Skull Session: Penn State's Fourth Down Play Call, Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow Dominate, Penn State's Creative Use of Helicopters

By Kevin Harrish on October 2, 2018 at 4:59 am
Greg Schiano coaches the boys in today's skull session.

We begin today with some bad news for our enemies: Nick Bosa is already rehabbing, and looking mobile just a week after his surgery.


Word of the Day: Asperity.

 PLAY CALL, EXPLAINED. If you were like the the rest of football-watching America, Penn State's fourth-down play call probably perplexed the hell out of you. Thankfully, offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne explained his thought process to everyone on Monday.


“I was upset with (the play call) because there was a particular thing that I should have foreseen and I didn’t,” Rahne told The Associated Press. “I should have foreseen one other thing, and I didn’t. That made it a little bit more difficult than I thought it was going to be.”


Rahne said Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was using a defensive front the Buckeyes normally use to rush the passer on the final play. Rahne said that while the inside-zone run did not have a lot of success overall against the Buckeyes, it did against those types of defensive fronts. Rahne recalled two similar long-yardage downs when Sanders picked up good gains, including 12 yards on a third-and-13 in the third quarter.

“So that was the thought process that went into it,” said Rahne said. “I felt like we had a good chance to run the ball and split it right up the hash. I went back and watched the tape. Is there a possibility for that? Yeah, maybe, but ultimately I didn’t give our guys the best chance to succeed.”

Rahne would not say specifically what Ohio State did that he failed to anticipate.

If there's one thing you need to know about me, it's that my opinions are always subject to change based on new information and thoughtful consideration.

Folks, I need to announce an opinion change.

I no longer think this was an atrocious play call, I just think Ohio State defensive play call was better, and so was the execution.

From how Urban Meyer and Dre'Mont Jones spoke of the play, it sounds like the Buckeyes knew exactly what was coming, and they handled it perfectly.

That's the ball game.

They knew Penn State was running a zone read, so they overloaded the read side to confuse the offensive line and make the read more difficult, ensuring that Trace McSorley had to hand the ball off.

From there, Jashon Cornell ate the right guard, and Chase Young got inside before the Nittany Lions even completed the handoff. There was never any space inside, and the play was over before it really started.

“On that play, I lost my one-on-one battle with Coach Schiano,” Rahne told the Associated Press.

 TURNS OUT, THEY'RE BOTH GOOD. I remember when the talk of the spring was which quarterback would lead the Buckeyes to the promised land this fall.

Five games into the season, it's looking more and more like Ohio State was choosing between two of the best quarterbacks in the country. 

Both Haskins and Burrow were named their conference's player of the week with stellar weekend performances.

It's going to be crazy when they both beat Bama this season.

 HELICOPTER BREAKS UP TAILGATE. As a five-year college student at one of the biggest universities in the country, I've seen some creative crowd control in my day and know what lengths campus police will go to in order to quell a crowd.

Hell, the Ohio State Police Department even has an armored military vehicle at its disposal if shit gets really wild. But I've never seen anything like Penn State Police using the wind from a helicopter's rotors to disperse a large tailgate ahead of Saturday's big game.

Apparently, there was a large tailgate that turned unruly, resulting in the assault of two State Police horses and injuring an officer. So the police turned to a helicopter to solve the problem.

Here is a full statement on the incident issued by Penn State Police:

“We understand concerns have been raised regarding police activity during tailgate celebrations in one lot, in advance of the Penn State vs. Ohio State game on Saturday (Sept. 29). University Police wishes to reassure fans that officers were responding to the circumstances on the ground, which involved numerous law violations, including serious threats to officer safety within a disorderly crowd. Unruly individuals refused to disperse following verbal commands and at least one officer suffered injuries. It is rare to resort to these expanded interventions; however, when all other warnings from the mounted police unit and officers on the ground were ignored, a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter was deployed as another tool to compel the group to disperse and curb dangerous and unruly behavior. Following the use of the helicopter, the dangerous behaviors dissipated.”

Pennsylvania State Police also issued a statement, saying "a helicopter was utilized to issue commands to disperse via loudspeaker. When personnel on scene noticed the helicopter was low enough to disturb items on the ground, the helicopter pulled up to a higher altitude."

Based on the video, it looks like officers – who have presumably flown a helicopter before and are well aware of the wind rotors create – conveniently made the discovery that they were sending tents, grills and debris flying everywhere after they made a slow pass 30 feet over the entire tailgate.

Honestly, I totally get why they did it. I just would have respected the move 100x more if they came out and said "Yeah, we used the wind from the rotors to break up the party, and it worked," instead of the denial approach.

A nearby Penn State parent and tailgater – who was not part of the fraternity group – offered his description of the scene, from

"There was no fighting or big disruption. No one was doing anything crazy or outlandish. We didn’t have any issue with them all day,” said Olson, who reported a scratch to his Mercedes-Benz truck thanks to a flying tent and said a girl at his tailgate was cut on the face from debris. He plans to file a police report this week.

“Can you imagine if a helicopter sent debris that hit a horse and it got spooked and started trampling the kids? This could’ve been a tragedy. If that helicopter had any type of accident, you would’ve had people shredded everywhere and cars on fire. It’s so fortunate that there wasn’t a major tragedy yesterday.”

Don't get any ideas, OSUPD.

 $1,579.65 MCDONALD'S MEDIUM FRY. Alabama was such a heavy favorite this weekend that it Vegas bookmakers couldn't even accurately set the odds because it just wouldn't work in their computers.


Alabama is too powerful for Las Vegas bookmaking computers. The Crimson Tide were -99,000 favorites to beat Louisiana-Lafayette straight-up Saturday. That's bet $99,000 to win $100. "[It] should be higher," said South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews, "but the computer won't take it."

The Tide were never losing that game. I know nothing's guaranteed in sports, but that one was guaranteed in sports.

Betting on Alabama to win straight-up was just an absolute lock. The problem is, the odds were so steep that to even win enough to buy a medium fry from McDonalds, you'd have to stake a month's rent.

But one enterprising investor did just that.

According to Vaccaro, the overwhelming odds didn't stop one Tide supporter from placing a $1,579.65 money-line bet on Alabama. The Crimson Tide rolled to a 56-14 win, and the bettor won a cool $1.60.

On one hand this is insane. On the other, it's free money. Wouldn't you pick up $1.60 if it was laying on the ground at your feet? I can't fault this fellow for taking advantage.

Also, a correction: a medium fry is $1.89 at McDonald's, so he would be short a few cents.

 CLASS OF WHENEVER. Just out of curiosity, what is the appropriate age you begin recruiting an athlete who's clearly leaps and bounds better than his peers? Because I'm pretty sure Ted Ginn Jr.'s son is there.


A post shared by Ted Ginn jr (@tedginnjr_19) on

There aren't many offspring of former players I would offer a scholarship sight unseen, but Ginn's son is probably one of them. Refreshing, but completely unsurprising to see that it looks like he's following in his father's footsteps.

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