Ryan Day doesn’t name a starting QB and other takeaways from OSU Spring Game

Ryan Day doesn’t name a starting QB and other takeaways from OSU Spring Game

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio State spring game came and went Saturday, with 80,012 fans at Ohio Stadium witnessing Team Scarlet, representing the offense, edge out Team Gray, the designated defense, by a final score of 34-33.

And so ends one of the most closely watched and highly anticipated spring practice seasons in recent Ohio State football history, with plenty of questions still left to be answered before the 2024 season officially kicks off on Aug. 31.

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Day declines to name a starting quarterback

While Will Howard was the first quarterback to take the field in the spring game, it doesn’t necessarily make him Ohio State’s starting QB next fall. At least not according to head coach Ryan Day, who enters his sixth season at the helm.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m going to make any declarations right now, but we’ll look at the film and see what it looks like and then decide where to go from there,” Day said. “I don’t have much to say about it right now.”

Howard went 9-for-13 for 77 yards. Devin Brown threw the longest completion of the day at 25 yards as well as the only passing touchdown of the game when he completed a throw to Brennan Schramm in the second quarter. Brown went five-for-seven for 66 yards. Freshman Julian Sayin and sophomore Lincoln Keinholz each went ten for 17 and combined for 156 passing yards.

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New offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Chip Kelly said his unit as a whole got better over the spring and that they’re not trying to hide anything from the players as they make decisions on the depth chart moving forward.

“And the players know too, we’re not making a decision walking off the field today saying, ‘Hey, this is the direction we’re going in.’ We’ll be very authentic and look through everything and we get a really good feel for what it all looks like and who will best move this offense,” Kelly said. “That’s what our decision is going to be based on.”

Defense outshines offense despite final score

For much of the spring game, especially the second half, you couldn’t help but think if the Ohio State offense was lacking or if the Buckeyes defense was really that good. The optimist will probably take the “glass half full” approach. And so will the coaches.

Gray (defense) did not allow Scarlet (offense) to find the end zone until late in the second quarter of the game. The defense also came up with four interceptions and six sacks. So it’s no wonder why the score ended up being so close in this offense versus defense format. And the coaching staff is expecting the best from a unit that is considered to be the best in the country.

“Our [defensive backs], our B.I.A., you know, Best in America, led the country in pass defense. It was 96 when I got here and it was number one last year,” defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. “They’ve taken that spirit so it’s a competitive spirit. It’s an expectation now. It doesn’t matter who we’re going against. They view it as a standard.”

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And the Buckeyes defense has made Kelly’s job as offensive coordinator a challenge during spring practice.

“Sometimes makes it tough in an evaluation is what a good front we went against,” Kelly said. “So for 15 practices, those guys on the other side of the ball were a pain. But I know come fall there’s not going to be anyone more happy that we have those guys on the defensive side of the ball because of what they can do.”

OSU secondary becomes the primary star of spring game

There is a reason why the Ohio State defense is believed to be the best in the country after finishing third in the nation last season. The downfield coverage made it difficult to judge the quarterback competition because the secondary was blanketing the receivers.

Aside from the four interceptions, the defense came up with six pass breakups. True freshman Aaron Scott Jr. had two of those plus six total tackles.

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“When you have corners you can count on that are going to compete all the time no matter what the situation is. And we’ve developed that,” Knowles said. “Again, that changes the way you call the entire game. I mean, you’re able to leave those guys on an island. You’re able to switch your coverages and they know what they’re doing and they take great pride in it. So having those guys out there and the development, it’s a big deal.”

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