Quotebook: Spring Game

By Kyle Rowland on April 13, 2014 at 6:00a
21 Comments

Ohio State fans are as rabid as they come. Each spring, they prove their worth to the college football world by showing up in droves to a split squad exhibition where many star players sit out or appear for a quarter.

It was the same fervent attitude in 2014. On Saturday, despite Braxton Miller’s offseason shoulder surgery and a two-game losing streaks, 61,058 fans showed up for the annual Scarlet and Gray game.

“I want to thank our student body and our fans,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “60,000-plus people on a beautiful day in Columbus to sit through a spring game that sometimes I didn’t want to be watching. But we appreciate everyone being here.”

There were two areas of play that offered the most intrigue – offensive line and freshmen. The line’s play could leave many worried over the summer as they await the season opener at Navy. Starters Taylor Decker and Pat Elflein did not play leaving the spotlight unoccupied. None of the potential starters did much to distinguish themselves, prompting a simple response from Meyer.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said.

The young guy who garnered the most attention throughout the spring has been Raekwon McMillan. He came to Ohio State as a top-rated linebacker similar to Curtis Grant’s position three years ago. Meyer has not shied away from talking up McMillan.

“He’s in the rotation. He’s going to play,” Meyer said after McMillan’s five-tackle performance. “I would put him in the same category, although a year younger than Worley and Darren Lee. Those guys have earned it. They’re playing. Whether he’s going to start, he and Curtis are in a battle. Curtis had his best spring. He’s earned that right. He’s not a freshman anymore. He’s gotta go play.” 

The spring game also gives little-used players a chance to showcase themselves. Nik Sarac, Craig Fada and Michael Ciebene were just a few who soaked up the experience.

“It’s a chance to see some young guys who really haven’t played, and to be quite honest, I’m not sure how much they will,” Meyer said. “A lot of guys in this program work very hard, and being able to let those guys play and catch a pass in Ohio Stadium, or whatever – in the big picture, it’s the right thing to do, and I’m glad we do that. It’s a great thrill for a lot of people.”

So what can be taken out of a lackluster game that didn’t feature half the starters? Well, according go Meyer, it’s an individual evaluation.

“I’m not trying to evaluate an offense,” he said. “Who cares? There are guys out there who will never play or they’re not ready to play now. [Sports information director] Jerry [Emig] handed me these stats. I’m not sure what to do with these. I don’t care. 

“What I do care about is who’s physically going to make the plays. It was almost like an individual game today. That’s what I wanted to watch. I wanted to see who’s going to compete, who’s going to make plays and who’s going to fit the team concept because we all know what we saw out there. That’s not a team. That’s not the Ohio State Buckeyes.”

Cardale Jones will be Ohio State’s backup quarterback. But he didn’t do it with an impressive outing in the spring game. Jones and J.T. Barrett were both mediocre. That shouldn’t be the lasting image of Jones, though.

“Cardale was disappointing,” Meyer said. “I thought he had some misses today, but I’m not going to let that ruin his spring. He had a good spring for us.”

Jones on being the backup: “I have always been told the backup quarterback is the most important position on the team. As far as a gap between Braxton and myself, or Braxton and J.T [Barrett], that is for the coaches to decide. I have to keep getting better off the field and improving my game.”

Like Meyer, Jones cautioned not to elevate what occurred during the spring game too highly.  

“It is hard to rate the game because so many guys didn’t play,” he said. “The work we have done for the entire spring is more important than today.”

Meyer on the revamped Ohio State defense: “I would say we’re faster and more athletic at a lot of positions.”

The leading rusher was Warren Ball, who recorded 55 yards and a touchdown. He wasn’t the leading candidate to have a breakout day, and you’ll hear little complaining that he did. Ezekiel Elliott will be the starting running back, but a combined effort could be needed to replace Carlos Hyde’s lost production.

“It is very competitive. Nothing is concrete and everyone’s role is up in the air,” Ball said. “We are all working hard to find playing time on the field.”

Ball on the Ohio State offense: “We can be the best [in the nation]. We have a lot of weapons, and the sky is the limit. We have playmakers at every position on the field.”

Tommy Schutt on Larry Johnson and the defensive line: “When Coach Johnson first came in it was a difficult transition, but we’ve all bought in to what he is trying to teach us, and we are playing well right now. I think the unit is going to be very successful.” 

21 Comments

Comments

FROMTHE18's picture

Surprised Ball isn't viewed as a potential starter at RB, like I said in one of the other posts, he hasn't done anything for me not to think he is incapable of being so.

