The rain started falling at Ohio Stadium with five seconds left in the spring game Saturday. Ohio State Buckeyes fans started fleeing for the exits. The decision to move the game forward two hours kept them from sitting in the rain all afternoon.
A dreary forecast kept Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa State and others from playing their spring games. The show went on for the Buckeyes because coach Urban Meyer sees the spring game as a valuable opportunity to test young players in front of a big crowd and because it’s a chance to showcase the program for recruits.
While attendance dropped from 80,134 in 2017 to 47,803 in 2018, no one could complain about watching football on a warm day in April and seeing a number of former Buckeyes, including Malcolm Jenkins and Ryan Shazier, saluted on the turf at the center of the Horseshoe.
“I appreciate our fans,” Meyer said. “I told our team there’s a reason why the Malcolm Jenkins and Shaziers and the great players of the last six or seven years just love to come back. There’s a lot of reasons why. But I just think it’s because of Buckeye Nation and how strong it is.”
The quarterback situation was the main storyline in the spring game. Here’s a glance at where that race stands after the spring season and four other takeaways from the game:
1. No decision: Meyer said he has not decided who will start at quarterback for Ohio State in 2018. He and his assistants will meet next week to discuss what Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow and Tate Martell did in the spring. They charted every play in every practice and will examine that data, but that won’t be the only thing that comes into play.
“Data is second,” Meyer said. “It’s something that helps you. It’s also factual. Intangibles will also be very involved in the decision.”
Burrow, who will be a redshirt junior in the fall, put up the best numbers Saturday, completing 15 of 22 passes for 238 yards with two touchdowns.
“I think this was the best offseason I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Burrow said. “Last fall, this spring, all of it, I think I took a big step.”
Haskins, who will be a redshirt sophomore, completed 9 of 19 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
“We’re all fighting for the same thing,” Haskins said. “We know that. The biggest thing for us is to still be friends at the end of the day.”
Martell had the best rushing numbers. He ran 11 times for 69 yards. He completed 5 of 16 passes for 28 yards with one interception. All three quarterbacks split time between the Scarlet and Gray teams, though Haskins and Burrow spent more time with the first-team offense. The Gray team won 37-14.
2. Local grads: Wayne grad Robert Landers, entering his redshirt junior season, was a captain for the Scarlet team. He had one tackle for a loss.
Miamisburg grad Josh Myers, who redshirted last season as a freshman, started at center for the Scarlet team, snapping the ball to Martell for most of the game. Brady Taylor has earned the starting center job, Meyer said, but he also said Myers had a productive spring.
Derrick Malone, a walk-on tight end from Thurgood Marshall, had one catch for one yard for the Scarlet team.
3. Best spring: No one performed better in the spring than defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones, Meyer said. He raved about his play after the game, and another improved defensive lineman, Chase Young, said Jones just refused to be blocked in practices.
“He might get seven plays in practice,” Young said, “and he might get five sacks out of those seven plays.”
4. Quiet day: The Buckeyes know what they have with their running back duo of Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins, and that’s why neither player got much action in the spring game. Weber carried the ball one time and rushed 63 yards. Dobbins lost a yard on his only carry.
Freshman Master Teague carried much of the rushing load, gaining 73 yards on 14 carries. Antonio Williams rushed five times for 47 yards.
5. Spring summary: Ohio State will open the 2018 season at home against Oregon State on Sept. 1. It opens Big Ten play a week later at home against Rutgers.
As always, the Buckeyes likely will be a top-10 team when the season begins, and they should be the favorite in the Big Ten. Of course, Meyer still has plenty of questions to answer in the offseason, he said.
“I’m pretty pleased with where we’re at,” Meyer said. “We’re not where we were last year with a
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