The Ohio State Buckeyes are coming to Cincinnati.
Because of renovations at Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes are playing their spring football game Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. A late publicity push included Urban Meyer, assistant coach Kerry Coombs and players from the area speaking to the media Wednesday evening. Meyer has also done a handful of radio interviews.
Last week, Ohio State announced that more that 26,000 tickets had been sold. If the weather cooperates and people realize the game isn’t on live television this year, a crowd of more than 50,000 is possible (and probably even likely).
Even though Cincinnati isn’t traditionally a big Buckeye city, Meyer has generated a far-reaching buzz. With 12 wins and no losses last season, expectations and the excitement level are through the roof.
“Coming to Cincinnati is great for Ohio State,” said Meyer, who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1986. “This was (athletic director) Gene Smith’s idea and I’m all for it. We’re going to bus down, go to the Reds museum, eat at Montgomery Inn (afterwards). We’re going to do it right.”
“We’re really looking forward to it.”
Teams will be drafted for the game on Thursday. Almost all of the Buckeyes the average fan would recognize should be playing except cornerback Bradley Roby, who’s battling a shoulder injury. The spring game is for the young guys, anyway; last year, Meyer held John Simon out.
Meyer said Braxton Miller and backup Kenny Guiton will play but will wear black no-contact jerseys. When sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones gets in, he’ll be full go. He’s not the only one Meyer wants to see in a full-speed, full-go environment.
Meyer always believes in using spring to install, tinker and set a depth chart. When camp opens in August, his focus is fully on the games ahead. These Buckeyes will have had four weeks of practice to make impressions and get to use Saturday to make final — and lasting — ones.
“The offense has nine returning starters but we still have young guys who need a ton of reps,” Meyer said. “On defense, it’s really a whole new front seven. Every year is different. Last year we were just trying to install. This year we’re trying to develop an identity and leaders, especially on defense.”
Meyer said sophomore defensive lineman Adolphus Washington, a Cincinnati native, “dominated the practice field” on Wednesday as part of an impressive — and important — spring.
Battles that have gone on through the spring and should go on through at least the first part of August are at wide receiver right tackle, linebacker, defensive line and for touches in a crowded offensive backfield. With an experienced secondary coming back, young players there especially need to capitalize on the chances Saturday’s spring game brings.
The game starts at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets are $12 and can be purchased on OhioStateBuckeyes.com or via TicketMaster. On Saturday, tickets will be sold at the north ticket office at Paul Brown Stadium.