Ohio State Buckeyes: 5 things to know about Saturday’s spring game

COLUMBUS -- Ohio State football is set to wrap up spring practice Saturday with the spring game.

Head coach Ryan Day made it sound like everyone who is able will play, but some of the big names might be pulled early.

Here are five things to know about the game:

1. The Scarlet will be the offense, and the Gray will be the defense.

Day said the staff chose to make the game a scrimmage between the units rather than having a draft to create two separate teams so they didn’t have to split up the offensive lines.

“I think this a better way to control who’s in the game,” Day said. “It allows us to mix and match guys and have guys play for the offense and defense where if it was Scarlet and Gray, we would need them to play on both sides of the ball. It just becomes logistically a little harder to manage.”

He has said more than once this spring he feels comfortable with the top five or six offensive linemen, but the team is still searching for who will fill out the two-deep this fall.

2. There will be tackling.

To start out, the Buckeyes will be using “thud tempo,” which means they will hit but not take players to the ground. Day said that will be brief, though, and most of the day will have live tackling.

“I just think we’ve got to go out there and tackle and play, and I think it’d be good for a lot of our guys to do that, get out there,” Day said. “The first game of the year we play Notre Dame at home, and we’ve got to be ready to roll.

“Once you get into the preseason, you start getting closer and closer to that first game, you start to really hold your breath because you don’t want to lose guys.”

But football is still football.

“We’ve got to tackle. We’ve got to play physical. We’ve got to be tough,” Day said. “If we want to reach our goals this year, we’re going to have to be that way. We’re gonna have to play that way. So we’ll do that on Saturday.”

3. Don’t expect to see a lot of the new defensive scheme.

Jim Knowles was brought in to revamp the defense, and he has shown a lot of different things to the offense during regular practices. Much of that will remain under wraps from the public — and the Big Ten Network viewing offense.

“It’s going to be about fundamentals and running around to the football and playing hard,” Day said. “We’ve seen through these first 13 practices just the multiple looks and the confidence and how well these guys play and just how decisive they are out there. That’s been done. Now they get an opportunity to go play in the ‘Shoe and in front of the big crowd, but it’s good for our guys to get in front of the crowd and play and have some fun.”

4. Day not looking for anyone to stand out or do anything they haven’t done before.

“It’s rare that all of a sudden, you get into the stadium, and you start to see something that’s completely different than what’s happened before,” Day said. “Some guys struggle with that, and we try to help, but for the most part they’re going to go back to how they are training themselves during practice when you put it out in the field.

“We call that competitive excellence, so once you get out there you’re really able to do it. And the more you do it, the more confidence you can have when you’re out there.

“So I expect these guys to play with a lot of confidence out there and enjoy the day.”

5. Tickets are still available, but the game will be on TV as well.

General admission is $7, but OSU students and kids under six can get in free.

Tickets can be purchased online at http://go.osu.edu/fbtix or in person at the Ohio State Athletics Ticket Office.

Parking is free and open around the stadium with the exception of the West Lot between the stadium and the Olentangy River, which is reserved.

Those who choose to stay home can watch the game on Big Ten Network at noon or listen to it on the Ohio State Radio Network.

Saturday will also mark the start of a year-long celebration of 100 years since Ohio Stadium opened.


Scarlet vs. Gray, Noon, BTN, 1410

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