Ohio State plays its spring game on Saturday. It will be America’s first look at the 2023 Buckeyes. It will also be the lone opportunity for many to draw their broad and sweeping preseason conclusions about what this Ohio State team is going to look like this year.
That can sometimes be dangerous, especially considering this is just one of 15 spring practices, and there’s still an even longer fall camp to come. But those conclusions are going to be drawn regardless, so why not give people a heads up on what to draw conclusions about?
We’re here to serve the people after all, are we not?
It’s just too bad redshirt freshman quarterback Devin Brown is out following a procedure on his hand. Many conclusions were going to be made about his play, and now we will have to wait.
But we will persevere. We will overcome. We will generalize!
So here’s 100 things for you to watch for in Saturday’s Ohio State spring game.
- Quarterback Kyle McCord’s (6)running ability. He’s not the statue that people have led you to believe.
- Will Kyle McCord take advantage of Devin Brown’s absence?
- Freshman wide receiver Carnell Tate (17) showing he belongs. He’s been one of the most outstanding players on offense all spring.
- Josh Fryar (70) at left tackle dealing with defensive ends Jack Sawyer (33) and JT Tuimoloau (44). Head coach Ryan Day hasn’t named Fryar the definite starter at left tackle yet, but a solid performance on Saturday will help.
- Brian Hartline’s play calling — will it be time to panic?
- Sophomore linebacker CJ Hicks (11) showing a glimpse of what he could be this fall. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has talked about him getting a look at Jack with the injured Mitchell Melton (17). If blitzing is allowed on Saturday, watch how he attacks the line of scrimmage.
- Nickel safety Cameron Martinez (13) capping a stellar spring. Despite what some fans want to believe, Martinez has been very good this spring. But I also understand that those same fans will scream, “I told you so!” when he gives up a catch on Saturday.
- How Zen Michalski (65) does at right tackle. He spent his first two years at left tackle, so the move to the right side has been a learning experience.
- Can Tegra Tshabola (77) surpass Zen Michalski’s performance at right tackle?
- Junior cornerback Denzel Burke (10) has maybe had the best spring of anybody on the team. Can he finish it in the same manner?
- Freshman tight end Jelani Thurman (15) showing why he lost his black stripe already.
- The safeties and cornerbacks communicating nearly as well as scary identical twins with mental powers.
- Ryan Day getting frustrated with the offense and grabbing a play sheet from an intern only to realize that intern was holding a Waffle House menu because he was planning his postgame meal.
- Redshirt freshman slot receiver Kaleb Brown (13) showcasing his quickness and speed.
- Sophomore safety Sonny Styles (6) lined up deep.
- Sophomore safety Sonny Styles lined up at linebacker.
- Sophomore safety Sonny Styles lined up on the edge of the line of scrimmage.
- A walk-on scoring a touchdown and then being able to hear their family screaming in the stadium.
- Seeing Jim Tressel win the 50/50 drawing.
- Ole Miss cornerback transfer Davison Igbinosun (20) looking too tall to play cornerback and then knocking a pass down just to prove you wrong.
- Running back Miyan Williams (3) eating a hotdog on the sideline by the second quarter.
- Blaming somebody for tight end Cade Stover (8) running open down the seam.
- Seeing walk-on quarterback Mason Maggs (16) get some snaps. Maggs’ father Bob was a starting center for the Buckeyes in 1985 and 1986.
- Seventh-year senior quarterback Tristan Gebbia (14) being constantly chased by pass rushers and then saying to himself, “I’m getting too old for this s***.”
- Kyle McCord being calm under pressure — and accurate on the move.
- Redshirt freshman wide receiver Kyion Grayes (7) getting loose deep.
- Junior cornerback Jordan Hancock (7) ongoing turn into a lockdown defender.
- Redshirt sophomore receiver Jayden Ballard (9) making plays after the catch.
- Redshirt sophomore receiver Jayden Ballard making plays before the catch.
- Redshirt freshman defensive end Kenyatta Jackson (97) showing why Ryan Day mentioned him in the same breath as Jack Sawyer and JT Tuimoloau as pass rushers this past week.
- Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Hero Kanu (93) playing extended minutes and making something happen with his snaps.
- Sophomore defensive end Caden Curry (92) — an Indiana native — competing against fellow Hoosiers Zen Michalski (65) and Josh Fryar (70) at right and left tackle, respectively. This one’s for all the RVs.
- Junior defensive tackle Tyleik Williams (91) battling guards Donovan Jackson (74) and Matt Jones (55).
- Redshirt freshman receiver Caleb Burton improving upon his two catches in five targets from last year’s spring game.
- Senior safety Lathan Ransom (12) making plays — and keeping plays from being made.
- Redshirt freshman receiver Kojo Antwi (14) making me look bad for suggesting to him earlier this spring that “some people” consider the X receiver more of a chain mover than playmaker.
- Seeing sophomore Jyaire Brown (18) floating seamlessly between outside corner and nickel.
- Watching Marvin Harrison, Jr. (18) playing in his final spring game.
- Knowing that walk-on quarterback Chad Ray (19) isn’t going to want to be outplayed by fellow walk-on Mason Maggs (15). Ray attended Dublin Scioto High School, while Maggs attended rival Dublin Coffman.
- Watching senior running back Chip Trayanum (19) carry the ball and wondering if he might not be the best back on the team.
- Watching sophomore running back Dallan Hayden (5) carry the ball and wondering if he might not be the best back on the team.
