Skull Session: Ryan Day's Expectations, Luther Muhammad Owning a Summer League, and Zach Smith's Recruiting Regrets

By Kevin Harrish on June 18, 2019 at 4:59 am
Demario McCall is fascinated by a reptilian creature in today's skull session.

Drue Chrisman is a national treasure.

I don't think we can just give him the Ray Guy Award for this, but I really don't think anyone would object.


Word of the Day: Kittle.

 MANAGING EXPECTATIONS. There seems to be a hilarious dichotomy of expectations about the future of Ohio State football between Buckeye fans and the rest of the nation.

Ohio State fans have what are almost certainly unreasonable expectations for a first-year head coach, whereas some folks from around the country seem to expect Ohio State to just fall off the map without Urban Meyer.

It can't be easy to navigate those two wildly different sets of expectations, but the new Buckeye boss seems to be doing fine thus far.

From Ari Wasserman of The Athletic ($):

You don’t replace a legend and stay as good, right? From the outside, some people might view Ohio State as damaged.

“I think any time you replace a Heisman Trophy finalist (quarterback Dwayne Haskins) and a Hall of Fame coach, there’s a recalibration there, but it’s far from damaged,” Day said. “I kind of hope people think that about us because when they line up against us, it’s going to be a little different, you know?”


But Day’s brand isn’t going to be solidified until he actually wins games. It’s impossible for Ohio State to prove it’s a menace on the field without Meyer until it actually wins championships. Nobody understands that more than Day, who understands the pressure of taking over a program that has done nothing but win for the better part of two decades.

People always ask Day, “What if you guys don’t win?” Day has a simple response: “What if we do?”

Again, it's hilarious that he's addressing whether or not Buckeye football is "damaged" and whether or not he can live up to the wildly high expectations at the same time, but that kinda sums up where he's at right now.

I do appreciate the swagger he keeps through it all though. "What if we do?" is an extremely baller response to anyone doubting him at this point.

 NO HALF REPS. The Ohio State receivers room lost a whole lot of leadership when captains Terry McLaurin, Johnnie Dixon and Parris Campbell left after this season, but I think they'll be just fine on that front with C.J. Saunders doing his thing.

From the Great Tony Gerdeman of The Ozone:

While Austin Mack, KJ Hill, and Binjimen Victor get the bulk of that attention, the fourth senior — CJ Saunders — is constantly held up as an example by Ohio State receivers coach Brian Hartline.

“It’s really hard for me to find a lack of effort on a test,” Hartline explained. “And I don’t try to. It’s not like I’m trying to put him on a pedestal, but I can grab his test and put it on the overhead and be like, ‘Alright, let me grab somebody else’s test,’ and then nobody wants to put their test up there.

“So that’s the expectation. Our expectation is to be different, to be the best in the room, be the best on the field, and all the time trying to be great. But I didn’t tell guys how hard to go all the time. I can’t find a half-speed rep from CJ Saunders on film. It’s impossible. So he’s really done a great job to help leading the room by example. I need some more guys to step up and command, but we’re doing a really good job.”

I know there are a lot of folks expecting to see more of Saunders in the offense this year, and I'm in believe it when I see it mode on that front, but the cool thing with him is he truly does not give a damn if he sees the field. He'll work his ass off regardless.

 LUTHER IS LOOSE. Luther Muhammad is playing in the Kingdom Summer League this year, which is made up of a combination of high schoolers, college players, pros and former pros.

And one game in, and he's already dominating.

The league itself is intriguing as hell. It features quite a few Buckeyes – Muhammad, the Wesson brothers, Ibrahima Diallo and Justice Sueing – and some other familiar names like Nick Ward, Caris Lavert and Trey Burke.

Games are all in the Columbus area if you ever got an itch for some exhibition basketball in the next few weeks.

 RECRUITING REGRETS. I'm definitely not a Zach Smith or Menace 2 Society podcast Stan, but I'm also not brain dead enough not to see the inherent news value of a former assistant coach rambling essentially unfiltered about the goings on of Ohio State football the past seven years.

All of it should be taken with an extreme grain of salt, because he clearly has some axes to grind and also gets the benefit of speaking almost entirely unchallenged about things that aren't really verifiable (besides, well, K.J. Hill confirming that Bert did indeed try to cancel his official visit to Ohio State).

But when he was talking about his biggest recruiting regrets on Monday's podcast, that seemed safe, believable, and also interesting.

  • Christian Kirk (Texas A&M): "He was a kid that I recruited really hard. We were in it. ... I didn't do a great job of recruiting him – not that that's why we lost him – but he's definitely one that I wish we would have gotten. He was an Ohio State type of kid."
  • Jerry Jeudy (Alabama): "I didn't really think we had a chance on him, because Alabama does a great job in recruiting and they also had one of his high school coaches kind of in their pocket. ... I don't know how, or why."
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones (Michigan): "We were never in it, I never thought we were in it, his parents were Michigan grads – that kid was going to Michigan from day one. But we recruited the hell out of him."

He also talked about how Urban Meyer was so obsessed with speed when he coached at Florida that he didn't recruit guys like Carlos Hyde, Jeff Heuerman or Knowshon Moreno.

Again, grain of salt on everything, but there are enough things he says that line up pretty perfectly with things we've heard elsewhere that I think he's generally telling the truth, or at least I think he genuinely believes he's telling the truth as he sees it.

But if you're not into a fired assistant coach talking about life working under a head coach that no longer coaches Ohio State, I don't blame you one bit, and you can just keep on scrolling.

 YOU'RE WELCOME, REST OF THE WORLD. Enjoy the United States' run through the Women's World Cup because it looks like the Red, White and Blue are about to get their asses kicked in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, of all things.

Behold, team USA:

Apparently, this team won USA Basketball's national tournament – which I assume was played at a suburban YMCA – and that's why they're moving on to worlds.

All I'll say is if that's the system we have in place to choose the team that will represent the United States when this is an Olympic sport next year, I'm going to break things. You could show up to any given outdoor court and put together a more dangerous team than this with the people playing pickup.

But to be fair, Kareem Maddox did drop 13 and 8 off the bench for Princeton eight years ago, so maybe we're underestimating him.

 MOVIE NIGHT AT THE 'SHOE. If y'all are looking for a chance to enter the Concrete Cathedral in the middle of the summer, you're in luck! Saturday night is movie night.

I was going to proclaim this the least stressful time you'll ever spend in the 'Shoe, but then I remembered most of y'all would bring your kids, and there's no way that's less stressful than a nooner against Florida A&M.

 EAT AT ARBY'S. The tree thought to have inspired Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" has fallen... Inside the cultish dreamworld of Augusta National... The grand schemes of the petty grifter... My father, the spy... The strange story of a secret literary fellowship... There's a treasure chest worth millions hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and these folks are dedicating their lives and savings to find it... What really happened to Malaysia's missing airplane... 

View 59 Comments