OSU coach Jim Tressel divided the team's 20 seniors on Wednesday and then had them and his assistant coaches draft sides for this game. A crowd in excess of 30,000 is expected at the Horseshoe as the weather forecast calls for a high of 74 degrees and a zero percent chance of precipitation.
"It's one more chance to show what you've learned," Tressel said. "We always say that the spring game is mostly fun. You've been working hard and you like to compete. Any time you keep score, you love to see who wins. It's one more chance to show what you've learned fundamentally and how you handle just a little bit more gamelike situations.
"We always hope for no injuries. That is number one. We want to see the kids have a lot of funs. We want the kids to be put in position where they can make plays and see if they can make them. Let's end a successful spring."
Tressel announced the general rules for the game. On first down, the offense will use a two-back set. On second and third down, the offense will go one-back or empty. For the defense, on first down they will be in the base 4-3 with zone coverage. On second and third downs, the defense will have a 30 front with zone coverage.
The special teams will be live, with the exception of punts that must be fair caught. Defenses may attempt to block punts, however.
The game will be four 12-minute quarters with a standard clock.
Sophomore tailback Maurice Wells was selected to the Gray squad. He talked about his goals for Saturday's game.
"I'm just going to try and do my best to try and help my team win," Wells said. "I'll do whatever I'm asked to do, whether it's block, catch, receive, run, whatever we need to do. Anytime you scrimmage or play any type of game, you get excited about it."
Starting tailback Antonio Pittman will not play in the game meaning that Wells and Scarlet backs Erik Haw and Chris Wells figure to get a lot of work.
"There will be a lot of carries for all of the backs," Maurice Wells said. "Pitt, I don't know what his situation is or how many carries he'll get or if he'll play at all. I just want to do the best I can."
Senior safety Brandon Mitchell was a key part of the brain trust that drafted the Gray squad. This will be his fourth OSU spring game.
"I relate it to an all-star game or the Pro Bowl," Mitchell said. "It's all fun and games for the first couple of quarters. But once you get into the third and fourth quarter and the game is on the line, guys start competing very hard. This is a crucial time for the young guys, who have not had a chance to get a lot of game experience.
"The emphasis is on them to get them in those gamelike situations."
Senior guard T.J. Downing is among a handful of projected starters who will only play one quarter or one half in Saturday's game. Downing, also on the Gray, does not consider this to be a day off.
"It's competition and it's pride within yourself," he said. "You never want that guy across from you to beat you. That's been my motto going out there. You play for the team first, but inside you have to do something to make sure you don't get beat. You win your personal battles. You'll win some and lose some. Hopefully you win most of them and you'll win the game.
"Gosh, last year, I remember blowing my knee out playing in this game. I was out there giving everything I had. There are guys out there looking for spots. You better believe they're going to do everything they can to win that."
Senior quarterback Troy Smith, due back as the starter in the fall, will toil for just one quarter for the Scarlet team.
"It's practice," he said. "For the most part, it's another practice. Every team across the nation has 15 practices in the spring and it's our last one. It's the ultimate day when we get the most film study done on everybody. It's another hard fought practice.
"But this has a little bit more glamour to it."
As always, Tressel has appointed some former players to "assist" each team in this game.
"LeCharles Bentley will be the Scarlet coach as we want to welcome him back to Ohio (and the Cleveland Browns)," Tressel said. "And the Gray head coach will be Mike Nugent. We don't get to see enough of Mike because he's out in New York a lot."
