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Five for Friday: What to Watch for in Ohio State's Spring Game
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — Ohio State's Spring Game is this Saturday at 1:30 pm. Tickets are still available and the weather for kickoff is looking like 72 degrees and sunny. In other words, it should be a perfect afternoon to watch some football.

If it is more perfect in your living room than that, you can also catch all of the festivities on the Big Ten Network.

While you are enjoying the weather — or having a nice cross breeze blowing by you as you are affixed to the butt grooves in your couch — there will be plenty of interesting things to keep your eye on during the game. In the interest of brevity, let's go ahead and take a look at five (or so) such things for which to watch.

1. The Young Receivers
When Urban Meyer is asked about what he's looking forward to watching on Saturday, this is generally his first answer, and for good reason. The Buckeyes have some young receivers that they are going to be counting on this season, and this will be the first chance for redshirt freshmen Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin to show what they can do in front of a very large crowd. Both players have shown flashes this spring and are growing more consistent by the day. The other receiver to watch is sophomore Noah Brown, who played last year, albeit mostly as a blocker. This year he is already penciled in as a starter and you'll probably get to see him involved in the deep game a time or two on Saturday. Oh, and Curtis Samuel for a little bit as well.

2. The Young Linebackers
This is another popular answer for Urban Meyer, who is looking forward to seeing Dante Booker and Nick Conner running around for an entire game. Booker is a sophomore Will, who got a bunch of snaps this spring while starter Joshua Perry watched and mentored. Conner is a true freshman middle linebacker who is looking to get into the two deep. There is also sophomore middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who many consider to be the Next Big Thing at Ohio State, and they might be right. McMillan is an every-down linebacker who can do whatever a defense needs done. How much will he play? Probably not too much, but you're still looking forward to watching him, aren't you?

3. The Young Defensive Ends
If you haven't noticed a pattern yet, there will be a lot of youth on display on Saturday. Urban Meyer will play the starters for about two series, and then you might need your program the rest of the way. Second-year players Sam Hubbard, Jalyn Holmes and Darius Slade have had plenty of moments this spring. Perhaps the only player talked about as much as Noah Brown this spring has been Hubbard, who is always on the verge of being praised by Meyer. There is also true freshman Jashon Cornell, who will certainly see a ton of time. Given the way the offensive lines will be split up, and the quick whistles when it comes to the quarterbacks, it would not be a surprise to see one of these guys come away with three or four sacks.

4. Cornerback Gareon Conley
We'll have a story on Gareon Conley pretty soon talking about his rough outing at Michigan State last season and how that really hindered his confidence for much of the year. Now, however, the confidence is there and he has played very well this spring. He is bigger and stronger — he came to Ohio State at 168 pounds and is now checking in at 190. He is the fastest cornerback on the team and has very good length. Now he has some of the necessary strength to keep from getting pushed around, and it has shown this spring. There are plenty of fans out there whose only memory of Conley is that MSU game, but he would not be the first Buckeye cornerback to have a rough outing as a youngster. Nor the last.

5. Quarterbacks Cardale Jones and Stephen Collier
I've ignored Cardale Jones for as long as I can. I know that's what most people are looking forward to watching. All I will say about the quarterbacks is that they may not look as good as you remembered because they're not going to be getting the same level of protection as they're used to. Perhaps Jones will be given the first unit offensive line — or as much of the first unit that will even be playing, and Stephen Collier will be given the remainder. Just remember, like in math, the remainders on the offensive line don't always equal out to a whole. Still, you'll get to watch Jones throw the ball downfield a couple of times, as well as check down into the slot. What you won't see, however, is him taking off down the middle of the field and running over a safety.

Bonus: Running Back Bri'onte Dunn
There won't be a ton of running the ball on Saturday, but go ahead and keep your eye on Bri'onte Dunn anyway because he's had a solid spring as, essentially, the No. 1 running back on the depth chart.

Bonus: The Defensive Tackles
Tommy Schutt has had his best spring ever, and redshirt sophomores Mike Hill, Donovan Munger and Tracy Sprinkle have been impressive at times this spring. The young tackles will play a bunch and will have opportunities to make plays.

Bonus: Safeties Erick Smith and Cam Burrows
Erick Smith and Cam Burrows are the backup safeties, but they'll be starters in this one. Smith is a playmaker with a knack for the ball, and Burrows will be attempting to get 2015 off to a good start with a solid performance on Saturday.

Bonus: Cornerback Damon Webb
Webb is the No. 2 nickel back behind Cam Burrows, so there's a pretty good chance that he is going to be all over the football field. I didn't set out to make any predictions while writing this, but put me down for two picks by Webb.

Bonus: Offensive Tackles Chase Farris and Jamarco Jones
Chase Farris won the job at right tackle, but Jamarco Jones has gotten just about as many reps as Farris over at left tackle while Taylor Decker takes it easy. Take a good long look at Jones against some very fast and quick defensive ends in this one.

Bonus: Tight End Marcus Baugh
I'm not sure if anybody loves spring as much as Marcus Baugh, because this has been where he has shined the last two years. He makes big plays, but it has always been the little plays that have keep him off the field. That has to change this year.

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