Skull Session: Ohio State Football in a Golden Age, Luke Fickell Blasts Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, and Terry McLaurin is Scary Good

By Kevin Harrish on August 14, 2019 at 4:59 am
Whose head is this in today's skull session?
Ohio State Athletics

Another day, another Twitter gem from Drue Chrisman.

As someone paid a full-time salary to be good at being online, I have absolutely no idea how Drue Chrisman is so good at being online.


Word of the Day: Stupefy.

 GOOD LUCK, RYAN DAY! All new coaches feel pressure, but it's almost always the "our team is ass, fix it" kind of pressure and not "things have literally never been consistently better, keep it this way" pressure.

Ryan Day's situation is... unique.

As someone who suddenly got handed thousands of daily readers on the most successful Ohio State site in existence, taking over for a proper legend I spent years admiring – I get it. Ryan Day, we are basically twins.

The good news is, it's not like Day has to start from scratch. He's inheriting one of the most talented rosters in Ohio State history, a collection of top-tier assistant coaches and Urban Meyer's entire support staff.

 MEYER TO USC TALK. The offseason topic that won't seem to die is whether or not a guy who currently does not coach football would want to coach a team that currently has a different head football coach after a season that hasn't even started yet.

From Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports:

“I just don’t see how he sits out the rest of his life,” said one former colleague of Meyer’s. “That’s who he is, that’s what he does.”

The colleague cautioned, though, that Meyer wouldn’t come back for a second-tier job. He’s accustomed to driving Cadillacs, not Kias.

“It would have to be the perfect place,” the colleague said. “He’s not going to North Carolina State or Pittsburgh or something like that. It has to be a legit job where he can win it all. USC, to me, is that type of place.”


“Maybe the next stop is the NFL?” he said. “He’s had some disciplinary decisions he’s had to make, or not make, and those were uncomfortable for him. In the NFL, the owner or Roger Goodell is handling discipline. Maybe they could protect him a little bit.”

Look, I have no idea if Urban Meyer is ever going to coach again, but from the sound of it, Anonymous Former Colleague knows about as much as I do.

I'm not doubting that Forde talked to one of Meyer's former colleagues, but Meyer has literally hundreds of former colleagues. It's possible it's someone that knows him intimately and speaks to him often, but based on these extremely speculative quotes, it's way more likely to be someone he hasn't spoken to in years.

And why are they given anonymity? We're talking about whether a retired man wants to go back to work, not government secrets. I have my concerns with someone acting this Deep Throat about something so trivial.

Maybe Meyer does end up coaching USC next season, but nothing this shadowy individual said convinces me that he has any inside information about that. It's only slightly more convincing than Zach Smith's "the mailman told me that he delivered Meyer mail from USC."

 FIERY FICKELL. I think it's safe to say Luke Fickell now has a hatred for Michigan and Jim Harbaugh that goes far beyond a football rivalry.

The now Cincinnati head coach had some strong words to say about the way Michigan and Jim Harbaugh have been handling and discussing transfer offensive lineman James Hudson's immediate eligibility waiver, essentially accusing them of working against Hudson's best interest by not supporting his waiver.

From Justin Williams of The Athletic ($):

“Here’s what I believe in the whole waiver process: the number one, most important thing, and all the power, comes from the school that a kid is leaving. No matter what,” Fickell told The Athletic. “(Michigan) didn’t back the waiver. They can say what they want to say, but the only thing they said that was positive was that if the NCAA chooses to make (Hudson) eligible, then they would accept it — that they didn’t have an angle. They are just trying to cover their ass. And I’m really, completely disappointed in it.

“They can say they didn’t undermine it, but they didn’t work to help the kid out.”


“All the power is in the hands of the school a player is leaving. If they want to help, they can help them become eligible,” he said.

Fickell pointed to UC transfer Kyriq McDonald, who received immediate eligibility due in large part to Alabama supporting a “run-off” waiver, and Blue Smith, who was ruled immediately eligible last week after Ohio State submitted a waiver on his behalf in accordance with NCAA bylaw 14.7.2 (a).

“What Alabama did, what Ohio State did, they didn’t have to,” Fickell said.

