The 2013 season began with so much promise for the Urban Meyer-led Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ohio State jumped off to a 12-0 start—winning most games in decisive fashion. Unfortunately, a shaky secondary put the team in shootouts late in the season, resulting in two consecutive losses to finish out the year.
Surely, this team enters the Scarlet and Gray spring game with a bitter taste in its mouth.
There are plenty of changes on hand for the Buckeyes this season. These will all be on display when the team takes the field on Saturday.
To ensure not a moment of the highly anticipated action is missed, let's take a look at the essential viewing information and preview several hot storylines to watch.
The Scarlet and Gray game is an all-around spectacle for everyone in attendance and also for those viewing from home. The Buckeyes coaching staff breaks the team down into two evenly built squads in an attempt to create a competitive atmosphere and evaluate players accordingly.
This is one game that shouldn't be missed, as the 2014 season draws closer.
When: Sat., April 12
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: BTN2Go
Chris Ash was made co-defensive coordinator and has taken on the daunting task of improving what was a dismal secondary over the back half of the 2013 season.
During an interview with Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch, Ash spoke of his intentions for this unit:
I'm not concerned about what's happened here in the past. I'm more concerned about the direction we're going to go and how we get the players aligned to what our vision is going to be, and that we get better.
We will put the best players on this football field that will help us win, and we will give everybody an ample opportunity to show that they can do that.
Ohio State co-DC Chris Ash says CB Eli Apple might be the most improved player on defense this spring.— ESPN Big Ten (@ESPN_BigTen) April 9, 2014
Saturday marks the first chance for members of the secondary to prove their worth against dangerous receivers Devin Smith and Dontre Wilson.
No Braxton Miller
As Braxton Miller recuperates from offseason shoulder surgery, backups will see plenty of work on Saturday.
Kenny Guiton is no longer with the team, and there will be an intense battle between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones for the backup position behind Miller.
Jones has been give more of the first-team reps during practices due to his seniority; however, each will have a fair shake of earning the backup role.
During an interview with Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com, Barrett spoke of the ongoing competition:
We're very competitive. But that's also my guy. When he makes a good play, I root for him. If he does well, that's great. I am just working on myself. It is an individual thing, but there is competition.
My biggest thing is to just lead by example. You can't lead anybody if you're not doing right. You have to have that personal integrity, and I tell that to my guys. I wouldn't actually be able to do it if I didn't do it, so that's biggest thing. Then also developing that trust over time so they can believe in you and believe in what you say.
Expect these two signal-callers to put on a dazzling show on Saturday.
Who's the Running Back?
Carlos Hyde is getting ready for the 2014 NFL draft. His departure from Ohio State has left a serious void in the backfield.
Hyde was a physical, bruising runner for the Buckeyes, and replacing him will be one of Ohio State's top priorities this offseason.
Running backs coach Stan Drayton spoke of the change at the position during an interview with Austin Ward of ESPN.com:
He has to be replaced. This is The Ohio State University, and it's the next man up. I'm sure if you asked Carlos Hyde, he'd tell you the same thing. It's the next man up. Somebody has to step up and fill the shoes of Carlos Hyde. If it takes more than one guy to do that, I promise you it's going to get done.
The team could certainly look at a committee approach to this year's backfield.
Ezekiel Elliott looked good in a limited role a year ago and provides the same kind of interior pounding approach as Hyde. Senior Rod Smith will look to get things going as well, while Bri'onte Dunn, Warren Ball and Curtis Samuel figure to factor into the mix as well.
Ezekiel Elliott is pretty solid at No. 1 RB. Warren Ball had 70+-yard run today and Brionte Dunn & Curtis Samuel look good there too.— ESPN Big Ten (@ESPN_BigTen) April 9, 2014
Hyde's replacement may not be set yet; however, Ohio State sure has plenty of depth to work with.
All of these players will be looking to put on a show on Saturday.