Spring Game Rosters
Here are the rosters for each team:
2 Erik Haw, RB
6 James Wallace, WR 9 Brent Ullery, WR
10 Troy Smith, QB (one quarter, black jersey)
11 Anthony Gonzalez, WR (one half)
14 Brian Hartline, WR
16 Robbie Schoenhoft, QB
18 Devon Lyons, WR
19 Derek Harden, WR
25 Antonio Pittman, RB (injured)
28 Chris Wells, RB
35 Ryan Franzinger, FB
39 Andrew Good, K
49 Dionte Johnson, FB
50 Doug Datish, C (injured)
54 Tyler Whaley, C
56 Dimitrios Makridis, LS
57 Kurt Schnittger, LS
67 Kyle Mitchum, OL
68 Tim Schafer, OL
71 Steve Rehring, OL
74 Kirk Barton, OL (injured)
78 Danny Dye, OL
79 Jon Skinner, OL
82 Devin Jordan, WR (injured)
83 Will Crall, TE
85 Ryan Pretorius, K
88 Rory Nicol, TE
3 Jamario O'Neal, SS
14 Antonio Smith, CB
15 A.J. Trapasso, P
17 Zach Willis, CB
19 Brandon Underwood, CB
20 Donald Washington, CB
24 Tyson Gentry, P-WR (injured)
29 Kurt Coleman, CB
34 Marcus Williams, S
35 Nick Patterson, FS
36 Curt Lukens, SS (injured)
38 Austin Spitler, MLB
41 Larry Grant, SLB
44 Jason Weihrauch, P
50 Vernon Gholston, DE
51 Ross Homan, WLB
52 John Kerr, MLB
55 Curtis Terry, SLB
84 Doug Worthington, DE (injured)
92 Brent Daly, DE
92 Todd Denlinger, DT
96 Juan Garnier, DT
97 David Patterson, DT (one quarter)
99 Jay Richardson, DE (one half)
3 Dre Riddick, WR
5 Albert Dukes, WR
7 Ted Ginn Jr, WR (one half)
8 Roy Hall, WR
12 Justin Zwick, QB (one quarter)
13 Ben Kacsandi, QB
15 Kyle Ruhl, WR (injured)
16 Trever Robinson, FB
17 Todd Boeckman, QB
18 David Lisko, WR (injured)
20 Aaron Pettrey, K
26 Jonathan Skeete, K
29 Shaun Lane, RB (injured)
33 Joe Gantz, RB
34 Maurice Wells, RB
41 Michael Mattimoe, K
46 John Larson, TE
58 Drew Norman, LS
61 Matt Drummelsmith, LS
63 Ben Person, OL
64 Jimmy Cordle, C
65 Doug Ebner, OL
66 Andrew Moses, C
72 TJ Downing, OL (one half)
73 Josh Kerr, OL
75 Alex Boone, OL
80 Brian Robiskie, WR
81 Marcel Frost, TE
86 Dan Potokar, WR
87 Brandon Smith, TE
89 Stan White Jr., FB
1 Marcus Freeman, WLB
2 Malcolm Jenkins, CB
5 Mike D'Andrea, MLB (injured)
13 Andre Amos, CB
21 Anderson Russell, SS
24 Michael Roberts, CB
30 Sirjo Welch, CB
32 Brandon Mitchell, FS
33 James Laurinaitis, SLB
36 Matt Daniels, S
39 Michael Dougherty, S
41 De'Angelo Haslam, CB
46 Chad Hoobler, MLB
48 John Thoma, P
49 Ryan Lukens, WLB
69 Bryan Gray, DE
78 Alex Barrow, DE
84 Evan Jablonka, P
87 Lawrence Wilson, DE
90 Quinn Pitcock, DT (injured)
91 Ryan Williams, DE (injured)
93 Nader Abdallah, DT
98 Joel Penton, DT
How We See It
* When Scarlet Has The Ball: It looks like Troy Smith will play the first quarter and Rob Schoenhoft the last three at the quarterback position. If Smith can stake Scarlet to a 10-0 or 14-0 lead, they may have a good shot here. You have to like the tailback tandem of Erik Haw and Chris Wells. They should get some rugged yardage. I also like the OL here with Steve Rehring, Tim Schafer and Kyle Mitchum, in particular. The Gray defense will try and force the issue with Lawrence Wilson and Alex Barrow rushing off the edge. I like the LBs here with Marcus Freeman and James Laurinaitis. Could come down to how well CBs Malcolm Jenkins and Michael Roberts and safety Anderson Russell match up with Scarlet WRs Anthony Gonzalez (one half only), Brian Hartline and Devon Lyons (who makes his triumphant return to WR after spending three weeks at safety).