The point that Fickell makes here is that while Michigan may have technically been cooperative and not necessarily stood in the way of Hudson's waiver, they certainly weren't helpful. You can debate whether or not that would make a difference, but Fickell certainly seems to think it does, based on his experience with Ohio State and Alabama.

The rest of the article is a fascinating read. Fickell had about 750 words of spicy quotes that I'm not going to repost here, mostly because there's way too much and I honor the sanctity of the paywall, but if you have a subscription this is absolutely worth the read.

Basically, Fickell went nuts. He talked about what he describes as a "really cold" conversation with Jim Harbaugh about Hudson's and reveals that he had similar (but presumably more pleasant and normal) conversations with Ryan Day and Nick Saban that were much more productive.

Fickell also railed Michigan for essentially putting Hudson – who his mother claims tried to express his depression to Harbaugh – in isolation after he entered the transfer portal, removing his roommate due to an unsubstantiated rumor and cutting off all contact with the team.

Basically, Fickell went scorched Earth on Harbaugh and Michigan in a way I've never seen an active head coach do on the record.

Harbaugh, who was also quoted in the article, read it all, and responded:

Again, I have never in my life seen a coach publicly blast another coach or program quite like Fickell did here. I'm not going to pretend to know the full truth of this situation, but I'm fascinated one way or another.

 SCARY (GOOD) TERRY. I always said my favorite part of Terry McLaurin moving on up to the NFL would be watching vicariously as an entirely new fanbase gradually falls in love with him.

We ain't even to the regular season yet and it's already better than I expected.

From Ben Krimmel of 106.7 The Fan:

When asked by The Sports Junkies which receiver had made the most big plays in training camp, 106.7 The Fan Redskins reporter Craig Hoffman was quick to answer: Terry McLaurinand it's "not even close."

"His speed matters," Hoffman said Monday. 

"He's way better as a receiver than I think they imagined. And we'll see if it can carry over to games, but in practice, his ability to run away from people, whether it is vertically or horizontally across the field, has led to more big plays than any other receiver," Hoffman added.

Cam Sims was also mentioned as being a big-play receiver in camp thus far, but McLaurin is the "runaway favorite" in that category.

"I think they are, almost, a little freaked out with how good he is," Hoffman said on The Fan. "They drafted him with the idea that he was the best special teams player in the draft, who would be a rotation-level receiver in the first couple years of his career, at the very least, his rookie year. And he's going to wind up starting at receiver and maybe being their best one."

I can't wait to see their reaction to the first time he decleats multiple defenders on the same play, because you know damn well it's coming.

 TATE TO STAY? When Tate Martell wasn't named Miami's starter, I think most folks expected an imminent reunion with the 'ole transfer portal.

I really wanted to call that assumption "unfair," but you know, when you look at all the evidence – a cryptic snapchat from a teammate, the report that he didn't practice after the decision, the way his departure went down at Ohio State – I get it.

But much to the surprise of those speculators, it looks like Tate is staying put. He practiced with the team on Tuesday and both his coaches and teammates expect him to remain with Miami.

From David Furones of the Sun Sentinel:

“Everything was pretty clear that he was with us," said Diaz at the Hurricanes’ Media Day on Tuesday, of a private meeting with Martell on Monday. “We told them [Martell and Perry] right now that we felt it was too close to call for who the backup would be, so we want both of those guys to fight that out to find out. I know it’s the old story, but you’re a snap away.”

Two teammates who are close to Martell after playing high school football with him at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, tight end Brevin Jordan and Bubba Bolden, also relayed confidence that he’ll stick around in Coral Gables.

“I talked to Tate last night. I was with him last night, and he seemed positive he seemed like he was in a good place and he’s just trying to come out and just help in any type of way," said Bolden, who transferred in from USC. "He realizes where he’s at. He knows that it’s a long season, anything could happen. He’s next man up, you know. Most definitely he’s going to stay.”

Jordan was not as certain but still optimistic.

“He’s in good spirits right now. I mean, I don’t know his plans," Jordan said. "He’s on the team. He’s here at the University of Miami, and that’s all that really matters right now.”

At this point, staying is the best move, even if he is planning to move on at the end of the season. It's not like he'd be eligible if he tried to go elsewhere (though really, who even knows that for sure these days).

His best chance to play at all this season is at Miami, even as a backup. And honestly, there's a solid chance we see him.

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