After not having fans inside Ohio Stadium since November 23, 2019 when the Buckeyes beat Penn State, Ohio State will welcome fans back inside The Horseshoe for the 2021 Spring Game. The attendance for next Saturday’s game will be capped at 19,180, which is just under 20% of the 102,780 person capacity.
Of the 19,180 fans in attendance, approximately 10,000 of those tickets will be given to the Wexner Medical Center and select other entities on campus that have been on serving on the front lines over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. 2,500 tickets will be given to students at no charge, and a number of tickets will be held for the families of players and coaches.
There should be approximately 4,500 tickets left that will be made available for purchase at $5 per ticket. Those tickets will go on sale on Monday at 11 a.m. on Ticketmaster.com. Season ticket holders will receive an e-mail on Friday regarding presale access.
While fans will be returning to Ohio Stadium, everything won’t be back to normal. There will be no tailgating allowed in the stadium parking lots. Masks will be mandatory and those in attendance will be asked to remain six feet apart. Fans actively eating and drinking will be reminded to stay seated. “Control staff” and restroom attendants will remind guests to remain diligent with hand washing and safe distancing.
Fans will be joined at next Saturday’s spring game by the band, spirit squad, Brutus Buckeye, cheerleaders, and the dance team. The Big Ten’s attendance policies in 2020 didn’t allow for the band to be at Ohio Stadium on game days. Instead, the band was forced to record virtual shows.
This year’s spring game will be a test run for the fall when even more fans are expected to be in attendance at Ohio State football games. The Buckeyes will open up their 2021 home schedule on September 11th when they host the Oregon Ducks. Ohio State has seven home games on the schedule this fall, with their home slate wrapping up on November 20th against the Michigan State Spartans.
“He’s a great athlete, he understands football, and he’s just a violent player.” Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. could thrive at guard in 2021, and he’s not worried what that means for his NFL left tackle prospects down the line. https://t.co/6Iz2XN2Ma8 pic.twitter.com/c15ONzV5vE— Nathan Baird (@nwbaird) April 8, 2021
When Paris Johnson Jr. was in high school, it all looked so simple. Head to Ohio State, get acclimated to life on campus, and on the football field in his freshman year, and then take over at tackle as a sophomore. It wasn’t hard to see why Johnson thought he could make an impact with the Buckeyes so early in his career, as he came to Columbus as one of the best offensive linemen in the country.
Then COVID-19 hit the world and changed the lives of anyone. Not only did Johnson miss out on an offseason of working with teammates and coaches to get hone his skills prior to his first time suiting up in the scarlet and gray, it also gave fall athletes an extra year of eligibility.
The added year of eligibility allowed tackle Thayer Munford to return to Ohio State for another season, taking away the tackle spot that Johnson had targeted. With Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere both penciled in as starters at tackle for the Buckeyes, it forced Johnson to reevaluate his plan on how he is going to make an impact for Ohio State as an underclassman.
Instead, Johnson now has his eyes on another spot on the offensive line. With guard Wyatt Davis declaring for the NFL Draft, Ohio State will need to find a replacement for Davis. Since head coach Ryan Day is looking for the five best players to start on the offensive line, it only makes sense that Johnson entertains the idea of moving to guard this year.
Even though Day sees the tackles and guards as somewhat interchangeable, Johnson doesn’t share the same line of thinking. As a tackle, Johnson sees himself as being out on an island, while being at guard is more of a collaborative effort with the rest of the offensive linemen.
It also helps Johnson that he did get a little bit of experience late last year at guard. With Davis dealing with a knee injury ahead of the College Football Playoff, as well as COVID-19 ravaging the Ohio State offensive line, Johnson did start playing more guard. Johnson even did see a few snaps in the Sugar Bowl at guard when starter Matthew Jones aggravated an injury.
Johnson knows his time will come at tackle, since he is way too talented to be kept away from the position. His time just likely won’t come this year, and the offensive lineman has accepted that. Playing guard will give Johnson a new challenge, and also allow him to show his versatility, which will make him even more attractive to NFL teams. Even though his timeline and plans at Ohio State have taken a hit, it likely won’t be enough to keep Johnson off the field in 2021.