Saturday’s football scrimmage represents the culmination of what Jim Tressel said has been a positive spring, he told the media during the annual Ohio State football coaches clinic on Friday.
“Through 13 practices this has been as an attentive and a positive spring as I’ve ever been around,” Tressel said.
Because many starting positions are up for grabs, he said, everyone feels they have a chance to earn playing time.
“A lot of guys haven’t been in games and this is opportunity,” Tressel said.
Tressel said quarterback Terrelle Pryor and the four other players suspended for the first five games of next season for receiving improper benefits have only helped to facilitate the high level of play and competition this spring. Tressel will join the five suspended players for not properly reporting their infractions.
“Some of the guys that don’t get to play early in the year are making sure that those young guys are working so that we have as good a team as we can possibly have,” Tressel said. “I think all the oars are in the water.”
But water, or more specifically rain, is exactly what Tressel said he is worried about for Saturday’s scrimmage.
“I just hope we don’t have a monsoon here on Saturday,” Tressel said.
The team will play in the rain, but Tressel said he won’t take any chances with lightning.
“I’m tough,” Tressel said, “but I ain’t as tough as lightning.”
In the event of lightning, Tressel said the scrimmage would not be continued indoors and the team would proceed to its scheduled picnic.
As for whom to watch on Saturday, Tressel mentioned one sleeper most people might not have expected.
“As for a dark horse,” he said, “let me throw Verlon Reed.”
The scrimmage will be in a different format this year, and will instead pit the offense against the defense and use a scoring system that can crown one unit victorious against the other. The new format, Tressel said, was the players’ idea.
“They wanted to see how good the offense would be against the defense on the last day of spring,” Tressel said. “I thought it was a good idea.”
The Jesse Owens Spring Game will take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium.