Skull Session: Mike Conley's Value to the Jazz, Mike Weber's Quest to Back Up Ezekiel Elliott, and Jeff Hafley's Search for Safeties

By Kevin Harrish on June 20, 2019 at 4:59 am
Ryan Day holds a reptilian creature in today's Skull Session.

Good morning!

Here is a video of Dwayne Haskins tossing a football and Terry McLaurin teleporting his arms through a defender to catch that football.

It's borderline unfair that these guys get to play together for the foreseeable future.


Word of the Day: Duende.

 MIKE CONLEY: VERY GOOD. People forget how good Mike Conley is at basketball, and that's probably mostly because he's been trapped – admittedly by his own choice – on a Western Conference team that wasn't winning shit.

In a loaded conference with a middling-at-best team, he had no shot at a title and an extremely slim shot at an all-star game. And so, folks forgot about him.

But now that he's on the move to Utah, it's probably a good time to remind folks that he's extremely good and coming off probably the best season of his career.

From Zach Lowe of ESPN:

“Very quietly, Conley had an All-NBA-caliber season in what ended up as his Memphis swan song. He can share the controls with Mitchell; both will munch on more catch-and-shoot 3s as a result. Conley is a steadier and more precise crunch-time ball handler who can calm Utah's offense amid the late-game frenzy.”


Conley has lost a half-step, but he is still at least Rubio's equal on defense -- and probably a little better in hothouse moments. He is less prone to gambling out of scheme. Utah's defense should remain among the league's two or three best with Conley and Gobert bookending things.


Conley gives Memphis a second guy who can dust behemoths on switches. The upgrade in shooting will make each of those handoffs and screens more dangerous, and reduce the opposing defense's margin for error. On more of those two-man actions, both players will be multifaceted threats. Any mistake -- any window opened -- will carry more risk.

And again, extremely good:

I am all in on Mike Conley playing for a legitimate contender. Now, let's just see about getting him to a damn all-star game.

 UP IN THE AIR. When Brendon White looked like a damn All-American against Nebraska, I thought sure the whole safety dilemma was finally solved.

It isn't.

The new folks – bless 'em – came in and moved White to Bullet (damn his versatility!) and here we are, back again looking for someone to play opposite of Jordan Fuller.

From Tony Gerdeman of The Ozone:

In speaking with the media this month, Hafley was asked who would be lining up next to Fuller if he was healthy right now.

“That is to be determined,” he said. “I would like to stay pretty consistent with everything that I talk to you guys about, so it is real. I think we are going to play the 11 best players and figure it out from there. I think that is what training camp will be for.”

Ohio State’s new defense features one deep safety in the middle of the field and one safety in slot on standard downs. On passing downs — or against passing teams — there will generally be two deep safeties. Jordan Fuller has experience and confidence in playing all of those roles, so his future position may ultimately be determined by something like Shaun Wade being better at strong safety than Isaiah Pryor is at free safety.


“All those guys are in the mix,” Hafley said. “I mean that, it is not just like media talk. Look at the skill that we have there, ‘go out and compete’ for all of those guys. Go out there and play ball. Whoever has the best training camp… we as coaches have got to decide where to put them and get them on the field. I am going to be consistent with that, and that is how I talk to the players, and that is how I will be honest with you guys, and then that is what we have to do, that is our jobs.”

I'm sure they'll find the best man for the job. I just hope that this time, it happens before week 10 and doesn't take an injury and a bullshit targeting penalty to get him on the field.

 BACKING UP ZEKE. A meniscus injury kept Mike Weber from ever serving as Ezekiel Elliott's backup, but as fate would have it, he still has a chance to do that – just at the professional level instead.

With a strong spring, he can go from seventh-round pick to a regular contributor for the Cowboys of Dallas, Texas.

From David Helman of

How He Got Here: The writing was on the wall for Weber for weeks before the 2019 NFL Draft. The Ohio State standout was one of the Cowboys’ 30 pre-draft visitors, as the organization did its due diligence on potential backups for Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys had a third-round grade on Weber, but they lucked out by managing to draft him all the way in the seventh round. The 21-year-old joins Tony Pollard as one of two rookie running backs looking to find a roster spot behind Elliott.


Role/Roster Chances: The depth chart is wide open for Weber. Elliott is the obvious starter, and Jamize Olawale looks like a lock to be this team’s fullback. But the Cowboys are clearly trying to upgrade the production from their backups. Pollard was a higher draft pick than Weber, but he’s a different sort of back. This team wants a guy with a similar, well-rounded game to Elliott, in case the All-Pro needs to be spelled for some reason. He’s going to have to fend off veterans like Darius Jackson and Jordan Chunn, but Weber has the skill set to be that guy.

Two 1,000-yard rushers from Ohio State sounds like one hell of a one-two punch. I can't wait until they add J.K. Dobbins next season. Hell, Carlos Hyde will be a free agent too. Let's just get the band back together.

 A LITTLE LATE, GUYS. If you would like a lesson on how not to recruit as a major college program, the University of Washington just got around to offering the top player in the state – who happens to be Ohio State receiver commit Gee Scott Jr.

To give context to this incompetence, this would be like Ohio State just deciding to offer Paris Johnson Jr., who's been committed to the Buckeyes for almost a year now.

I'm glad they've finally decided he lives up to their presumably lofty standards.

 AS CLOSE AS IT GETS. If you're going to be watching tonight's NBA Draft hoping for some Buckeye flavor, then folks, this right here as good as it's going to get.

One-time Ohio State commit (turned Syracuse commit, turned NBA G League commit, turned New Balance commit) Darius Bazley will almost certainly hear his name called, and there's a solid chance it's looking like there's a solid chance that happens in the first round.

For those of you with short memories (or even simply didn't care all that much) Bazley was a five-star forward and the top-ranked player in Ohio in the 2018 class and originally committed to Thad Matta and the Buckeyes.

He obviously didn't stick with Ohio State and eventually committed to Syracuse. He didn't stick there, either, as he decided to play in the NBA G League instead of college. But he didn't end up doing that either, as he signed $14 million deal with New Balance interned with the company from January til March.

It's been a wild, wild ride for the kid we once thought was just going to suit up and play for the Buckeyes, but it's probably going to pay off.

 EAT AT ARBY'S. Australia notices a typo on its new $50 note after over 3 years and 480 million prints... 50 astronauts tell us about life in space... What would the world have been like without the Beatles?... They welcomed a robot into their home, now they're mourning its death... A man claims to be the inventor of Bitcoin and is suing those who doubts him... The surreal end of an American college... India's city where people come to die... A Norwegian island wants to get rid of the concept of time... My mom buried my inheritance in the ground...

View 86 Comments