Scarlet & Gray: Who Has the Edge?
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS — Saturday’s Spring Game might look like a friendly battle between teammates, but it is a battle all the same. The players might be as close as family, but there will be no brotherly love lost when the two teams take the field at Ohio Stadium two days from now as the Scarlet and Gray squads compete for pride and glory.
The competition got going Wednesday with the annual spring game draft at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. They’re all Buckeyes, but how does Taver Johnson’s Scarlet team stack up against John Peterson’s Gray Squad?
Photo by Dan Harker
(Scarlet: Pryor, Bauserman vs. Gray: Guiton, Siems)
The quarterback position was always going to be a runaway for whoever ended up with Terrelle Pryor. That’s just the nature of the position. There can only be one ‘guy’ under center, and that guy happens to be a potential Heisman Trophy candidate. The Scarlet team locked up Pryor with the first overall pick and also ended up with second-string quarterback Joe Bauserman after the Gray team elected to go with redshirt freshman Kenny Guiton. Exactly how big the edge is depends how much Pryor plays and how restricted he is.
(Scarlet: J.Hall, J.Martin, DeLande vs. Gray: Saine, Herron, Hyde, Berry)
The tailback position is an interesting one because of the depth of talent, but also the injuries at the position. With Brandon Saine and Boom Herron, the Gray team would appear to have a significant edge but let’s not forget that Saine and Carlos Hyde both missed the jersey scrimmage last week while Jaamal Berry left with an ankle injury. None of them are listed as out for the spring game, but it will be interesting to see how much each of them plays. The same goes for Jordan Hall, who injured his shoulder during practice.
(Scarlet: A.Homan, Georgiades vs. Gray: Z.Boren)
This is a close one because the Scarlet team has two guys to the Gray’s one, but Adam Homan and James Georgiades together don’t quiet equal what Zack Boren brings to the position.
Photo by Jim Davidson
WIDE RECEIVER: Gray*
(Scarlet: Sanzenbacher, Fields, Schwartz, J.Jackson vs. Gray: Posey, Washington, Crawford)
Another close one, Gray gets the nod at receiver for having two of Ohio State’s top three wideouts this spring in DeVier Posey and Taurian Washington. The Scarlet squad is much deeper, led by Dane Sanzenbacher, Chris Fields and Grant Schwartz, but Posey is far and away the biggest play-maker in the group, which pushes Gray over the top.
TIGHT END: Scarlet**
(Scarlet: Stoneburner, S.Smith vs. Gray: Fragel, DiLillo)
Like quarterback, getting the top guy at tight end ensures the Scarlet will have the edge come Saturday. He didn’t get a chance to shine in the jersey scrimmage, but a lot of eyes will be on Jake Stoneburner in the spring game as he teams with Pryor. The Gray team might actually benefit from having a better blocking tight end in Reid Fragel since they won’t have Pryor throwing the ball.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Gray**
(Scarlet: Adams, C.Smith, Linsley, Browning, M.Hall vs. Gray: Miller, Boren, Brewster, Mewhort, Shugarts)
Both lines look solid on paper but both lines also appear to have some depth issues. The Scarlet team has a formidable right side with Bryant Browning and Marcus Hall, a pair of Glenville products, but the Gray line is solid across the board. Even if we call the two tackle spots a push, the Gray team has a massive advantage at left guard and center where they feature returning starters Justin Boren and Michael Brewster, possibly the two best offensive linemen on the team. Compare that to the Scarlet team which features seldom-used senior Connor Smith and redshirt freshman Corey Linsley. The Scarlet team has the advantage at right guard with Browning over Jack Mewhort.
Photo by Jim Davidson
DEFENSIVE LINE: Scarlet**
(Scarlet: Heyward, Simon, S.Thomas, Bellamy, K.Wells vs. Gray: Larimore, N.Williams, Fellows, Goebel)
The Gray would appear to have a solid front four with Nathan Williams and Melvin Fellows on the outside and Dexter Larimore and Garrett Goebel inside, but they simply can’t match the firepower of the Scarlet line. Along with Cam Heyward, who might be the best, or at least most important, player on the team, the Scarlet squad also used the top pick at defensive tackle to snag John Simon. Add Solomon Thomas, Adam Bellamy and Keith Wells to the mix and the Scarlet group has a two-star advantage.
(Scarlet: R.Homan, Klein, Newsome, D.Bell vs. Gray: Rolle, Sabino, Whiting, T.Jackson)
First instinct would say the Gray team has the edge considering they feature two of the three likely starters (Brian Rolle and Etienne Sabino), but the Scarlet team is deeper and also feature the team’s best linebacker in Ross Homan. They also feature three bright up and coming linebackers from the class of 2009 in Storm Klein, Dorian Bell and Jonathan Newsome. Meanwhile the Gray team will have to start either Jordan Whiting or walk-on Tony Jackson.
(Scarlet: Torrence, Evege, O.Johnson, Barnett vs. Gray: Chekwa, Clarke, C.Brown, Hines, Oliver)
If Chimdi Chekwa is good to go, this becomes a lot tighter competition at defensive back, but Chekwa has been out all spring with a hip injury. He has been cleared by the medical staff, but he hasn’t been out there enough this spring to think he will see much time Saturday. Even if he does play, the Scarlet team has a solid starting four that includes two likely starters in Devon Torrence and Orhian Johnson along with a pair of key backups in Donnie Evege and C.J. Barnett.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Scarlet***
(Scarlet: Buchanan, Barclay vs. Gray: Basil, Erwin)
It was somewhat shocking the two squads waited so long to draft Ben Buchanan considering all the different things he can do along with who the backup punter is. The Scarlet team already had Devin Barclay, which gives them a huge advantage in the kicking game despite the fact freshman Drew Basil can really boom it.
* Number of stars represents size of advantage
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