On Saturday, the Ohio State football team will close out spring practice without holding its annual Scarlet and Gray game.
Instead, the team is forced to finish spring practice with a jersey scrimmage featuring the Buckeye offense facing the Buckeye defense because of injuries and a lack of depth, especially along the offensive line.
Junior defensive lineman John Simon said the change will make the players much more competitive.
“The scrimmage gives us a lot more competition and a lot more leeway on plays we can run and things of that sort,” Simon said. “You’ll just see a lot more guys fired up and ready to be out there. There will be some battles.”
In past years, the Scarlet and Gray game was preceded by a draft to determine how the players would be split. The seniors were the team captains each year, and drafted players onto each side.
Senior center Mike Brewster said he was disappointed he could not participate in this tradition.
“It would have been fun,” Brewster said. “But you gotta do what you gotta do.”
OSU coach Jim Tressel hinted at the idea of a jersey scrimmage at a press conference on March 30. He said numbers were an issue, but also noted that teams were sometimes unfair.
“Sometimes when you draft up teams, there are some mismatches in situations,” Tressel said.
Saturday’s jersey scrimmage involves a complicated scoring system that gives the defense points for events such as turnovers, sacks and punts, and the offense gets points for touchdowns, first downs and field goals on offense.
Brewster said the new rules could make the game more exciting for the fans.
“It will be something different, and I think the fans will get to see a little more ones versus ones which will be cool,” Brewster said. “They’re not really used to seeing that, everyone’s usually mixed together.”
Tressel said the players had been looking for a change to the spring finale.
“Because of some of our offseason meetings and conferences and surveys with our players,” Tressel said, “one of the things that they talked about in how to get better in the spring is to have a more competitive spring game.”
Simon said the decision to make it a jersey scrimmage was not up to the players.
“Whatever coach says, goes,” he said.