* When Gray Has The Ball: Justin Zwick figures to play the first quarter and you have to like the slight edge in experience Todd Boeckman will give the Gray over the final three quarters. Gray has Maurice Wells at tailback and Ted Ginn Jr. (who gets a full half), Roy Hall, Albert Dukes and Brian Robiskie at the receiver spots. The OL situation seems strong with Jimmy Cordle at center as well as T.J. Downing (one half only), Alex Boone, Ben Person and Josh Kerr. Scarlet counters with David Patterson at DT and Jay Richardson and Vernon Gholston at the end spots. I like the secondary on Scarlet with Antonio Smith at corner and Jamario O'Neal and Nick Patterson at the safety spots. But if it comes down to a kick, Gray has Mr. 59-Yarder Aaron Pettrey to rely upon.
* How It Will Go: I do like the Scarlet defense a lot. But I can't get past the fact that the Gray will have the relatively calm Boeckman throwing to Ginn in the second quarter and Hall, Dukes and Robiskie over the balance of the game. To change the game, the Scarlet defense will need to get to Boeckman and force some negative plays.
Don't get me wrong: Schoenhoft is also capable of completing some big plays. Maybe his favorite target, the indefatigable Hartline, will get loose in the open field. But Schoenhoft will need to remain relatively mistake free if the Scarlet is going to win this game.
Moreover, this game is never about who wins or loses. It's about getting some quality reps in at the stadium before a crowd that could push 40,000 on a Chamber of Commerce-quality day. In the final analysis, though, I see Boeckman and the Gray perhaps driving for a late score and the win. I have it Gray 26-24
More Spring Game Details
For those who can not attend the game, it will apparently be simulcast on the Internet at www.10tv.com
Parking in and around the stadium will be free on a first come, first served basis. The west stadium lot will be a permit lot, however.
Ohio State provided the following release on the Scarlet and Gray Game:
Tickets for Saturday's Scarlet & Gray football game in Ohio Stadium remain on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in the Jerome Schottentstein Center and can be purchased in person in the southeast ticket lobby of the JSC or by going on-line at www.hangonsloopy.com.
The ticket office is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $5.00 each with one dollar from each ticket sold going to the National Youth Sports Program, which is sponsored each summer by the Ohio State Department of Athletics. The latter program benefits inner-city youths and allows them to use OSU facilities and learn from OSU coaches and staff members.
Ohio State ticket director Bill Jones reports more than 20,000 tickets have been sold to date for the spring game.
In anticipation of a large walk-up crowd on Saturday, Jones said the ticket office will sell tickets in the southeast and southwest lobbies of St. John Arena, as well as the usual locations in the north-end rotunda and surrounding gates in Ohio Stadium. All day-of-game locations open at 11 a.m. Jones also noted all will-call will be in St. John Arena and not in the Schottenstein Center as in past years.
As part of this year's "Celebration of Champions" theme, the Big Ten championship trophies from this past year's football, men's and women's basketball and men's gymnastics teams will be on display near Gate 8 inside Ohio Stadium. The Fiesta Bowl trophy and the Big Ten women's basketball tournament trophy also will be on display at that location. Fans are invited to view the trophies, take pictures and have their pictures taken next to the championship hardware.
All four championship teams will be honored at halftime of Saturday's game, including many of the seniors from the 2005 football team. Ohio State made history this past year by becoming the first Big Ten school to win league titles in football and men's and women's basketball in the same academic year.
The 2005 senior football class, that posted a 10-2 record and a share of the Big Ten title for the Ohio State Buckeyes, will hold an autograph session prior to Saturday's Scarlet and Gray game at Ohio Stadium.
The autograph session, which will take place at St. John's Arena (Stadium Side), will begin at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude at noon. Cost of the autographs will be $50.00 and includes an 8x10 photo of all the seniors. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Make a Wish Foundation.
We have also been informed by one of the players that a portion of the proceeds will be given to the Gentry family assist them with the costs of being in Columbus with Tyson.
Stay tuned to Bucknuts.com on Saturday for Dave Biddle's Blog during the game. He will update a story throughout the day with all of his observations.
Plus, Gary Housteau will Chat at approximately 6 p.m. Saturday after the game and I will Chat at 1 p.m. Monday. And we also plan video features next week on the game.