Facing a forecast of inclement weather, the starting time of Ohio State’s Scarlet and Gray spring football game has been moved up two hours to 11:45 a.m., the school announced Friday.
The event-planning committee for the OSU athletic department met Friday morning and finalized the switch. An Ohio State men’s lacrosse game against Michigan, which had been set for 11 a.m. Saturday in the stadium as part of the annual double-header with the football scrimmage, earlier was moved to 7 p.m. Friday.
OSU coach Urban Meyer cited two reasons that it’s important to play the spring game.
“No. 1 is opportunity for the young players to play in front of the big crowd,” Meyer said. “That’s what we’ve been asking (of fans) for years and they’ve delivered. … You can simulate so much, you can’t simulate that. I don’t want to find out who is going to tighten up or who is going to be distracted on Sept. 18. I’d rather find out now.
“A big No. 2 is the recruiting element. That’s why we’re pushing it. We need that crowd here tomorrow.”
With the change in NCAA recruiting rules, the Buckeyes are hosting at least two prospects on official visits this weekend, and dozens more are expected to be in attendance on unofficial visits.
“We’re always looking for separators, difference-makers, and there’s a lot of things we believe separate Ohio State from other schools,” Meyer said. “The fact you can have every seat filled for a spring game, that’s a separator.”
The capacity for Ohio Stadium has been reduced to approximately 78,000 for the spring game due to renovation work in certain sections. The school announced earlier this week that all available tickets for the game had been sold.
What muddied the picture this weekend is a strong low pressure system in front of a cold front is expected to move across the upper Midwest, bringing the possibility of severe storms. With that forecast, Wisconsin already had canceled its spring game, scheduled for Friday night, and Northwestern and Michigan had canceled their Saturday games.
OSU officials conferred several times on the matter the past 48 hours, Meyer said, before opting to move the start time forward. Storms aren’t expected in central Ohio until later in the day Saturday.
“They know how important I think” the spring game is for the development of inexperienced players, Meyer said. “A (veteran such as) Nick Bosa, it’s really not that important for ’em. But for Sevyn Banks and Tyreke Johnson, for the quarterbacks competing for the spot, it’s going to be very important.”
As Meyer noted, OSU’s quarterback battle is still a three-man race featuring junior Joe Burrow, sophomore Dwayne Haskins Jr. and redshirt freshman Tate Martell.
“It’s that close,” Meyer said.
UPDATE: ‼️We Play‼️
2018 @OhioStateFB Spring Game IS ON!
ew time: 11:45 a.m. Saturday
Gates open at 10 a.m.
Note: @OhioState_MLAX Tickets tonight vs. TTUN are good for football tomorrow
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