Ohio State football | What to watch for in the spring game

Bill Rabinowitz
Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) runs the ball ball in a drill during the first day of spring practice at Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus, Ohio on March 6, 2019. [Kyle Robertson/Dispatch]

Quarterback: Transfer Justin Fields is considered the favorite over redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin. Fields has a strong arm and is also dangerous as a runner. It will be interesting to see how much chemistry he has been able to develop with receivers. Baldwin rehabbed from a knee injury last year. Can he be impressive enough to make this a bona fide competition?

Offensive line: Take what you see with a grain of salt. It will look different in the fall with Thayer Munford and Jonah Jackson. With center Josh Myers and right guard Wyatt Davis looking solid, the competition at right tackle with Nicholas Petit-Frere and 2017 left guard starter Branden Bowen is an interesting one. Josh Alabi, who will play left tackle, also figures in.

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Wide receivers/tight ends: Five-star freshman Garrett Wilson has turned heads this spring and has a knack for spectacular catches. Walk-on Garyn Prater also has impressed. Sophomore tight end Jeremy Ruckert looks poised to make a splash this year.

Running backs: J.K. Dobbins is likely to make only a cameo. With Demario McCall hurt and Master Teague also dealing with a nagging injury, freshman Marcus Crowley could get a lot of touches. How meaningful they are in a scrimmage without tackling is up for debate.

Defensive line: Larry Johnson wants his unit to have a deep rotation, and he has the players to have it. Five-star freshman defensive end Zach Harrison earned the removal of his black helmet stripe Friday, indicative of his progress. Players such as sophomores Tommy Togiai and Taron Vincent want to show they’ve earned regular snaps at tackle.

Linebackers: After a disappointing 2018, competition is fierce here. Middle linebacker Tuf Borland (knee) won’t play, so Baron Browning or Teradja Mitchell have a chance to turn heads. Sophomore Dallas Gant has impressed this spring and has worked himself into the mix.

Secondary: Sophomore safety Josh Proctor has taken significant strides this spring and has immense potential. Senior Damon Arnette has looked like a cornerback with much to prove. Can someone emerge to join him and junior Jeffrey Okudah as a third cornerback? Shaun Wade has proven to be a versatile cornerback/safety, and Brendon White is being used as the primary safety/linebacker hybrid “Bullet.” How do the defensive backs look in zone coverage, which was used only rarely in recent years?

— Bill Rabinowitz

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