Skull Session: Urban Meyer's Love for Ohio State, Dwayne Haskins Cool Under Pressure, and Mike Thomas' Hot Start

By Kevin Harrish on September 18, 2018 at 4:59 am
Mike Weber celebrates with Brutus in today's Skull Session.
Ohio State Athletics

Urban Meyer is officially back, and he was so eager to return, he was actually four minutes early for his weekly press conference.

Four. Minutes. Early.


Word of the Day: Pecksniffian.

 FOR THE LOVE OF OHIO. Urban Meyer has never hidden his love for this university. He's very open about his childhood memories watching Buckeye football, growing up in the state of Ohio, and his master's degree from Ohio State.

But after this whole saga, many questioned whether or not he'd still have the motivation to keep coaching much longer. Meyer more or less put that to bed with his statements on Monday.

From Bill Landis of

It would take a lot to shake the relationship Meyer has with Ohio State.

Yet some wondered if the suspension the university handed him on Aug. 22 for his mishandling of former assistant coach Zach Smith was enough to break the bond. They wondered if Meyer felt unsupported by the university he loved, and if that could have an impact on how long he sticks around.

Meyer addressed that on Monday in his first news conference since his suspension ended.

"I have a great relationship with our president, (with athletic director) Gene Smith. I'm as close to Gene Smith as anybody," Meyer said. "And this to me has never been a job. You know, when I took a year off, I wasn't planning on coming back coaching football. I was asked by Gene and the president at the time, Ohio State was going through a hard time. Part of my family didn't want me to coach again. And I came back because of my sincere love for the state. I grew up here. I played high school football here. Played college football here. I love this school. I have a master's degree from Ohio State. My love is unwavering for Ohio State. Even more so now."

I've never thought Meyer would coach anywhere near as long as someone like Woody Hayes, or even Nick Saban – who's 12 years older than Meyer. But recently I've been thinking, what else would he do?

I think he's just tuned to it. It's as much of his life as it is breathing at this point, and he seems to be balancing it well with his family. He could still be doing it for a long time.

 COOL UNDER PRESSURE. One of the biggest questions heading into Ohio State's matchup against TCU was how Dwayne Haskins would handle being blitzed and having to make plays from a dirty pocket.

Folks, he passed the test.

Haskins was money all day on Saturday night, and honestly, his numbers would have looked even better if not for a few big drops, one of which would have been a touchdown.

Regardless, his performance was still good enough to earn him National Player of the Week honors from CBS Sports.


Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State: The first-year starter showed off his impressive arm talent in the Buckeyes' 40-28 win over TCU in Arlington. Haskins' first deep pass to Austin Mack for 48 yards was a preview of what was to come. Haskins threw for 344 yards -- with a few drops -- and scored three total touchdowns in the statement win of Week 3.

And he scored on a quarterback keeper! I know Urban was elated watching from home.

 MAKE THEM KNOW YOUR NAME. Denzel Ward's father never got to see his son become one of the most dominant players in college football, get selected in the top-five of the NFL Draft or snag two interceptions in his rookie debut.

But Ward knows his father would be proud of him, not just for his accomplishments on the field, but for the man he's become.

Ward wrote a piece for the Players Tribune, opening up about the shock of his father's sudden death, and more importantly, his lasting impact on him today.

Make them know your name.

That’s what I was thinking on draft night as I was walking from the green room to the stage after the Browns had taken me with the fourth pick — after the commissioner had called my name.

My name.

Denzel Ward.

I think my dad would have been proud — probably as proud as he’d ever been. But I’m telling you … when they named that street after him? That would have been a great moment for him. Because he was never concerned with being the best father he could be. Or the best husband he could be. Or the best teacher he could be. He wanted to be the best man he could be. And he believed that if he did that — if he concentrated on that every day, every minute, every second — then everything else would take care of itself.

And that’s what dedicating that street to him represented. That he made a real impact. That he was a great man.

He had made everybody know his name.

I can't imagine life without my father. I can't imagine growing up without him. I can't imagine going through college without him. I can't imagine transitioning to real life without him.

I know he's not going to read this – my family is sane, and thus, does not read my work regularly – but my dad has shaped so much of who I am, teaching me to be fearless when there's no real reason for optimism, take risks I have no business taking and try things I'm grossly unqualified to do.

My dad has always been there for me, and has always been willing to bend over backwards for anything I need, even when I have a knack for getting myself into unfortunate circumstances. 

I feel for Ward, and everyone else who doesn't have that anymore. If you do, don't take it for granted.

 NO RECORD IS SAFE. So we're just two weeks into his third year and I think it's time to start seriously considering whether or not Michael Thomas is the best wide receiver in the league.


Thomas had record-setting performances in each of his first two seasons. Along the way, it became clear that teams letting Thomas fall to the second round was a ridiculous error in scouting because he's easily one of the 10 best receivers in the NFL.

So far this season, though, it looks like Thomas might be the best receiver in the NFL. Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins could all make a case, but Thomas has taken his game to a new level through the first two games of 2018.

In Week 1, Thomas had 16 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown. The 16 receptions were a Saints franchise record, and Thomas set the record for most catches by an NFL player in Week 1.

On Sunday, in Week 2, Thomas added 12 catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns. His 28 catches through two games are the most in NFL history, breaking Andre Rison's record of 26 from 2004 with the Atlanta Falcons.

28 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins ain't touching those numbers.

No receiver has ever had over 2,000 receiving yards in a season – Thomas is on pace for 2,152. The NFL record for receptions in a single season is 142 – Thomas is on pace for 224.

I know this pace is absolutely unsustainable and those numbers are extreme extrapolations. He's going to slow down and come back to earth a bit, but he's just looks absolutely unguardable and I wouldn't be shocked to see him make a run at either of those records.

 AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE. Speaking of impressive starts to NFL careers, Cameron Johnston is out there in Philly absolutely blasting pummeling some punts.

To be honest, I'm disappointed it's not a 60.0 average. He's slouching.

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