- Fifth-year senior defensive tackle Jaden McKenzie (90) taking another step in an attempt to get into the rotation this season.
- Fourth-year junior tight end Gee Scott, Jr. (88) moving the chains over the middle of the field.
- Walk-on receiver Reis Stocksdale (87) extending his Spring Game touchdown streak to two.
- Freshman wide receiver Bryson Rodgers (86) picking up first downs while other classmates get the attention.
- Violent collisions via “Knockerball” during a commercial break.
- Redshirt freshman tight end Bennett Christian (85) battling OSU’s young defensive backs on pass plays.
- Fourth-year junior tight end Joe Royer (84) has scored in every spring game he’s played in. Can he extend his streak to three games? If so, will he care enough about his feat to see if anybody has ever scored in four?
- Walk-on receivers Joop Mitchell (83) and David Adolph (82) seeing if they can extend the scoring streak for walk-on receivers in the spring game to three.
- Watching redshirt freshman defensive end Omari Abor (23) battling Ohio State’s second-team tackles.
- Will kicker Parker Lewis (24) be called upon to win the game? Because if so, we all know how that’s going to end.
- Freshman cornerback Jermaine Mathews (24) showing some of the “offense on defense” that defensive coordinator Jim Knowles likes about him.
- Seeing why freshman safety Malik Hartford (25) already lost his black stripe.
- Redshirt sophomore linebacker Reid Carrico (28) getting snaps while Tommy Eichenberg (33) and Steele Chambers (22) are on the shelf.
- Kaleb Brown (13) in the return game if they allow it.
- Seeing if redshirt freshman cornerback Ryan Turner (29) can close spring as strongly as everyone began it.
- Freshman wide receiver Noah Rogers (80) showing his size and ability to make plays after the catch.
- Watching Tegra Tshabola (77) get ahold of his man on run plays.
- True freshman right tackle Miles Walker putting his best feet forward in front of a large crowd.
- Redshirt freshman center Carson Hinzman (75) not only snapping the ball cleanly, but also dealing with the interior of the Buckeyes’ defensive line.
- New superfans! Might I suggest somebody donning a scarlet and gray ghillie suit with a monkey mask and calling yourself “Bucksquatch.” If that seems unreasonable, there’s always the “just wearin’ a barrel” gimmick.
- Ohio State honoring the 25-year anniversary of the 1998 Scarlet squad that defeated the Gray team. (This isn’t real but would be fun.)
- Junior left guard Donovan Jackson (74) paving the way for the running game, and also showing everybody his pass-blocking skills.
- Senior linebacker Cody Simon (30) back in control of the defense.
- Junior defensive end Jack Sawyer (33) trying to best his four career spring game sacks.
- People asking “who is 34 and why is he getting all the carries.”
- Redshirt freshman middle linebacker Gabe Powers (36) defending the run as well as he was defending the pass earlier in the spring.
- Watching sophomore safety Kye Stokes (37) once again be the Spring Game Defensive MVP.
- Seeing if walk-on cornerback Cameron Kittle can (38) extend his spring game interception streak to two games.
- Redshirt freshman George Fitzpatrick (68) attempting to handle talented pass rushers as OSU’s No. 2 left tackle.
- Getting a first good look at true freshman guard Austin Siereveld (67).
- Fifth-year senior guard Enokk Vimahi (66) further cementing himself as the offensive line’s sixth man. Or possibly continuing his progress into the top five.
- Seeing if freshman center Josh Padilla (62) gets much work given the battle going on for the starting spot between Carson Hinzman (75) and Victor Cutler (59).
- Watching graduate senior Josh Proctor (41) at free safety. He’s got the range and instincts. Can he keep big plays from going over his head?
- Junior defensive end JT Tuimoloau (44) doing JT Tuimoloau things.
- Watching walk-on tight end Patrick Gurd (49) score a touchdown and thereby giving me three points in the spring game bold predictions contest between myself and Tom Orr.
- Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Michael Hall (51) being removed from the game so that the offense can actually get some work done.
- Getting a look at the possible left tackle of the future in true freshman Luke Montgomery (51).
- Buckeye legacy Will Smith, Jr. (53) putting more good play on tape as he looks to get into the defensive tackle rotation as a true freshman. The Buckeyes aren’t all that deep at defensive tackle, so they could really use somebody to step up.
- The random pregame minor injury that knocks out the one guy you were looking most forward to watching.
- Graduate senior Matt Jones (55) simply being healthy for the first time in a while.
- Seeing the kind of trouble that fourth-year junior nose tackle Ty Hamilton (58) gives the Buckeyes’ centers.
- How will Louisiana-Monroe offensive lineman Victor Cutler (59) finish his spring at center for the Buckeyes. He’s mostly been with the twos but has gotten reps with the ones. Can he finish on a positive note and gain some ground on Carson Hinzman (75)?
- There will be a running clock in the fourth quarter. You might not like the sound of that now but you’ll be happy to see it on Saturday.
- Simply, an overall more stable defense.
- The offensive line working as a unit to create a consistent running game — in the unlikely event the Buckeyes run the ball enough to establish any kind of running game.
- How accurate is Kyle McCord (6) down the field?
- Does Kyle McCord take chances or will he throw the ball away?
- Look, I tried to get to 100. Honest, I did. But at the end of the day, it’s just a spring game. Finding 100 things to watch was always a pipe dream. It was something we talked about, but none of us ever really started to save up for it.
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