Skull Session: Tate Martell Unconcerned About Justin Fields, Mike Gundy Ready to Lose Mike Yurcich, and Joshua Alabi Preparing to Start

By Kevin Harrish on December 31, 2018 at 4:59 am
Hello, the Rose Bowl is the tomorrow.

Never imagined I'd be suggesting that the Buckeyes lift things from the Browns' playbook, but this is fun and good and I'd love to see it next year:

Note: The ball can't go forward here or the quarterback wouldn't be able to throw the pass again.


Word of the Day: Remunerative.

 TATE UNCONCERNED. Ever since the Justin Fields reports and rumors started to make their way around the interwebs, folks have been speculating about Tate Martell's thoughts and feelings regarding the situation.

With no direct comment from Martell, folks had to resort to reading between the line of cryptic subtweets, which is extremely, extremely 2018.

But now we get it from the source! At Sunday's Rose Bowl Media Day, Martell boldly proclaimed he would not be transferring, and was "100 percent confident" he would be Ohio State's starting quarterback next year if Dwayne Haskins leaves for the NFL.

The reason he's so confident is his experience. He's been working, trying to learn this offense and run it perfectly since Fields was in high school. He's not convinced someone's going to stroll right in and do it better than him in just a few months.

From Tom Orr of The Ozone:

One of the reasons Martell isn’t concerned is because he knows first-hand just how difficult this offense is to master.

“It’s an NFL-type of offense, so it’s difficult to learn,” he said. “It takes people a while to get it down. Even Dwayne, I was talking to Dwayne about it, he was like, ‘Well, it took me over a year to feel like I was even comfortable on the field.’ Now, after two years of being in, I know what I’m doing. I’m on point with everything I do. I’m running the offense.”

But there is also the fact that Martell has now put in two years of learning that offense. As the backup quarterback, he believes he is next in line to be the starting quarterback at Ohio State.

I think that's all totally valid. And honestly, it's exactly how I'd want him to respond.

What else would he say?

"Oh yeah, Fields is coming and taking my job. He's really good, so there's not much I can do about it. But it's fine, I'm just going to transfer and play somewhere else. No big deal."

Y'all know how much I love Fields, and I think the Buckeyes would be stupid to turn him down. I mean, worst case scenario, they have a sweet backup quarterback. But I also love Tate's response here.

The offseason is gonna be something.

 GUNDY READY FOR YURCICH'S DEPARTURE. Rumors are swirling about Ohio State's interest in Oklahoma State offensive coordinator and quarterback-knower Mike Yurcich.

Lettermen Row's Austin Ward reported Ohio State's interest in Yurcich last week, and it sure sounds like Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is prepared for his offensive coordinator to leave for greener pastures.


“I’m the easiest guy in the country to work for,” said Gundy. “That’s why coaches stay. They’re very well paid. We work normal hours. We don’t overwork. It’s a family organization. Guys take care of their business, I don’t micromanage them so they stay. We will always have coaches leave to move up … Yurcich is a guy whose name has been out there the last three years. Interesting how the fans, people abuse (?) on him, but everyone else in the country wants him. Pretty interesting concept.”

Anyway, as for why this could be his 78th and final game in orange and black on Monday.

“He’s had interest from the NFL,” noted Gundy. “At some point he’s going to move on. He’s at a point in his career that that could happen. We would love to keep him here. We’re not going to be able to pay what other schools will potentially offer him. So if he ever gets a run to be a coordinator at all the schools that are interested in him or maybe move on to the NFL, that’s probably going to be his next move versus … some of the other head coaching jobs you get at levels that are lower pay about a third or a fourth of what these guys are making as coordinators.

“We hope to keep him as long as we can, but at some point he’ll move on, and if he does we wish him the best. He’s been very loyal and been great for the program.”

There is a report that Yurcich has also been offered the Tennessee offensive coordinator job, but if he passes on that, Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson might have themselves another partner on the offensive side of the ball.

 JOSHUA ALABI TO START? Thayer Munford hasn't been practicing with the starters and was called a game-time decision by Ryan Day earlier this week, as he deal with an undisclosed injury.

If he can't go Joshua Alabi would get the start. And from the boots-on-the-ground folks, things seem to be trending in that direction.

That would be one hell of a story for Alabi – three-star defensive end to Rose Bowl starter at offensive tackle.

 NO OVERWHELMING DIFFERENCE. As essentially everyone predicted, Notre Dame got absolutely smacked against Clemson on Saturday afternoon.

The game was so bad, one-time third-string quarterback Chase Brice – who, as an aside, has a name that sounds like he should be a country music superstar – actually got to play in relief of Trevor Lawrence.

But apparently, that was not due to a noticeable talent difference.

Irish head coach Brian Kelly cited a number of excuses – coaching, making plays and the injury to a starter in the secondary – but none of them were the obvious "Yeah, Clemson was better."

From Jake Trotter of

"I do not feel like there was an overwhelming difference in terms of talent," Kelly said. "If we coached better and we made plays that we have been making all year, we would have had a pretty good darn football game going into the fourth quarter."

Kelly pointed to Clemson's four big touchdown plays and the loss of All-American cornerback Julian Loved uring the second quarter as the reasons for Clemson's victory.

With Love out, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence connected on touchdown throws of 52, 42 and 19 yards in the second quarter. Running back Travis Etienne added a 62-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put the Irish away.

"I think Clemson was extremely smart and opportunistic in taking advantage of some things schematically," Kelly said. "They did a great job of pushing the ball vertically in some opportunistic situations."

Yeah, and Ohio State would have beaten Florida in 2006 with Ted Ginn Jr.

Look, anyone who can look back at that game and attempt to explain that those teams were actually equal in terms of talent is either lying or delusional. Kelly might be both.

 BAD INVESTMENT, E.G.: Four years into this whole Jim Harbaugh experiment and hilariously, it's beginning to look like Michigan might have actually overpaid for a mediocre coach.

At one point this season I was legitimately concerned at how unbearable Michigan was becoming on Twitter, now, trash talking them feels like bullying again.

The universe is back in order!

 THE FAKE QUOTE IS FAKE. If you were on Twitter yesterday, there's a solid chance you saw a very bulletin board quote from Jake Browning about Ohio State's defense.

That's one hell of a statement. Problem is, it's fake. Adam Jude – who is credited on the graphic – did not report that and also, Browning never said it.

So save the outrage for the stuff that deserves it.

 LINK LOCKER. The USSR planned a super sub that launched rockets and delivered tanks... A nostalgic look back at digital music piracy in the 2000s... 16-year-old from Kansas on track to graduate from high school and Harvard in same month... The ever-growing reality that we might be able to live forever...

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