Skull Session: Chris Holtmann Does It Again, How Brian Hartline Secured the Next Ted Ginn Jr., and Northwestern's Perplexing Season,

By Kevin Harrish on November 16, 2018 at 4:59 am
The new king.

I'm sure some of you have had a rough week at work, but at least you weren't the guy who misspelled the coach's son's last name on his jersey.

Happy Friday!


Word of the Day: Persiflage.

 MORE METICULOUS THAN A FORENSICS OFFICER. It's not even Thanksgiving and Chris Holtmann and his squad already have two road wins against 2018 NCAA Tournament teams.

This time, the Buckeyes answered a late four-point deficit with a 13-0 run to close out the game, shutting out Creighton in the final three minutes.

Holtmann is out here proving Gene Smith hired the right guy by winning a road game in the wrong guy's house. Incredible.

And next season, we get mostly the same roster plus three top-50 freshmen. If Holtmann's doing this with teams projected to finish in the bottom 10 percent of the Big Ten, I can't wait to see what he does with a loaded roster.

 HARTLINE LANDED THE NEXT TED GINN JR. Brian Hartline got thrown into the fire a bit when he had to take over as Ohio State's receivers coach just a few days before the start of training camp.

But teaching college kids how to be a receiver wasn't a new thing for him, he'd been doing it for a while. Taking over as the unit's lead recruiter, though, was definitely uncharted territory, but Hartline's done a fine job so far, securing the commitment of one of the most talented receivers in the country in Jameson Williams.

From my pal Ari Wasserman of The Athletic ($):

“I was playing it in my head after Jameson left,” Gregory said. “I was thinking, ‘I don’t think Urban really knows who Jameson is.’ He has seen so many kids across the country, so it’s hard for him to keep track of who is who. So I decided to make sure.”

Gregory showed Meyer and Day Williams’ junior season highlight tape, which Gregory says is one of the best he’s ever seen. “That’s Jameson right there,” Gregory pointed.

As Meyer watched the screen, he raised his hand and said, “Get Jameson back here.”


But Williams could become the most famous athlete in the family. He’s already drawn comparisons to former Ohio State standout Ted Ginn Jr.

Meyer made the comparison while watching Williams’ highlight tape, and Hartline – who played with Ginn at Ohio State from 2005-07 and still remains close to Ginn — repeated it without having previous knowledge of Meyer’s statement. High school prospects get compared to pro players all the time, and most comparisons aren’t really believable. So The Athletic sent Williams’ highlight tape to Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell, who was Ohio State’s receivers coach when Ginn and Hartline were Buckeyes.

“OK, very weird,” Hazell said. “I definitely see why people said he looks like Teddy. Very similar traits in running style.”

Williams was already a silent Buckeye commit before Zach Smith's termination and was very close with the former receiver's coach before Hartline took over. Ari tells the story of how Hartline won him over and has been making a case to remain Ohio State's permanent receiver's coach.

 ED OLIVER COULDN'T BE MORE DONE. I read the posts, I know some of you folks are still quite peeved about Nick Bosa's decision to shut it down and leave the team, but I feel it's my duty to remind you that the whole situation could have gone so, so much worse.


I literally cannot imagine a scenario where Urban Meyer and the best player on the roster are so far at odds that they're involved in a heated altercation about a winter jacket during a primetime game.

I guess that's just the Ohio State difference or something, I don't know.

 IT'S HAPPENING! Don't look now, but it seems Les Miles might actually be the next Kansas head coach.

This, of course, frees Miles up to sign another head coaching contract, and Kansas has been the only program his name has even been linked to.

Folks, I'm ready to care about Kansas football. I'm ready.

 WHAT EVEN IS NORTHWESTERN? And how the hell did they win the Big Ten West?

Noted numbers-knower Bill Connelly of SBNation tried his best to make sense of it in his latest column, but I'm just not sure you can.

From Connelly of SBnation:

Some facts:

  • Northwestern went 0-3 in a non-conference schedule that featured home games against Duke and Akron.
  • The Wildcats are also one of only two Big Ten teams to allow Rutgers to stay within 14 points. In fact, they stayed within three. Northwestern almost lost to Rutgers.
  • They have been out-gained by nearly one yard per play and by more than 200 yards for the season.
  • They rank 104th in offensive success rate — the most predictive statistical building block for a season’s success — and 109th in overall Off. S&P+. Only one Fitzgerald offense has graded out worse. And a mostly solid defense still ranks a passive 105th in completion rate allowed and 123rd in sack rate.
  • They were projected 37th in S&P+ but rank a disappointing 77th. On paper, this is Pat Fitzgerald’s worst team since the 2011 team that went 6-7.

One more fact:

  • On Saturday night in Iowa City, the Wildcats clinched the Big Ten West title with two weeks to spare.

Folks are making a big deal about this upcoming Ohio State vs. Michigan game like it essential decides the conference champion.

There's a good chance it will, but what if Northwestern just takes the battered shell of the winning team to the woodshed to become the most inexplicable Power Five conference champion to date?

They won't be without fan support, that's for sure.

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