Starting out the gates with uptempo offense and never really relenting, the Ohio State Buckeyes spring game did pretty much everything you imagined. While just about all the quarterbacks involved had moments they'd love to have back, plenty of playmakers showed a preview of things to come, and with around 100,000 OSU faithful in attendance for the second straight year, things couldn't have gone much better overall.
Mortal lock for starting quarterback J.T. Barrett didn't exactly have his best day -- 13-22 for 102 yards with two interceptions -- but two years ago after the quarterbacks didn't particularly look the part, OSU went on to win a national championship. One of the biggest problems on the day for Barrett and his probable backup, Joe Burrow, was the extremely suspect play of a backup-laden offensive line. Poor Burrow, who unlike Barrett didn't have a non-contact jersey, was blasted all afternoon playing behind various mixes of second- and third-string offensive linemen.
Among the standouts on the afternoon, defensive back Malik Hooker showed why OSU took a chance on the underrated prospect, hauling in two interceptions. The first, a pick-six off of Barrett, was the first touchdown of the game. Defensive linemen DaVon Hamilton and Tracy Sprinkle, the latter a player singled out by coaches for having a great spring, running back Mike Weber (who had several scores on the afternoon), Burrow, defensive back Denzel Ward, and tight end Marcus Baugh all turned heads making plays at various junctures.
Terry McLaurin was the leading receiver while former quarterback Torrance Gibson caught two touchdown passes.
And though he wasn't necessarily the most memorable standout during the exhibition, there's no doubt that linebacker Jerome Baker made the play of the spring game -- and maybe any this spring.
Urban Meyer said during a pregame interview with the Big Ten Network's (and former Ohio State Buckeyes LB) Bobby Carpenter that "spring games are usually awful." And while last year's game probably left some to be desired, a beautiful day in Columbus, Ohio proved to be pretty fun on the whole. If you cared, the Gray were the winners, 28-17, meaning the Scarlet team had to walk back from Ohio Stadium to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. They'll also have to do landscaping work on Buckeye Grove, where OSU's former first-team All-Americans have trees planted in their honor.
With so many starting positions up for grabs and so much exciting young talent, the best is yet to come for one of the most intriguing groups of Buckeyes in recent memory.