Saturday was an exciting day in Ohio Stadium as the Buckeyes returned to their home field with fans in attendance for the first time in roughly 18 months. Though there was no tackling, the Spring Game did give us a glimpse at some of the young talent on the Ohio State roster so we’re giving you a special Spring Game Edition of 10 Observations.
1. There was some angst about the “no live tackling” policy but there seemed to be a lot of guys ending up on the ground anyway. I don’t see the policy as a big issue. They aren’t going to be tackling until August so I don’t think 60 minutes of tackling today would be some profound thing that carries over into fall camp. The spring game is really more for the fans at this point anyway, the real work was done the past couple of weeks.
2. With no tackling you don’t get a true evaluation of the linebackers, but second-year linebacker Cody Simon was certainly around the football a lot when the Buckeyes did run the football. Simon has been getting good reviews all spring and could be in line for significant playing time come September.
3. So much talk about Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. this spring and both guys showed why today. Both seem to have just such an advanced understanding of how to play the position and how to get open and both are very natural pass catchers. It’s going to be really difficult to keep these guys off the field this fall. I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot of both of them.
4. What Kyle McCord lacks in experience at the college level he makes up for in arm talent. He has the ability to make all of the throws, but he can really push the ball downfield. That first throw down the field was a thing of beauty and just what I’ve come to expect from watching him the past three years. The touch throws he made later in the day were very encouraging as well.
5. Knowing that today is going to be a miniscule part of the evaluation process for the starting quarterback position, I’d rate the QB’s in order; Stroud, McCord, Miller. Stroud was the most consistent with his timing and accuracy while also limiting his misses and keeping the ball out of jeopardy. But McCord came on strong as the day wore on and made some really accurate throws.
6. Let’s not get *too* carried away here, but Jack Sawyer sure looks the part of someone who is going to play a lot of meaningful snaps as a true freshman. Not surprising for those of us who have been watching him since his freshman year at Pickerington North, but he was clearly the most noticeable defensive lineman out there today. Of course with the split rosters, and no NPF, Sawyer was getting some good matchups out there but this is a special talent and an immediate impact guy.
7. Another linebacker that flashed today was Teradja Mitchell. Mitchell has always been a bit of a head hunter and he had a couple of big sticks today. But more importantly, I didn’t notice him getting caught out of position or over-pursuing. If he can channel that aggression he can be a big piece of the defense this fall.
8. What an athlete Craig Young is. Is he a safety? a linebacker? A mythical bullet? I don’t know, but that type of athleticism has to have a home on this defense in 2021.
9. I don’t think we learned much of anything that we didn’t already know about the running backs, but despite not having that one ‘wow’ moment, you have to like the look of TreVeyon Henderson. I always just watch the feet with the running backs, and Henderson’s feet are pretty special. He has that quick and subtle ability to bounce things while simultaneously accelerating. He also looks as comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield as any running back Ohio State has had in quite a while.
10. There are position battles that are going to receive a lot more attention in the coming months than the battle for TE2, but certainly appears like Cade Stover is a big favorite there. Did some nice things today, including a really impressive one-handed grab that won’t show up on the stat sheet as he wasn’t able to get a foot down along the sideline.