Dienhart: 5 things I learned in Ohio State spring game

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: 5 things I learned in Ohio State spring game

B1G HIGHLIGHT - Jerome Baker makes a highlight interception in Ohio State's spring game.

Ohio State has a lot of holes to fill as it heads into 2016. That made Saturday’s spring game in front of spring game record 101,189 fans interesting. It actually carried some heft.

[ MORE: Watch replay of the Ohio State spring game on BTN2Go ]

Here are five things I learned about the Buckeyes on Saturday.

1. The secondary could be good. Three new starters are needed with Eli Apple, Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell gone. Malik Hooker looked good, picking off a J.T. Barrett pass and racing 82 yards for a TD. Hooker also intercepted an offering from Stephen Collier. Jerome Barker also picked off a pass, making a nice one-handed spear of a Joe Burrow pass. There is plenty of athletic ability and options for the staff to build a good secondary.

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2. Joe Burrow looked solid in a bid to be the backup for J.T. Barrett. Burrow hit 14-of-23 passes for 196 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. He also ripped off a 31-yard jaunt. Burrow will battle incoming freshman Dwayne Haskins in August. Should be good.

“Said the last two weeks were pretty good,” Urban Meyer said. “I think he played okay, too, in the game. I haven’t got to see it, but he took the team down the field and drove the ball. Joe Burrow has been coming on. He was a guy that last year I had my concerns last season, just arm strength to release, twitch, ability to run the ball, because you have to do that. He’s gotten better and better. He’s a grinder. He comes from a really good family, that’s tough people, and you can see him start to go grow.”

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3. The wideouts could be formidable. It was fun to see Torrance Gibson flash the skills many knew he possessed. He arrived on campus as a quarterback but has made the transition to wideout. Gibson finished with six grabs for 50 yards and two touchdowns. Can he be a deep threat with Michael Thomas and Braxton Miller gone?

“(Gibson) Got a long way to go,” said Meyer. “I hope so. It’s a freak! But he’s gotta go get the ball. He’s 6-4, whatever he is, and he’s got a 35-inch vertical jump, and we’re going to teach him how to use that thing. He’s a very good young man; he’s trying really hard.”

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4. The running back spot is a work in progress. Bri’onte Dunn is expected by some to replace Ezekiel Elliott as the starter, but he didn’t play on Saturday. That allowed extended work for redshirt freshman Mike Weber and true freshman Antonio Williams. Weber had eight totes for 38 yards and two touchdowns. He could be a special player.

“I think (Weber) played really good, on purpose,” said Meyer. “We didn’t pound people today. It was more of a throw offense, but the one drive — I kept calling the plays, saying we’re just going — I want to see what him do what he can do, and Carlos Hyde was there, so — they were starting to compare them to Carlos Hyde, easy now. He hasn’t reached that level yet.”

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5. The defensive line should be OK. Yes, just one starter is back in Jalyn Holmes, as talent like Joey Bosa, Tommy Schutt and Adolphus Washington is gone. But Davon Hamilton had two sacks and Jason Cornell also had a pair.

“I liked our defensive line. Mike Hill, Dre’Mont Jones was all over the field today, Jashon Cornell played well,” Meyer said. “I think Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard played well. Tyquan Lewis didn’t play, so you have to pick up the pieces of what left the program.”

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Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

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