Ohio State Spring Game Review: Offense

Ohio State held their spring game Saturday before a record crowd. Who stood out for the Buckeyes on the offensive side of the football?

Understand that there is no reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from a spring game for the most part, and a split squad contest with several starters not performing is tough to evaluate. I'm not looking to give performance reviews in this piece, unlike a regular game, but rather I want to point out who flashed throughout the day. 

- For the quarterbacks, it was a day to show off second teamer Joey Burrow and he did the things I think he will do as a starter in a few years. While J.T. Barrett was not sharp and threw more than a few ill-advised passes, Burrow was exceptional with his quick release, reading the field and using his legs to make plays. Is he in Barrett's class? No, not at all, but he's going to be the starter at some point and it could be this year if Barrett goes down. I have no doubt Joey Burrow is starter material at Ohio State, and I loved what he did Saturday.

- As far as replacing Zeke Elliott, good luck with that, but Mike Weber showed the burst he's known for and was able to break tackles. Antonio Williams looks like a football player, even though I think he will be behind Brionte Dunn this season. Weber NEEDS to be good this year, because he can do more things like Elliott than Dunn can. There is a place for Dunn, but he is not the all-around talent that Weber appears to be. We still need to see Weber tote the rock against Oklahoma, and not a patchwork Buckeye defense, but he looked really good. 

- For the offensive line, there is no reason to critique individual players for the most part in such a hodge-podge scrimmage. These guys need to work in tandem like a fist, with all five parts helping each other. I have to say that I was surprised with freshman Michael Jordan. To me, he looked like he belonged out there with the big boys. His footwork and balance were impressive for one so young. Jamarco Jones, Matthew Burrell and Branden Bowen seemed to be able to hold their own, with Pat Elflein and Billy Price sitting out. 

- Torrance Gibson is still very, very raw as a wide receiver, but what a package of size, speed and athleticism he has. They need to totally scrap the QB experiment, and get him rep after rep after rep as a wideout. Nobody on this squad, including Mike Thomas, Braxton Miller and Jalin Marshall have the skill set Gibson has, but he is way behind the curve on knowing the position. If he can be brought up to speed, the Buckeyes have a future first round draft pick on their hands. The bomb and the bubble screen were eye-openers. Watching him throw a duck on the end around was not. Parris Campbell had a good day catching the football, and if he can do that under game pressure, he will be on the field. Austin Mack looked nervous and tentative, but he can play. Terry McLaurin really had a good day, and only the one drop marred a perfect day for him. Johnnie Dixon played, but did not look like the Johnnie Dixon of old. 

- Marcus Baugh has been a guy I've been propping since seeing him at Under Armour four years ago. He showed why in the spring game. I think he's going to be a featured receiver next season, as I'm not certain the passing game will allow them to concentrate strictly on the wideouts. If he's right mentally, Baugh is a legit threat as a pass receiver because he runs great routes and catches everything throw his way. 

- All in all, I think the offensive coaches have to be pleased with what they saw. They know Barrett is a heck of a player, so it had to make them feel good to see Burrow shine when the lights came on. Weber did what Weber has been doing since late last season in practice, and I know they feel good about him. There are receivers coming back from injury in the fall, so anyone that did not distinguish themselves in the spring is going to be buried. Noah Brown, Curtis Samuel and Corey Smith are going to be on the field. Do not worry about the O-line, because no group could have stood out under these conditions. You will know what you have there after a few games next season, not in April. 


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