Skull Session: Dwayne Haskins' Poise, Michigan's Goals Remain the Same, and Big Ten Coaches Remember Assistant Days

By Kevin Harrish on July 26, 2019 at 4:59 am
Just a couple of mensches in today's skull session.

Javontae said it best. I have nothing more to add.


Word of the Day: Taciturn.

 “THE POISE FACTOR.” Dwayne Haskins started only 14 college football games before making the jump to the NFL, but just a few practices in he seems to be already comfortable.

From Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:

“I think the one thing that you can’t gauge — and it’s still early — but it’s the poise factor,” (Jay) Gruden told reporters. “I think he’s got great poise for a young player. You watch him in college, he had great poise. He played at Ohio State and he had some big-time games and the poise he displayed in the pocket carried over to the OTAs. People were around him, I know he knew he wasn’t getting hit, but still, his ability to move his feet in the pocket, kept his eyes downfield, and make plays outside of the pocket was very exciting. I think he’s got a great demeanor about himself. I don’t think he lets one play affect his next play, which is very very important for a quarterback in the National Football League.”

Gruden didn’t give a straight answer when asked about the strategy for splitting reps among the various quarterbacks.

“I think we just have to play it out,” he said. “I think we just have to be aware of making sure people get challenged in critical situations, as well as first, second down, throwing a bootleg — got to make sure we push the pocket a little bit, get them some drops and some throws against us in pass rush, and some different looks. So, it’ll be a good challenge for us. I think, obviously, that’s the number one challenge that we have as a staff going into this season is to make sure we get those guys the reps and give them ample opportunity to succeed and show that they’re the starter.”

Yeah, poise and comfort are never going to be a problem with him. He's definitely not the type of guy who lacks confidence. I mean, he uncorked this almost as soon as he went into his first meaningful action in the biggest game of his life up to that point:

It still feels good.

He ain't Daniel Jones, but the Redskins have to be happy with what the got.

 NOTHING'S CHANGED. I deliver you the breaking news of the offseason: Michigan will still try to beat Ohio State even though Ryan Day is the head coach instead of Urban Meyer.

From Isaiah Hole of Wolverines Wire:

“Urban Meyer was a great coach,” senior VIPER Khaleke Hudson said. “He made that team (win), he led them to the College Football Playoffs and to championships.

“The guy they got coming in, Ryan Day – feel like he’s a good coach. It’s not gonna change nothing we do. Whatever coach they have – our goal’s gonna be the same every year: to beat them. No matter if they change their coach two more times before we play them, we’re gonna have the same goal of coming out on top.

“I can’t speak for other teams, I can only speak for us. But I feel like that’s where we’ll take it.”

But is there an increased sense of urgency this year, due to the coaching turnover? Not exactly, Hudson says.

“We felt like it was our time even when he was there,” Hudson said. “I feel like after the change, the goal is still the same: just come out on top and beat them. The coach is just their coach. The players are on the field playing.”

First off, it's hilarious that a 21-year-old can speak more eloquently about a rival than his own head coach, but I guess given the circumstances and the parties involved, that should be expected.

Second, it's all fine and good that Ryan Day's arrival and Urban Meyer's departure isn't going to change your approach or preparation, but maybe something should. I mean, your program has lost seven-straight in this rivalry and the current regime is 0-4. Maybe consider doing something different? I don't know.

“We felt like it was our time even when he was there.“ Well, it pretty resoundingly was not.

 I WANNA GO BACK. Ryan Day's making the leap from the assistant coaching ranks to a head coach, so my pal Tony Gerdeman of The Ozone gave the other Big Ten coaches a chance to reminisce about their assistant coaching days.

“I miss the relationships with the players,” said Nebraska head coach Scott Frost. “I miss being in a position meeting room, looking in their eyes and developing that close bond. As a head coach, you’re a CEO, you’re overseeing things. You don’t get to spend as much one-on-one time with the players. That was a lot of fun as an assistant.”


“I missed being able to just walk away from certain things because not everything was something I had to worry about,” (Indiana coach Tom Allen) said. “Now you can’t walk away from anything. That part I do miss. It’s 24/7, 365 constant. That’s part of it, I embrace it, I understand that. But there is no doubt that when you get put in this position, your life changes. So I do miss that, but I stayed in the role. There’s a lot of great things with being a head coach too. Like anything else, there’s pros and cons to everything. But I definitely miss the lack of pressure with everything.”

Ironically, Minnesota’s PJ Fleck said he missed coaching most when he become a head coach.

“Our profession’s crazy. As an assistant coach, 95% of your job is coaching,” he said. “Once in a while you’re going to have this type of meeting or once in a while you’re going to have this personnel meeting, but you’re literally coaching and you’re going to have your group of 10 guys or whatever it is. When you become a head coach, 95% of your job has nothing to do with the coaching part, and it’s crazy.

“I think that’s the hardest thing – being in that closed position meeting with just your guys. You can do that as a head coach, but I consider that micro-managing and stepping on an assistant coach’s toes at times. I want my coaches to coach, work, build relationships, and run their rooms.”

I have a hunch Ryan Day is going to have to ease into full CEO mode, because you know damn well he's not giving up full control of the offense or the quarterbacks – and nor should he, in this humble blogger's opinion.

That's another reason it's nice to have the infrastructure of Mark Pantoni, Mickey Marotti and Ryan Stamper still on staff. It should help make that transition an little more gradual if it needs to be.

As an aside, given what these guys said, I wonder what it's like to go from head coach back to assistant coach?

*checks Twitter*

Oh, yes. Just like that.

 BRUTUS STRONG. Some of y'all might remember the story of former Brutus Buckeye Gabe Gemberling, who openly taunted cancer, beat it, then kept right on being Brutus.

Well his badassery didn't stop there. He used his story to encourage folks that even Brutus battles cancer – and wins.

From Maria Durant of ABC6:

"My favorite memory as Brutus was at the Rose Bowl," said Gemberling.

It was at that game, last season that still gets him choked up. There he met a young girl who was at the game as part of the Make a Wish Foundation. She was suffering from Osteosarcoma.

"I got to go talk to her and I couldn't talk as Brutus obviously, that's the number one rule, you don't speak," said Gemberling.

But Brutus' handler did the speaking for him. Telling the girl that Brutus knew exactly what she was going through. That's because just a few months before the game, Gabe beat this rare disease.

"We just told her don't give up. Look at me now, I'm here as Brutus," he said.

Now cancer free, Gabe is prepping to ride 100 miles on his bike in Columbus' annual Pelotonia with seven other Brutus Buckeye alums, including Jeremy Hitchens, who is currently battling a rare form of cancer himself.

Folks, don't mess with Brutus.

 KYLE JONES ON FINEBAUM. If you didn't hear on the Twitters, we had an Eleven Warriors first yesterday when our resident scheme-knower Kyle Jones made an appearance on The Paul Finebaum Show (sans Finebaum, but it still counts).

It's pretty hilarious that the first time one of us is invited on the Finebaum show is to talk about Michigan football, but I guess we'll take what we can get.

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