Ohio State Spring Game 2021: 3 Things to Watch

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The Ohio State 2021 Spring Game will begin Saturday, April 17th at 12:00. 19,180 fans will attend, while the rest of Buckeye Nation can catch the game on Big Ten Network.

The Spring Game is usually played in a packed Horseshoe Stadium. Despite the fact that it is basically a scrimmage, Ohio State regularly crams 100,000 fans into the Shoe. That’s one of the reasons last years’ cancellation was so shocking.

This year, the Spring Game is back on, and this one is arguably more interesting than the one in 2020 would have been.

Of course, the game is not without its stakes. Team Scarlet will match up against Team Gray, and the loser will be responsible for cleaning up Buckeye Grove.

There will be three things in the Spring Game that should be particularly interesting to Ohio State fans this year.

Ohio State Spring Game 2021: 3 Things to Watch

The Quarterback Battle

Ryan Day has big shoes to fill at quarterback. As a full-time head coach, he has only had Justin Fields under center, who was one of the best quarterbacks in Ohio State history. In 2021, he will send out a first-year starter to sling the rock, regardless of who wins the job.

The two frontrunners for the starting quarterback job in 2021 will be sophomores C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller. Kyle McCord, a true freshman, will take some snaps in the Spring game, and still has an outside shot at winning the job. The three will rotate throughout the game, probably playing every third drive or so regardless of which team would have the ball.

The quarterback competition will likely progress into the fall. In fact, it could quite possibly go until Wednesday night before the season opener on Thursday, September 2nd. But the Spring Game will provide the closest thing to extended live game reps for each quarterback since 2019, which was their last year in high school.

The “Bullet” Position and the Secondary

Ohio State’s defense is in desperate need of an overhaul, starting with the secondary.

In years past, Ohio State has toyed with the “Bullet” position, which would be somewhere between a safety and a linebacker. Brendon White in 2018 and Pete Werner in 2019 were two of the best to do it. But by and large, there hasn’t been anyone with the right blend of size and athleticism to do it.

This spring, Craig Young, who is a natural linebacker, has been working out with the safeties. If he doesn’t end up playing bullet, this shows that Ohio State is at least thinking about it.

Not only is Young creating intrigue in the secondary, but it looks as if the whole back end of the defense is getting reworked. DeMario McCall might move from running back to cornerback, Marcus Williamson might move from cornerback to safety, and a slew of others are fighting for their first starting job. Lathan Ransom, Lejond Cavazos, Cameron Martinez, and Tyreke Johnson will have a chance to show the coaching staff what they bring to the table.

Freshman Stepping Up

A big story every year is the new players losing their black stripe.

When a player joins the Buckeyes (whether they are a freshman or a transfer), the scarlet stripe on their helmet is replaced with a black one. They have the black strip removed by working hard in practice, earning the right to wear the classic Buckeye helmet.

Leading up to the Spring game, Jack Sawyer and Marvin Harrison Jr. were the first to do it. Sawyer was the highest-graded recruit in the 2021 class, but Harrison was further down on the list.

Following them were TreVeyon Henderson, Emeka Egbuka, and Reid Carrico.

These five freshmen are the most likely to do some serious damage in the Spring Game.

Other freshmen include quarterback McCord, who will be in the quarterback competition. Denzel Burke might also get some looks at defensive back.