Skull Session: Ohio State's Defense Put in Perspective, The Ridiculous Buckeye Recruiting Class, and The Offensive Line Reconstruction

By Kevin Harrish on July 9, 2019 at 4:59 am
We're flying the Ohio flag in today's skull session.

I never really planned on living to age 25, but here I am. Somehow alive, yet nearer than ever to my eventual demise. I guess everything past this point is bonus time.

Eat at Arby's.


Word of the Day: Birthday.

 ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE. It's a pretty unanimous and good #take that Ohio State's defense was a dumpster fire last season. I mean, it was quite literally the worst defense in program history in quite a few statistical areas.

But hilariously, "quite literally the worst defense in program history" still works out to be "above average" in modern college football.

From Marcus Hartman of the Dayton Daily News:

The 2018 Ohio State defense allowed more points (25.5) and yards (403.4) per game than any unit in school history. Those figures ranked 51st (tied) and 72nd in the nation, though, so from the perspective of the era they look a little better even if they failed to live up to program standards.

Advanced stats from, which exclude stats from garbage time and are adjusted for opponents, had the Ohio State defense 26th nationally, including No. 76 against the run and 62nd against the pass.

They also confirm something obvious to the naked eye: Ohio State’s main problem was allowing too many big plays. While the Buckeyes ranked 37th in success rate, which measures how they performed on a play-to-play basis, they were 118th out of 130 teams in preventing explosive plays.

I don't think anyone is seriously out there pumping this this stat to convince anybody that the defense was fine, actually, but it does ease concerns a little bit.

The new regime doesn't need to fix everything, they just have to figure out how to use the five-star prospects in such a way that does not allow a team that missed a bowl game to pick up yards in 75-yard chunks.

That should not be be an impossible task, alas...

 THIS IS INSANE. Yesterday, I shared news that 247Sports had Brian Hartline as the No. 6 recruiter in college football. It took him about eight hours to make me a liar.

So, let's recap: he's been Ohio State's receivers coach for less than a year and has since landed five top-100 overall prospects at receiver – Jameson Williams, Julian Fleming, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Gee Scott Jr. and Mookie Cooper – including the No. 1 receiver in the 2020 class.

If you think that's absurd, that's because it is.

And they couldn't be more stoked to be playing with each other.

The "there's only one ball!" folks do have a point, but as far as I can tell, there's no rule against scoring every time you touch said ball.

If all goes according to plan, everybody's eating. The number of balls ain't really a concern.

 RECONSTRUCTION BEGINS. I'm typically not too keen on the idea of replacing 4/5ths of the offensive line at any point, but if you've gotta do it, I'd prefer to do it with three guys that have experience as starters and/or a collection of five-star prospects.

So when Greg Studrawa says he's not worried, I kinda buy it.

From Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch:

Only one of Greg Studrawa’s players was a full-time starter in 2018, and that offensive lineman missed spring practice rehabbing from an injury.

Studrawa knows how most college football line coaches facing his scenario would feel a month before the start of training camp.

“I think it’d be somewhere between panic and whatever is worse than panic,” the Ohio State assistant coach said.

But here’s the key: Studrawa laughed as he said it, complete with his characteristic raspiness.

“I’m not worried at all,” he said.


“There’s going to be some tremendous competition, and that’s the No. 1 thing I’m excited about,” Studrawa said. “It’s a good group of guys, too. They get along. They hang out. The camaraderie off the field is off the charts. That’s going to help us. I have no doubt they’re going to be a good unit.”

If you're an elite program, the game these days is losing an absurd amount of talent and somehow getting better the next season. Let's hope that's not out of the question for the offensive line.

 DOLO SPEAKS. Full disclosure, this interview happened last week and I did not see it until now, but this is my show and I'm not missing an opportunity to share Cardale Jones with y'all.

Dolo joined the Carpenter and Rothman show on 97.1 The Fan last week, and was his usual candid self, talking about the quarterback situation, his decision to return to Ohio State for his fourth season, and also cranking slow pitch softball home runs.

They open talking about the Chargers, but he starts talking Buckeyes around the 4-minute mark.

  • Cardale's favorite part of the championship run was just finally having a chance to play, which is hilarious
  • He never understood how big those three games were until looking back on it because it was his first time ever playing.
  • Cardale thinks the game plan would have been the same for the Big Ten title game even if J.T. Barrett were quarterback and it was just a matter of, "we're not slowing down because of you."
  • On why he returned, he said "I didn't want to put myself in position where I'm still learning critical traits of a quarterback going into the biggest stage of football."
  • He said Urban Meyer never promised him the starting job.
  • His mindset was that it was Braxton Miller's starting job in 2015, and he'd have to beat him out.
  • "Never. I would have stayed, no matter what." Cardale Jones said about if the transfer portal was a thing back then. He said had that uncomfortable conversation with Tom Herman and thought for about a week he was going to transfer, but decided to stay.

Nothing but respect for future Ohio State president Cardale Jones.

 GREG ODEN, STILL GOOD. I have received the birthday gift I didn't know I needed – Greg Oden absolutely abusing a 41-year-old large white man on a basketball court like a regular human playing nerf basketball against a fifth grader.

I mean, this should at least get a PG-13 rating.

We were cheated out of a full-length Greg Oden basketball career, but I'm so glad we get at least one summer of him bullying folks in a semi-pro league.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. 3 years and 2600 hours later, a "Mario Maker" player still can't beat his own level... All the businesses you never knew were owned by Amazon... Rebecca Black explains how the infamous "Friday" song was made... The curious case of the socialite who sterilized her daughter... DNA data storage is closer than you think... 

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