Skull Session: TCU to Load the Box, Coach-in-Waiting Options For Ryan Day, and the Move to Jerry World

By Kevin Harrish on September 13, 2018 at 4:59 am
Thayer Munford and Parris Campbell are happy to be in today's skull session.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

As I look at the weather maps this week, I feel extremely blessed that Ohio State is playing its football game inside a dome in central Texas on Saturday.


Word of the Day: Logomachy.

 LET HASKINS SLING IT. If history is any indicator, Gary Patterson is going to try to shut down the run and make the Buckeyes beat him through the air with a young quarterback.

"One-on-one opportunities on the outside" and "Gary Patterson wants to stop the run" are not things I would have been optimistic hearing the past two seasons. But after watching Dwayne Haskins and co. the first two weeks, that sounds like music to my ears.

The best part is, that's the right move defensively. I mean, what else is he going to do, drop back and get gutted by an endless barrage of alternating Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins punches?

 HEAD COACH IN WAITING? With how stellar Ryan Day's interim stint has gone so far, it's difficult to imagine he'll spend much more time as Ohio State's offensive coordinator after this season, especially since he already turned down multiple high-level offers last season.

But there could be an option to keep Day in Columbus that could mirror a successful situation that just took place at Oklahoma with Lincoln Riley taking over for Bob Stoops: naming Day head coach in waiting.

From Barton Simmons of

For one, the decision to tap Day for the interim role appeared to be an obvious move for the Ohio State administration despite several other highly qualified coaches on staff with more seniority and experience. Day got the nod at only 39-years old and without any head coaching experience.

He's universally respected in both the college and the NFL game. He was reportedly a primary target for Mike Vrabel's offensive coordinator spot at the Tennessee Titans, but opted to stay in Columbus after being given more control over the Buckeyes' offensive unit.

Like Stoops, Meyer was at the top of his game. Unlike Stoops, his leave of absence was involuntary and the circumstances surrounding it are likely to leave some level of tarnish to his legacy and perhaps even his recruiting prowess. Like Stoops, his predecessor is thriving in his absence.

Obviously, the whole head coach in waiting thing has had a mixed bag of results.

It was a famous disaster at Texas when Will Muschamp ultimately left for Florida before ever taking over at Texas, and didn't work out too well at schools like Maryland, West Virginia, Purdue or Kentucky. But it eventually worked out at Florida State and went swimmingly at Oregon and most recently Oklahoma.

I'm not sure how it would work at Ohio State, but I might be willing to give it a try if it means hanging on to Day a few more seasons.

 THE MOVE TO JERRY WORLD. Saturday's matchup was supposed to be the first of a home-and-home series between TCU and Ohio State, bringing a heavy-weight fight to raucous crowds on both campuses.

But now that ain't happening. And it's a shame.

From Mac Engel of the Star-Telegram:

The biggest dividing line between the appeal of college football from pro football is the atmosphere, and as we all saw in Clemson’s win vs. the Aggies at Kyle Field, nothing tops the scene or feel of a game on campus.

TCU had the chance to make Saturday all about Fort Worth, its campus, its stadium, its brand, its fans, and its atmosphere. Instead, it made a business decision that while it’s not unique to TCU, hurts college football.

Engel then gave an inside look at how that decision came about, from TCU's perspective.

Basically, Gary Patterson never really wanted to play Ohio State in the first place, responding “So you don’t want me to win a national championship?” when approached with the issue, according to Engel, but ultimately agreed thinking it would be a helpful addition to a non-Power Five conference slate.

TCU's feelings towards the matchup soured even more when the Horned Frogs moved to the Big XII instead of the Big East, then watched Ohio State leapfrog both them and Baylor to make the title game.

Shortly after winning the Peach Bowl, Patterson and Del Conte agreed that its business plan had to change, and specifically the need to alter the home-and-home with the Buckeyes.


Patterson follows the Bill Snyder plan that he established to transform Kansas State from the worst program in the nation into what was, for a prolonged period of time, a contending program.

Patterson knows that while fans clamor for Big vs. Big matchups earlier in September, what they really want is a 10-win team in December that can qualify for a nice postseason game, and, more importantly, keep both he and his staff employed with those bonuses rolling in.

So now we get one matchup in a stale, oversized venue on neither campus. But at least both schools were compensated $5 million!

 SOMETHING TO PROVE? Joe Burrow and Jamel Dean enrolled at Ohio State as part of the school's 2015 recruiting class. Three years later, they're playing each other as starters on different top-25 teams.

It was never the original plan, but for Dean, at least, he sees his success as an opportunity to show Ohio State what could have been if he were not medically disqualified.


Both Dean and Burrow originally signed with Ohio State out of high school. Dean, a former four-star cornerback, signed with the Buckeyes in 2015 but was medically disqualified by the program and ultimately transferred and landed at Auburn. Burrow, a former four-star quarterback, was also in the Buckeyes' 2015 class and stuck around with the program for three seasons -- the last two as a backup with minimal game experience -- before landing at LSU this summer as a graduate transfer.

"I'm pretty sure, if he felt like how I felt, he'll probably have a chip on his shoulder, and he probably wants to prove to Ohio State why he should've been there playing," Dean said.

On Saturday, their paths will again cross, this time at Jordan-Hare Stadium when No. 7 Auburn (2-0) hosts No. 12 LSU (2-0) at 2:30 p.m. on CBS in the teams' SEC opener.

I think the broader story here is the sheer number of players leaving Ohio State and quickly finding success with other top teams. It speaks to the Buckeyes' depth and the staff's ability to evaluate talent.

This year, you have Burrow, Dean, Darius Slade, Antonio Williams and Trevon Grimes all shining for their new teams.

Transferring from Ohio State used to feel like a death sentence, and you never expected to hear from those players again. Now, Saturday highlights are full of former Buckeyes.

 CELEBRATING TOO HARD. Georgia State scored just one touchdown in a blowout loss to NC State this weekend, but head coach Shawn Elliott gave the one touchdown celebration everything he had.


Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott says he suffered a torn right biceps while celebrating a touchdown during last week's loss to NC State.

The Panthers scored the first touchdown of a 41-7 loss on an 8-yard Destin Coates run in the first quarter. Elliott said a fist bump during the ensuing celebration caused the injury.

This got me thinking, if this is possible, it's amazing Kerry Coombs didn't injure himself celebrating on the sideline during his time in Columbus. That dude held nothing back. Ever.

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