We’re excited to have Eric Taylor bringing us some insight from on campus in this guest post!
The upcoming Spring Game-switcheroo has many fans grumbling and mumbling. Instead of the traditional spring game, where the players implement a draft and select two separate teams to compete, the game will feature an offense-defense scrimmage, much akin to the scrimmages held the previous two Saturday’s for the media.
The scrimmage was described in a press release as follows:
“In the football scrimmage, the ball will be put in play at various spots to create a variety of game-like situations. Each drill will consist of 3-6 scripted plays. If the offense sustains its drive on its first possession, it will be allowed to continue the drive beyond the scripted plays to its conclusion. However, if the first drive is stopped and the offense starts over, the drive will end on the prescribed play no matter where the ball is located. Penalties will be assessed and will not count as a play if accepted. If the penalty is rejected, the play will count. Points can be scored by both the offense and the defense according to predetermined values for first downs, turnovers, long plays, etc.”
Massage your temples and refocus your gaze, because that actually may not be too bad.
The scoring system is traditionally allusive and offense-generous, but the format of the scrimmage should be ideal this year.
The key determinant for the scrimmage, as described by Tressel, was that the Buckeyes were thin on offensive lineman, to which I say fair enough.
The line, even with a supply of healthy and able bodies, is generally a hodge-podge, mish-mash of confusion that leads to huge days for the defensive line. The offensive line relies on chemistry and with such displacement, the offense generally has issues mustering consistent drives.
With most of the first-team line healthy (save Shugarts possibly), the playing field should be more even.
More importantly, the format of the game will create a much more realistic, dare I say holistic, view of the team.
The first team offense versus the first team defense will give fans a chance to see legitimate match-ups, and gauge the talent on the field more accurately.
Instead of seeing Boom Herron and Rod Smith truck some fourth-string walk-on, you get to see them go toe-to-toe with Sabino and Sweat to see who wins.
Now, of course, there are some drawbacks. The spring draft offers a bevy of information to fans as to who the players deem to be the most valuable on their team. Additionally, it is always fun for the players (and the coaches for that matter) to reel off typical NFL draft mantra while the selections are made.
Another downside is the situational aspect of the scrimmage. No fan wants to see the offense backed up on its 1 yard line, which has been generally accompanied with 3 QB sneaks or safe hand-offs this spring.
Furthermore, they do not want to see the offense given the ball deep in the defenses territory, which more often than not has led to routine field goals for Basil.
Fans need to cross their fingers and hope for a few things.
First, that the rain holds off. The day will be persistently muggy, but rain could really ruin the fun.
Second, hope that the coaches will give the offense a chance to show their stuff and put some drives together. On this note, fans have cause for optimism, as the coaches have usually given the offense plenty of legitimate chances to show their stuff in scrimmages so far this spring.
Third, hope there are no injuries. These guys have been flying around like it was Beat Michigan Week the last two Saturdays, and hopefully we can stay healthy through one more go.
In the end, this game should be a treat for fans. It will be the only time fans will have get to see the first team offense versus the first team defense. The guys really go at it and have a lot of pride at stake here.
Most of all, these guys have the scarlet jerseys at stake, a tradition upheld that should sate any fans craving for competition.