The Ohio State Buckeyes 2013 spring game has finally arrived and will take place on April 13. After all of the hard work, the sweat and the tears, players and fans will be rewarded with one of the more exciting spring games in the country.
When you have this much talent on both sides of the ball going after it, it usually results in a competitive contest that kind of makes you forget it's nothing more than the last practice of the spring.
So what are some of the things you should be looking for when the team takes the field? Are there any position battles to pay attention to? How about any early enrollees to keep an eye on?
With the game ready to kick off in no time, here is the red-white team analysis to prepare you for the upcoming event.
When: Saturday, April 13 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
Listen: WBNS 97.1 FM The Fan; WDJO AM-1480 (Cincinnati)
The spring game usually takes place in Columbus, where it drew such an enormous crowd of well over 80,000 people last season. However, the game has been moved to Paul Brown Stadium, which will not only produce a smaller group of people but has also made a lot of Buckeyes fans upset due to the long drive just to see this gloried scrimmage.
According to MJ Dorony of The Lantern, the fans have showed their displeasure for relocating the game this year.
“The best part about the Spring Game is it’s in Columbus. It’s more like a social event than anything else where you’re just like, ‘Hey, let’s go to the Spring Game and have a good time.’ But this year, I haven’t heard of anyone going to the game,” Alex Highley, a fifth-year student in political science, said.
Really the only true position battle on the offensive side of the ball right now would be at right tackle. Every other spot has either a starter returning or somebody who is highly considered the favorite to land the starting job. At right tackle, however, it has remained a battle between both Taylor Decker and Chase Farris.
“That’s real bothersome to me,” Meyer said. “That’s real bothersome to our coaches, too.”
With spring practice coming to a close and nobody really separating themselves from the pack, this is clearly the position you want to keep an eye on the most when watching the offensive side of the ball.
Other things to watch offensively, of course, include the development of quarterback Braxton Miller, as he is now in his second season in the this system and has had a full offseason to work with the coaching staff.
It will also be entertaining when checking out both Bri'onte Dunn and Warren Ball at the running back position. Rod Smith will not participate in the game and Carlos Hyde should be limited as well. It will be interesting to see what both of these runners can accomplish, particularly in the passing game as the playbook opens up a bit.
There was a position battle at middle linebacker, but Meyer has announced that Curtis Grant has won the starting job, according to Brandon Castel of The-Ozone.net. But while he may have looked the best at the position early on, it would be foolish to count out Camren Williams and Joshua Perry just yet. Both are talented players that were considered for the starting job early on.
All it takes is a great performance from either one during the spring game to put them back in the conversation.
The other position to watch on defense is the entire defensive line. Anytime you are replacing nearly an entire unit from a year ago, every position is up for grabs no matter what. Noah Spence has received a fair share of credit throughout the spring, but Adolphus Washington has bulked up this spring and has also caught the attention of the coaching staff. Other young players to keep an eye on include Se'Von Pittman, Michael Bennett and Joel Hale.
While it may feel like you know who the starters are going to be come game day, all of these players are young and will have to continue to impress in order to secure a starting position.
It is no secret that everybody will be watching cornerback Eli Apple this spring. He has the size and athletic ability to contribute right away, and he could find himself starting eventually in the defensive backfield if he continues to develop. Apple is arguably the most talented 2013 recruit who has enrolled early, and Ohio State fans should see him quite a bit with Bradley Roby taking a backseat in the spring game due to a shoulder injury.
The other freshman who would have been exciting to watch is JT Barrett, but he is still recovering from an ACL injury, which makes him ineligible to participate in the game. So sticking to the corner position, Cameron Burrows is another defender who will see a lot of playing time. He is a big defender who can help out in run support while also displaying above-average ball skills.
Both Apple and Burrows are battling it out for early playing time and whoever gets the upper hand in the spring game will be that much closer toward reaching those goals.
Offensively, I expect there to be a ton of fireworks. Urban Meyer wants to see playmakers emerge within the offense, and there is no better way than to let the ball fly and give guys a chance to make plays.
I expect the right tackle position to continue to struggle, especially for the guy who has to block Noah Spence, and the receivers should take advantage of a young secondary out on the field.
On defense, it all starts with the pass rush. Hopefully Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington can continue to live up to the hype and show some of what we have been hearing about all spring. It wouldn't be surprising if the young corners were able to hold their own against the receivers, but with the amount of times they will be tested, big plays will be allowed in the passing game.
Overall, this should be a solid spring game that reveals that this team is still one of the more talented in the country.