Five Things: Ohio State Spring Game

By Chris Lauderback on April 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm
Cardale Jones 14 of 31 passes for 126 yards

Kirk Irwin photography


On a beautiful sun-splashed day for football, team Gray sent team Scarlet walking back to the Woody following a 17-7 win in front of 61,058 fans in the Shoe. 

Though the weather was fantastic, the play on the field wasn't quite as pretty as both offensive lines struggled at times to protect two green quarterbacks who combined to complete 48% of their passes.

In the end, there were no significant injuries and there was much to be excited about so with spring practice in the books, I present five things that stood out on a spectacular day in Ohio Stadium. 


It's no secret Kenny Guiton provided a luxury most teams simply don't have in that he was a backup quarterback who could've started for most of the teams in the league. 

With Smooth Jazz no longer in the building, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett are vying for the backup gig with Jones as the leader in the clubhouse heading into fall camp. 

Jones completed just 14/31 for 126 yards on the day while Barrett went 17/33 for 151 yards. Neither guy threw a pick or a touchdown though Nick Vannett dropped a catchable throw by Jones in the back of the end zone. 

Even with no-contact jerseys, both showed they can run the football but the passing was hit and miss. Jones seemed to struggle with touch in that every ball he threw that wasn't a deep shot came out hot. I liked his arm to be sure but a rocket isn't the correct throw in every instance. 

At this point, Buckeye fans should be very nervous if either is called upon in relief of a banged up Braxton against a decent team though there is still much time to develop. 

Long term, I l believe Barrett will prove to be the better quarterback but Jones has a clear edge thanks to time in the program. 


The offensive lines struggled at times which was to be expected considering it lost four starters and was trying to patch together two functional units in mid-April. As Urban stated during the telecast, they are still waiting on three guys to arrive in the fall and with both Taylor Decker and Pat Elflein sitting out, the deep defensive lines enjoyed success rushing the quarterback. 

Kyle Dodson struggled to keep Rashad Frazier out of the backfield early on and too often the inexperienced quarterbacks were immediately pressured despite very few blitzes. 

All is not lost however as Ed Warriner does have some talent to work with, they just need more time. Cobbling together a functional starting unit doesn't look to be a problem but depth could be a significant issue if guys don't continue to improve. 


I've been an Eli Apple fan since he got here. Though I wasn't surprised Armani Reeves entered spring as the favorite to start opposite Doran Grant, I felt it was very possible Apple would overtake Reeves by the time the Navy game rolled around and he certainly helped his cause today.

Apple showed some physicality in press coverage and I love his size (6'1", 195). He recorded a couple pass breakups on the afternoon along with two tackles. At the very least, it appears he'll see legit playing time this season and I fully expect him to gradually seize control of a starting spot. 

I'm sure it'll be covered extensively in the coming days so I'll just touch on it here but I loved the revamped coverage schemes. The defenses combined to break up nine passes and I tough both Darron Lee and Raekwon McMillan looked competent in coverage though it's obviously a small sample size. 

he's not dunn

The numbers were hardly staggering – six carries for 35 yards and a score – but I liked what I saw from Bri'onte Dunn. Similar to Apple, I've been a Dunn fan since he arrived from a talent standpoint though clearly he had some football maturation to do. 

Now it seems he has what it takes to compete at the elite college level and while I know most everyone is giddy over EZE (I am too, btw), I think Dunn is Ohio State's most B1G-ready running back. Even last year I thought he was the 2nd most gifted running back on the roster ahead of Jordan Hall, Rod Smith et al. 

I loved how quickly he hit the holes today and he's got an ability to run through the tackles that you need on weather influenced November fall Saturdays. Dunn and EZE should prove a very nice one-two punch this season. 


Props to Shelley Meyer or Urban or whomever demanded Gene Smith and company wake up and adjust the ticket price from $12 to $5 even if it didn't happen until Friday afternoon. 

With spring game attendance flailing in many legit college towns across the country, it's great that Ohio State finally realized having at least 60k on hand is good for all involved. 

Thad Matta was able to court Trevor Thompson, the young guys got to play in front of a sizeable crowd and many fans who can't afford $70 per ticket to see a real game can at least give their kids a chance to watch football in the Shoe. 

It's not rocket science. Hopefully, OSU learned a lesson. 

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