Skull Session: Ohio State Prepares for Cut Blocks, Receivers Struggling on Contested Balls, and Top Four Important Stats vs. Army

By D.J. Byrnes on September 15, 2017 at 4:59 am
Dwayne Haskins supplants J.T. Barrett for the September 15 2017 Skull Session
The Dwayne Train

Went to the dry cleaners for the first time in my life yesterday.

They said, "You can pick this up Tuesday."

I said, "Huh?"

Picking up my comforter after 4 p.m.

Tuesday might as well be 2046 in the life I lead.


Word of the Day: Protean.

 PRAY FOR THE KNEES. The Service Academies are the teams Americans love to know. Their players will one day defend this great country of ours. This is not disputed.

Unfortunately for Ohio State's defense, playing Army means defending the triple option, which means blockers diving at their thighs and knees.

The Buckeyes will be prepared.

From the Ohio State beat G.O.A.T., Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch:

“It’s a different kind of rugged,” Worley said. “It’s not like the team up north (Michigan) where they’re running it right down (the throat), power football, and with guards pulling downhill. It’s not necessarily that kind of feel.

“But it is a rugged game, with all the cut blocks and all the eye candy they do, with slots and wings motioning and running across your face, all the triple-option stuff. ... But you’ve got to man up to it.”

It’s as much a mental exercise as physical, because defenders — from linemen to defensive backs — can’t forget that the first Army man they encounter on a play is likely going to dip a shoulder and take aim at the outside lower thigh in an attempt to knock the defender’s legs from beneath him. A defender caught looking at Army quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw is rolling the dice.

I always hope for an injury free contest, but I will double my FourLoko offerings to the Football Gods on Saturday morning in hopes of protecting the ACLs and other lower-body ligaments of the local team.

The defense is in no position to lose starters at the moment.

 WRs DOING J.T. NO FAVORS. Despite Urban Meyer claiming he has six equal receivers, I'm not sure he has more than two. Maybe three.

And while most of the heat has fallen on J.T. Barrett (who is not blameless), his receivers have not helped him out on contested balls.

To be fair, the 2017 receivers have yet to play a full season and those 2016 and 2015 numbers include games against cupcakes.

Still, is anyone confident the 2017 numbers will surpass 44.6% or 40.6%? Because I'm not.

 STATS TO WATCH. Meyer said yesterday on his call-in show Ohio State can't waste a single possession against Army. Last week against Buffalo, the Black Knights held the Bulls to 40 plays in a 21-17 win.

So this will be a unique game.

Here are some stats to watch from

The 4 most important stats

  • Offensive passing success rate. This will be permanently on the list until the Buckeyes fix their passing game as a whole.
  • J.K. Dobbins’ rushing opportunity rate. Again, not necessarily important for just beating Army, but this will be critical down the line for Ohio State’s offense to maintain its efficiency.
  • Offensive redzone touchdown percentage. So far Ohio State has performed about average for the past two years, but Army’s defense has been solid closer to their own end zone.
  • Defensive redzone touchdown percentage. Ohio State has been a little underwhelming in the red zone, while Army ranks 18th in maximizing scoring opportunities.

If Army bullies Ohio State in the red zone, Twitter will require intervention from the United Nations. (This would not separate it from any other day, to be honest.)

 JACKSON TALKS BEEF. The local team lost Saturday, which means civil war on Ohio State Twitter.

One of the more prominent beefs pits Kirk Herbstreit against 2018 five-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman. 

Carman spoke about the beef yesterday.

My #take:

Yeah, you're damn right I prefer the Disturbed remix over the Simon & Garfunkel original.

 SABAN IS GOOD AGAIN. Cranky Saban is the best Saban.

Wise words for anyone (including me) looking for Meyer to divulge what exactly he'll change in his offense. He may not change anything, but if he does, we shouldn't expect him to detail it to the media.

 THOSE WMDs. The problem for the world's most expensive spice... From prison to Ph.D: The redemption and rejection of Michelle Jones... The oldest restaurant in Kabul: Where tradition trumps rockets... The first ever sketch of Wonder Woman... Mom admits to hiring hitman.

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