+2 HS
Killer nuts's picture

Did you just hit us with a triple negative? 

+26 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

That's what I thought.   I looked down to make sure I was drinking coffee.  Ok I'm awake.

Buckeye in Texas

+2 HS
d5k's picture

Dan Dierdorf has left a lasting impression on society.

But mad props for the consistent logic.

+3 HS
Bloombergl's picture

Can I make a separate, but related, suggestion?  I have a $20 bill in hand and would like to send it directly to 11W in exchange for a really sweet 4-6, A to B t-shirt from the dry goods section.  Can we make this happen?

+8 HS
d5k's picture

:04 - :06

A -> B

 

(Graphic designers get on it.

+2 HS
swanker's picture

No mention of Bri'onte Dunn?
Unless I'm mistaken, he was offensive player of the game for whatever that's worth on spring game.

+2 HS
DenBuck's picture

Looks like Frazier could be a solid contributor this year. Also no mention of the WR Mitchell who seemed to be everywhere!

Buckeye For Life

+2 HS
BoFuquel's picture

Spring game means nothing, UM has his mind made up and unless there are injuries won't be any freshmen starting at Navy. Seniority is still is in control, as it should be. It was a good day to be a Buckeye. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

+1 HS
Rjpfish2's picture

I'd bet the farm on Nuernberger starting.  Kid looks like he can control his FG's, 'aim' them, for lack of a better term. Sean was using the wind and spinning the ball with a little touch, whereas Clinton looks like he just blasts it towards the goal post like he is kicking off a tee.

+2 HS
cdub4's picture

Is this sarcasm?

sivaDavis's picture

With Knox and Jamarco coming in and Ed Warriner as the offensive line coach, anything is possible. Long summer where coaches can now work with players and add in a long fall camp... Possible we see one of the two possibly out there battling.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

nm_buck's picture

“It is hard to rate the game because so many guys didn’t play,” he said. “The work we have done for the entire spring is more important than today.”

Sounds to me like Mr Jones is maturing before our eyes.  If he ever gets to play, I pity da fools what gotta tackle him.  

+4 HS
ITWASME's picture

Braxton Miller will break your ankles and Cardale Jones will break the rest of your body

+9 HS
Buckabroad's picture

I agree with Mr. Schutt's assessment of the D-Line.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

Mortc15's picture

While the qbs didnt look great yesterday, the line didnt either of them much time and quite a few drops added to the completion % being lower than it should have been. Barrett was backed  up in his own endzone a few times too. There isnt an excuse for fumbling in that situation, but it would be a little rougher on a qb.

Overall, not a great game, but it somewhat filled my need for football until the fall gets here!

Buck-I4Life

+2 HS
Actorjonnyb's picture

Agree. Also, JT wouldn't be throwing out of his end zone anyway. Neither would Brax probably. The fumble wouldn't have happened in a real game unless it was a bad exchange on the handoff

buckeyeinla

seafus26's picture

I don't think if it were a real game we'd been passing out of the end one, though. I don't remember, it might have even been 1st down. Even with Joe Germaine at QB, we run it on first down in the regular season backed up to the goal line

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

Shangheyed's picture

No major injuries and a talented class coming in... nice looks in a game situation with lots to work on.  Was happy to see the D play better, DB were a  real improvement.  Keeping it simple as well as being more aggressive seems to be working... go figure! :-P

Jeremypreemo81's picture

This right here is what you want to hear out of players

"Jones on being the backup: “I have always been told the backup quarterback is the most important position on the team. As far as a gap between Braxton and myself, or Braxton and J.T [Barrett], that is for the coaches to decide. I have to keep getting better off the field and improving my game.”

Now thats a player who has bought into the system.

cw823's picture

It's easy to have a lackluster passing day and declare the pass defense must be improved, but what I saw was more of the same clown show to which we've been treated for a couple years now.  Time and time again the receivers failed to get open down the field. 

That said, it seemed most of the time that the QB decided who his target was before the ball was snapped, then threw it up in the air in the hopes the wide receiver who was blanketed by the db or safety would magically come down with the ball.  I know Barrett seemed to target Johnie Dixon on routes where Dixon was not at any point "open". 

It was nice to see Corey Smith decide to catch the ball in the second half after dropping a few in the first half.  Agreed on Mitchell, he seemed to run good routes and was one of the few WR that could get open against the secondary.  Thomas' 1-hand catch was sick.

Also, it was disappointing that Wilson finished 5th or worse in the race at halftime.  And they nearly had a student win the whole contest.  Why Samuel wasn't included in that race was confusing as well