Skull Session: Ryan Day's Changes, Three-Point Potentially Line Moving Back, and Jack Sawyer Steps into the Rivalry

By Kevin Harrish on May 13, 2019 at 4:59 am
Chase Young greets you in today's Skull Session.

Drue Chrisman continues to enhance his bottle flipping game.

At the risk of sounding spoiled, I was fully expecting the bottle to land on the tee. I guess that's what happens when you get spoiled by greatness.


Word of the Day: Serendipitous.

 IDENTITY SHIFT. Ohio State's doing what it can to maintain the core of the program during this coaching transition, but when you hand a new guy the keys, things are going to change no matter what.

Some of the behind-the-scenes changes you'll probably never see, but there's no hiding the changes that will come to the on-field product on both sides of the ball.

From Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports:

Day has maintained staunchly that there’s an open competition for the starting quarterback spot, as five-star Georgia transfer Justin Fields and Kentucky transfer Gunnar Hoak will compete in camp, along with West Virginia transfer Chris Chugunov. Fields’ pedigree will make him the favorite, but the Ohio State offense will surely change. Any notion of repeating Dwayne Haskins’ historic 50-touchdown season is a Buckeye fever dream. Haskins was a first-year starter last year, but entered with more than 100 practices, intricate familiarity with the system and a rare arm talent that led to him being drafted No. 15.

Day hinted at a bit of an identity shift, perhaps even leaning on an experienced defense and star junior tailback J.K. Dobbins while a new starter establishes himself at quarterback. There’s a strong core of tight ends and a deep crop of receivers that will also dictate how the offense evolves.

“It’s about players, not plays,” Day said, offering a window into his offensive philosophy. “I think when you start to recruit to a system, you can get yourself jammed up. The art of coaching college football is now, here’s what we have, then you go, OK, this is the strength of the offense. Players, not plays.”

In other words: "I'll take Braxton Miller or Dwayne Haskins and ruin your defense however I need to." Which, hell yeah. Recruiting explicitly for your "system" is like fighting with a hand tied behind your back, because it limits your potential player pool.

Dwayne Haskins is a perfect example. Ohio State once recruited Tristen Wallace over Haskins because of Haskins' lack of mobility. I don't even want to play out that alternate reality in my head, so thank God the Buckeyes were forced to take the best passer in program history instead of the guy who's now playing receiver in junior college.

Day doesn't really roll like that – hence, a dual threat quarterback taking over for the pocketest of pocket passers. If you're the best, he'll take you.

We shouldn't be shocked Day is a good idea haver on the offensive side of the ball, but it's the defense that needs fixing, and he's insisting that it will be fixed.

Day’s first season could end up be defined by changes on defense. There are four new coaches on that side of the ball, including sharp young coordinator Jeff Hafley, who has received early raves for his tactical knowledge. Ohio State has a potential top-10 pick in defensive end Chase Young and solid corners in Jeff Okudah, Shaun Wade and Damon Arnette. The linebackers were the glaring weakness of the Buckeyes defense last season, which Day expects to change under first-year coach Al Washington.

“I think the one thing about the defense is that the linebackers should show up more,” he said. “They were a little bit more match oriented in the coverages, where I think in this defense they have a little more opportunity to have a vision and break.”

Day summed up the defense this way: “I’d be disappointed if we’re not really good on defense this year.”

No pressure, Ryan, but there will actually be a few million of people disappointed if you're not really good on defense this year, not just you.

 NEW THREE-POINT LINE? The three-point line could be moving back.

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee is proposing a rule change that would move the three-point line back to the international basketball distance of 22 feet, 1¾ inches, which is a foot and 4¾ inches longer than the current three-point arc.


Committee members proposed the rules change after receiving positive feedback from the annual rules survey and from coaches whose teams competed in the 2018 and 2019 National Invitation Tournament, where the international 3-point distance was used on an experimental basis.

The committee cited the following rationale for extending the line:

  • Making the lane more available for dribble/drive plays from the perimeter.
  • Slowing the trend of the 3-point shot becoming too prevalent in men’s college basketball by making the shot a bit more challenging, while at the same time keeping the shot an integral part of the game.
  • Assisting in offensive spacing by requiring the defense to cover more of the court.

“After gathering information over the last two seasons, we feel it’s time to make the change,” said Tad Boyle, committee chair and coach at  Colorado. “Freedom of movement in the game remains important, and we feel this will open up the game. We believe this will remove some of the congestion on the way to the basket.”

Ah yes, this will appease all the indignant fans bitching that their team is making way too many three-pointers. I, for one, hated Justin Ahrens' performance against Iowa. I was furiously angry he made all those long shots worth more points. I think there should be rules preventing that from happening.

Even if the prevalence of the three-point shot was an issue, you're not going to keep teams from emphasizing the three-point shot by moving the line back a foot. The only way you'd accomplish that is the make it worth fewer points, and unless you plan to add decimals to the score board, that ain't happening.

"Slowing the trend of three-point shooting" is terrible rationale, that doesn't mean this isn't a good idea. It would definitely open up the game a little bit, which college basketball does desperately need at times.

 DELUSION STARTS EARLY. You'll never believe this, but a Michigan football commit is far more confident than he should be given the state of the program quite literally his entire life.

But fear not, the nation's No. 2 player (and Buckeye defensive end commit) put him in his place.

The only way that poor quarterback avoids getting crumpled by Jack Sawyer is if he's not the starter by his third year.

 MICHAEL THOMAS GIVES BACK. Jerry Hills said he lost his left leg three years ago due to a bacterial infection and has since had to hop or crawl down his steps, because he didn't have a wheelchair ramp at his house.

That ain't right, so Michael Thomas and a few other Saints players built him one.

I love the optics here, as well. They could have just hired some contractors to do the work and taken credit for paying for it, but nah, they're getting their hands dirty.

 WHEN THEY NEEDED HIM THE MOST. Evan Turner is a (extremely expensive) role player with the Blazers, but on Sunday night that role was apparently to carry the team on his back in the fourth quarter of game seven.

He's had himself a wild year. It's going to be crazy when he's the NBA Finals MVP while coming off the bench.

 LINK LOCKER. Here comes the world's first AI-generated whiskey... The world secretly runs on hippo poop... The guy pro athletes hire when they've been swindled... An interview with a man who eats leftover food from strangers' plates in restaurants... The reason new mothers share photos of their children on Facebook... Reimagining the Darth Vader vs. Obi Wan lightsaber battle in Star Wars: A New Hope.

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