Ohio State Football: 5 Predictions for the Buckeyes' Spring Game
With 14 grueling practices in the rearview mirror, it's that time of year when Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes get to turn their attention to the annual spring game.
This year's scrimmage will take place in Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium due to the renovations being made to Ohio Stadium, giving the spring game a new and fresh feel before the Buckeyes wind down for the long summer offseason.
There are a number of interesting storylines and things to watch for when the game is shown on tape delay Saturday evening (Big Ten Network), but for now, here are five predictions for Ohio State's 2013 spring game.
Feel free to bash in the comments section afterwards when all of these prove to be horrendously inaccurate.
Noah Spence will look like the monster we've all been hearing about.
Spence has reportedly had a wonderful spring, dominating at times in one-on-one drills against one of the premier left tackles in all of college football in Jack Mewhort.
What reporters and those close to the team have seen all spring will be on full display Saturday. Because the coaches will have to split the team in two for competitive balance, the offensive line Spence will be going against won't consist of its usual starters. That should give this ruthless pass rusher an even bigger advantage, so expect Spence to have a big day.
Braxton Miller will complete more than 70 percent of his passes.
Multiple reports have come out regarding Miller's time with notable quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr., and the soon-to-be junior quarterback has improved his mechanics greatly since last November.
That too will be on display this Saturday, and Miller should have a great day throwing the ball. The heart and soul of Ohio State's offense will likely be wearing a no-contact jersey, meaning Miller will be forced to stay in the pocket and pass without the option of taking off.
With a similar setup in last year's spring game, Miller completed 24-of-31 passes (77 percent) for 258 yards. Similar numbers wouldn't be much of a shock for the improved quarterback.
Backup running backs Bri'onte Dunn and Warren Ball will impress.
With primary backup Rod Smith likely out with a concussion this Saturday, Dunn and Ball will be featured much more behind starter Carlos Hyde.
Both Dunn and Ball have shown flashes throughout the spring, and the two are currently fighting for the third spot behind Smith on the depth chart. That should provide fans some fireworks on Saturday, because both are hungry for playing time this year.
Dunn will look impressive trucking defenders over with his physical running style and Ball will break away for at least one 40-yard gain.
Curtis Grant will shine at middle linebacker.
One of the bigger developments over spring practice came this week when Urban Meyer officially named Curtis Grant the starting middle linebacker.
Grant won the same spot last year, but lost it a few games into the season after a sloppy start. The former 5-star recruit has all the physical tools to be a great linebacker, but he has struggled with the mental aspect of the game.
That finally changes as Grant approaches his junior season, and Buckeyes fans get to see it firsthand on Saturday when he has a great outing in Cincinnati.
Michael Thomas will do it again.
During last year's spring game, then-freshman receiver Thomas had a breakout performance, hauling in 12 catches for 131 yards. He was Miller's go-to option all day and consistently found ways to get open underneath Ohio State's pass coverage.
Expect Thomas to shine again, which would especially be the case if he winds up on Miller's team again. Thomas joined Miller on his trip to work with Whitfield earlier this offseason and the two have formed quite the chemistry. Thomas has also improved his game dramatically, motivated by his disappointing three-catch season in 2012.
Thomas should come out strong this Saturday and will finish with a game high in receiving yards.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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