Skull Session: Jeff Hafley's Unpredictability, Mike Yurcich's Love Affair With Game Film and Buckeyes' WWE Internships

By Kevin Harrish on June 14, 2019 at 4:59 am
We've got a heavyweight champion in today's skull session.

Turns out, Chris Holtmann's Buckeye blood is thicker than we thought.


Word of the Day: Mollify.

 LESS PREDICTABLE. The past few years, everyone in the stadium has known what type of coverage the Buckeyes were going to play – press man.

Admittedly, it worked fine when every corner on the field was a future first-round pick, but despite what we've come to believe, that's not a really sustainable roster situation.

But even if he does have a secondary full of first-round picks, new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley seems quite a bit less keen to fight with a hand tied behind his back than the old regime. So the Buckeyes will be playing multiple coverages this season.

From Tony Gerdeman of The Ozone: 

While that experience will help them, there will be more coverages to learn because Hafley isn’t interested in offenses knowing what is coming from play to play.

Against offenses with multiple ways to attack, giving them a predictable look in the back seven seems more like a favor than anything else.

The Buckeyes will still press, but they’ll be doing other things from time to time as well.

“I think that we are still going to press people,” Hafley said. “I totally believe in pressing, especially in man-situations, especially with some of the guys that we have that are really long and very talented. I just think that you have to mix things up. I think you have to give corners the ability to zone off and be able to play off the quarterback to try and go make some plays rather than just being in man all the time.”

On one hand, this makes me extremely happy, but on the other, I'm now angry all over again that this change wasn't made sooner than like, now.

 FILM. JUST FILM. You'll be delighted to know that Ryan Day appears to have hired a caricature of an offensive coordinator to join his brain trust.

Whenever I hear about an offensive football savant – guys like Tom Herman, Ryan Day, or even Lane Kiffin – I've often joked that their favorite movie must be game film.

It's always just been a joke, until I learned about Mike Yurcich.

From Dave Biddle of Bucknuts:

“Sometimes late at night, just drawing on napkins,” Yurcich said of when he’s at his creative best. “A lot of times it’s in the film room. Sometimes in the summer, when no one’s around, maybe in July, you shut the door, and just watch somebody else on offense. You get to freelance. You get your homework done, put that to bed, and then you have free time to look at whoever you want. I think those are great times to take advantage of as a coach.”

Yurcich really enjoys studying film, and he does not find himself unique in that regard.

“Well, it’s fun,” he said. “A golfer golfs, fishermen fish. A coach looks at film. I don’t fish and I don’t golf. I watch film.”

That's like asking an astrophysicist what they do for fun and getting "Uh, celestial mechanics?" in response.

I'm just imagining how this plays out at home.

"Hey honey, what are you watching?"

"Oh, just the West Virginia vs. Kansas State game from 2014. I'm at the part where Kansas State runs that really creative quarterback draw that's blocked like a tunnel screen. I can rewind it if you want to join me."

 HELL OF A CAREER OPPORTUNITY. If you weren't already convinced Ohio State prepares its players for life after football better than any other program in the country, this should do it.

"Come to Ohio State, play football, then be a professional wrestler."

From a WWE release:

Five football players from Ohio State University had the rare opportunity to explore the inner workings of the WWE Performance Center this week as part of a joint effort between WWE and the university’s player development externship program.

Defensive tackle Davon Hamilton, linebacker Justin Hilliard, long snapper Liam McCullough, offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere and safety Shaun Wade toured the Performance Center, met with members of the coaching staff and learned about the various aspects of WWE’s talent development system, from strength and conditioning and in-ring training to content creation.


The goal of initiatives like this is to educate players about opportunities available to them once they transition from their primary sport, according to Paul Fair, WWE’s director of talent development.

“In this case hosting student athletes from the Ohio State football program, they were able to experience a complete immersion of what makes WWE so unique while seeing everything from production and marketing, to a day in the life of an NXT Superstar,” Fair said. “It’s collaborations like these that open up doors for the future and provide so much value to all parties involved.”

I will absolutely be following Liam McCullough's inevitable legendary WWE career, which based on his previous internships, should shortly follow his stint as a Goldman Sachs executive.

His finisher is just him throwing his opponent through his legs and into the turnbuckle.

 AT LEAST THAT'S SOMETHING! In the past, if you didn't win the TBT championship, you didn't win shit. And with a single team winning the title each of the past the past four years, a lot of folks ain't won shit.

But this year, at least the winners of each regional won't go home completely empty handed.

And I would really like to emphasize not completely empty handed because this works out to be like $100 per player in most cases, which doesn't even cover a pair of shoes. But hey, it's $100 more than they got the past five years. Baby steps!

This also could incentivize them to move this thing to a bigger venue than Capital University's YMCA gym – no disrespect to the Crusaders, of course – which is probably already sold out. They're turning down free money if they can't find a realistically sized gym to play in.

Also, how in the hell has Wichita sold over $200,000 in tickets for this thing? Did someone add an extra zero somewhere?

 GAME READY. I had my doubts that Greg Oden would be terribly effective in the BIG3 this summer. Those doubts are gone.

Imagine having the audacity to call a "travel" when a dude just tosses the ball through the rim like a nerf ball on your ass like that.

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