different. Everybody has swagger on the offense. We’re going fast. We’re talking (smack) to the defense.”

The competition against a new-look secondary should be the most fascinating part of the spring game. Meyer raved about the improvement of returning safety Damon Webb and cornerback Denzel Ward.

Cornerback Damon Arnette and junior-college transfer Kendall Sheffield are ahead of blue-chip freshmen Jeffrey Okudah, Shaun Wade and Marcus Williamson, but those three are expected to push hard for significant playing time.