COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State will play in front of a crowd for the first time in 2023 during Saturday’s spring football game at noon inside Ohio Stadium.
Coach Ryan Day announced quarterback Devin Brown, who’s competing with Kyle McCord for the starting spot, will not play because of a finger injury on his throwing hand.
Day said more than 50,000 fans are expected to be in attendance to see the Buckeyes in their 15th and final spring practice. Below are six things to know ahead of the inter-squad scrimmage.
Spring game information
- Parking is free (not available at West Stadium or North St. John Arena)
- Ticket office at Gate 5 open at 9 a.m. for fans needing assistance
- Cannon Drive is closed between 12th Avenue and John H. Herrick Drive
- Herrick and Cannon intersection is closed, as is the John Herrick Bridge
- Kickoff at 12:05 p.m. with a 10-minute halftime.
- Format: offense vs. defense (Offense scoring traditional. Defense: takeaway 3 points, 3-and-out 3 points, sack 2 points and forced punt 1 point)
- Game televised on Big Ten Network
Tristan Gebbia: OSU to OSU
Oregon State transfer Tristan Gebbia finds himself as the second quarterback on Ohio State’s depth chart after the injury to Brown. He’ll play a much bigger role than anticipated and looks to make the most of the opportunity as he enters his seventh year in college football.
Offensive line concerns
Day and offensive line coach Justin Frye have the task of replacing three starters, including both tackle positions left vacant by Paris Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones. Day says no one has stood out in the right tackle competition between redshirt sophomore Zen Michalski and redshirt freshman Tegra Tshabola and that senior Josh Fryar has yet to lock down the left spot.
“There’s been some good things. We’re not there ready to name a starter right now. I don’t think either of those guys have stepped up,” Day said. “I still think left tackle too there’s been good things but to say. … Those guys are the starters moving into the preseason, we can’t do that. I’d like to say that but we’re not there, so a lot of work to be done in the next few months.”
It’s no secret Ohio State’s secondary struggled mightily in the last two games and gave up plenty of big plays throughout the 2022 season. But Day, along with defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, said they’ve seen promising progress that should be apparent in the spring game.
“We made great strides in the secondary. I’ve been very impressed with our corners. I think Denzel [Burke] is playing his best football right now. I’ve just been impressed with his offseason, impressed with his approach everyday,” Day said.
Day said junior Jordan Hancock, who’s fully healthy from a hamstring injury, is showing his potential along with Ole Miss transfer Davison Igbinosun.
“[Jordan] came off that really bad hamstring injury and was never quite himself last year. He’s somebody we’ve got a lot of excitement around, and then Davison has been a great addition. It’s been great to see him out there and compete. I think he’s raising the level of everybody in that room, and Jyaire Brown has played a little bit of nickel and corner. He has natural talent and instincts.”
As for the safeties, Day said the group as a whole has been ‘much more solid.’
“Lathan [Ransom] and Josh [Proctor] and Sonny [Styles] and some of the guys back there have done a nice job,” he said. “It’s year two in the system, more experience and a couple added pieces, I’ve been encouraged.”
TreVeyon Henderson will not play in the spring game but said last week he feels like himself again after suffering a broken foot during OSU’s week three game against Toledo.
The other returning starter, Miyan Williams, will play the first few drives but will not be participating in the full tackle portion of the game. That means Saturday is an an opportunity for rising sophomore Dallan Hayden and linebacker-turned-running back Chip Trayanum to show what they can do. Hayden flashed his potential as a true freshman, running for three touchdowns at Maryland and taking 33 snaps in the Peach Bowl with Henderson out and Williams banged up.
Evan Pryor has also been kept out of spring drills after suffering a torn ACL in August after an impressive spring game performance last year.
Starting linebacker Steele Chambers will miss the game because of an injury he suffered two weeks ago. Day said he will be back for the season. The other starting linebacker, Tommy Eichenberg, has also been kept out of spring drills. That means several players will have a chance to play against the first-string offense and show they have what it takes to rotate with Chambers and Eichenberg during the season.
One of those players who can fill in at linebacker is Mitchell Melton, who suffered a torn ACL in last year’s spring game. He was impressing defensive coordinator Jim Knowles before that injury and could be used at the “jack” position, a hybrid between linebacker and defensive end. The position was played by Jack Sawyer last year, but he will solely focus on defensive end in 2023. Others looking to stand out include C.J. Hicks, the No. 1 ranked linebacker for the class of 2022, and senior Cody Simon.