Skull Session: Ryan Day Can Adjust an Offense, Justin Fields Hype, and Top Players at Each State

By Kevin Harrish on August 19, 2019 at 4:59 am
Justin Fields is QB1 in today's skull session.
Ohio State Athletics

There's no better way to start a week than with some Dolodale bombs.


Word of the Day: Whelve.

 HAPPY FIELDS DAY! If you haven't heard the news, that's probably cause it's not 11:15 a.m. yet. I'm not going to steal Ryan Day's thunder for those of you who are not travelers, so we're just going to talk about Justin Fields for absolutely no reason at all.

If he were named Ohio State's starting quarterback today – and I am in no way suggesting we have reason to believe that will be the case! – then it would set up a debut season with hype akin to Braxton Miller or Terrelle Pryor (though Fields isn't going to have to unseat an elder white guy with a high teens number this time).

I mean, he's the highest-rated player ever to sign at Ohio State and folks are still talking about how good he was out of high school.

Now we'll finally get to see it (if he's named the starter!).

I know we've beaten the Justin Fields vs. Trevor Lawrence angle into the ground at this point, but honestly, it's a fair discussion. They were neck-and neck in high school and one of them won a national title in his true freshman season while the other barely cracked the field. Now, we're (maybe!) going to see the other as a starter for the first time.

If they were really that close with some even suggesting Fields might be better... I'll let you decide what that means.

 BEST IN STATE. Ohio State wants to come to your state and take your best player, and so far, it's been working!

Andrew Doughty of compiled a list of the top college players from every U.S. state, with K.J. Hill and Chase Young making the list.


Hometown: Little Rock

The lone Ohio State player from Arkansas, K.J. Hill was the state's top-ranked prospect in the 2015 class and enters his senior season with 141 career receptions and 10 touchdowns.


Hometown: Upper Marlboro

Chase Young was a five-star recruit and had four sacks as a true freshman in 2017 but really exploded onto the scene after Nick Bosa's injury last season. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound potential top-three pick in the 2020 NFL Draft had 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss over Ohio State's final 12 games.

At the risk of giving the "recruit Ohio first!" folks an aneurism on this fine Monday morning, I'd like to calmly point out that Ohio State actually does not currently have the best player from the Great State of Ohio. That honor goes to Joe Bachie of Michigan State.

Granted, some of those same people would have also lost their minds if Ohio State did sign Bachie, the No. 1033 player in the 2016 class. I'm personally fine with how this all turned out.

 RYAN DAY ISN'T AN IDIOT. Dwayne Haskins lit Ohio State's record books ablaze last year with his arm, but often ran like he had cement in his shoes and a clothes hanger up his ass. This year, the Buckeyes are handing the keys to the offense to a dual threat guy who averaged more than 15 carries a game in high school.

If you have any concerns about Ryan Day's ability to adjust his offense to different skillsets, his former quarterbacks at Boston College would like to put your mind at ease.

From Joey Kaufman of the Columbus Dispatch:

“He’s one of those guys who’s very unselfish with his philosophy,” said Tyler Murphy, who was the starting quarterback at Boston College in 2014 when Day was offensive coordinator. “He’s going to do what’s best for the team. He’s not going to implement an offense and say, ‘It’s my way or the highway.’”


Murphy said he expects Day to feature an offense suited to Fields, who is equally skilled as a runner and passer.

When he played for Day at Boston College, Murphy went through a similar experience. He finished as the team’s leading rusher and had 180 carries as a senior in 2014, a significant change from his predecessor, Chase Rettig, who was the starter in Day’s first season there. Rettig had only 60 rush attempts.

The adjustments made Murphy more comfortable. And Day’s flexibility not only helps his teams but makes them more unpredictable to opponents.

“Having that mindset, going into seasons or games, when teams try to game plan for coach Day, they don’t know what team they’re going to get each year,” Murphy said.


“It’s about playing to your strengths,” Rettig said. “What are we going to be good at? What is our roster entailing that we should be good at?”

A strange myth seems to have spawned that Ryan Day's offense works better with a pocket passer at quarterback or that he prefers a pro style to a dual threat quarterback.

The problem with that is the majority of his offenses at the college level have featured a quarterback with more than 100 carries on the season. Also, there are about to be two more of those seasons under Justin Fields (Did I just let that slip? Oh well, must credit Kevin Harrish for breaking the news).

I gather that Day isn't married to any particular style of quarterback besides "extremely good."

He's not the sort of guy who needs a specific type of quarterback to fit his system, and thank God for that, because in my humblest of opinions, if you're an offensive coordinator and you can't win a lot of games with either Dwayne Haskins *or* Braxton Miller at quarterback, your system sucks, and so do you.

 WIN THAT, TOO. My official stance on esports has long been "If we're going to compete, we may as well be the best," and it looks like my beloved alma mater is taking steps to make that happen, building some top-notch facilities for the esports teams.

From Jennifer Smola of the Columbus Dispatch:

The arena, opening early next month will hold an esports facility with more than 80 seats mixed among gaming computers, gaming consoles and virtual-reality systems. It also will feature a broadcast booth for students interested in streaming or covering esports events. The facility is open to all enrolled students.

The arena also will include spaces for Ohio State’s new esports teams, run through the Office of Student Life. Smith said the university expects to start three to four teams this school year — most likely for Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League and Hearthstone games, which are some of the more popular in collegiate esports. 

Those teams will have commitments and expectations just like traditional college varsity sports, he said.

“At the most competitive levels, they’ll go through the same things,” Smith said. “They’ll be recruited, they’ll have tryouts, they’ll have practice and a practice regimen that both allows them to develop as players and as a team.”

I think it'll still be a few years before you see an esports "#BOOM" on our front page, but at this rate, it's gonna happen. And y'all are going to click on it.

 TWO-SPORT ATHLETE? I'm beginning to think that Drue Chrisman may be good at too many things.

I mean...

If soccer season didn't totally conflict with football season, I'd suggest the Ohio State soccer team roll the dice and let him play.

I'm not trying to put anyone on blast here, but they won a single game last season. They're not exactly in a position to be passing up creative opportunities for improvement.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. Mom thought she had kidney stones, but instead gave birth to triplets... French waiter shot dead for being 'too slow with sandwich'... Why some doctors purposely misdiagnose patients... Why stowaway creatures on the moon confound international space law... Having kids makes you happier, but only when they move out...

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