Skull Session: Urban Meyer Not a Fan of the Transfer Portal, What History Says About the Buckeyes This Season, and Lane Kiffin Praises Justin Fields

By Kevin Harrish on August 26, 2019 at 4:59 am
Ryan Day is giddy to begin the season in today's skull session.

The rumors are true – Buckeye football is back this week.

But if you're looking for your regular in-season Monday press conference, you'll be waiting an extra 24 hours cause Ryan Day's a Tuesday guy.


Word of the Day: Picayune.

 ANTI-PORTAL. It looks like Urban Meyer picked a great time to get out of the coaching game because he is not a fan of the transfer portal.

Here's what he had to say about the transfer quarterback fad on his Fox Sports' football kickoff show:

“After Week 5 with Dwayne Haskins, I’m walking off the practice field. Ryan Day, Mark Pantoni, our director of recruiting comes up, says ‘We need to start watching other quarterbacks in case Dwayne (Haskins) leaves. It just didn’t feel right. It feels like free agency. We’re in there watching players from every team, every week. So I’m watching Justin Fields, Jalen Hurts, Brandon Wimbush, other quarterbacks. That doesn’t feel right. It’s alarming.”

I don't know exactly how Meyer would have played the transfer portal if he were still the head coach, but I have a hard time pretending one of the most competitive guys on the planet – a guy who used the phrase "as long as they’re keeping score, we want to try to win" last week in retirement – is cool to just let everyone else have an advantage without using it himself.

I'm not calling him a liar – I totally believe him when he says he didn't like it and that it's "alarming." But the thing is, just because it "didn't feel right" doesn't mean he wouldn't have done it. Cause when push comes to shove, I'd bet it would feel a lot less right to let a generational talent with his wet dream of a skillset slip through his fingers to a rival, especially if Pantoni and Day are on board with the move.

As for Fields, as long as Ryan Day were still around – and there's a very good chance he would be, given that Gene Smith essentially confirmed he was already named Ohio State's head coach in waiting – he'd still be a Buckeye.

Maybe I'm totally wrong and the "Urban Meyer is still Ohio State's head coach" multiverse includes a Scarlet and Gray clad Tate Martell hoisting a Heisman Trophy in December, but I think QB1 would still be Fields in Meyer stayed another year.

 NOT UNCHARTED. Replacing a hall of fame head coach and a starting quarterback in the same offseason and still starting the season as a top-five team seems like a pretty rare situation.

It's not entirely unique, but the youngest person on Earth alive that was alive to see it last time is now old enough to legally consume alcohol.

That was also Frank Solich's debut season as a head coach. He was promoted from an assistant coach – like Ryan Day – after Nebraska became the one-true 1997 national champion and Tom Osborne rode off into the sunset.

That's not exactly a great omen.

That team went 9-4. If Ryan Day goes 9-4 this season, folks will be burning him in effigy in front of Gene Smith's office. If you don't believe me, you clearly don't spend enough time online.

Nebraska also used three quarterbacks that season (again, the WHAC would be razed), but one of them went on to win the Heisman Trophy three season's later. So I guess if – God forbid – this is history completely repeating itself, congrats on the 2022 Heisman Trophy, Justin Fields!

 FRESHWATER FIELDS. As if Florida Atlantic's revolving door defense weren't welcoming enough for Justin Fields, Lane Kiffin is actually quite practiced at breaking in five-star dual-threat quarterbacks in their first start – he graciously gave Heisman winner Kyler Murray his first W last season.

From Jake Elman of the Palm Beach Post:

... At this time a year ago, Kiffin needed to prepare his team for Murray, a former top recruit who began his career at Texas A&M but entered 2018 with only 21 throws in a Sooners uniform.

Now, Kiffin is preparing his team for Fields, a sophomore who threw 39 passes at Georgia last year and then joined Ohio State in the offseason.

“They’re like that as far as being from another school without a ton of film, but very different players, obviously, just based off of size,” Kiffin said Sunday.


He can do it all,” Kiffin said of Fields. “He can throw and he can run; he can give you a lot of issues.”

Fields threw for 328 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions at Georgia last year. He also ran for 266 yards and four touchdowns on 42 carries.

Kyler Murray went 9-for-11 for 209 yards and two touchdowns before handing the sticks over to Ohio State fan-favorite Austin Kendall to cap off the 63-14 massacre.

It's crazy that Kiffin has to start the season against the eventual Heisman Trophy winner for the second-straight year. But the good news is FAU opens at Minnesota next year, so he'll get a little respite there, unless that boat gets rowing real quick.

 WATCH OUT JUSTIN FIELDS. Transfer portal be damned, Ohio State's cheerleading squad has the answer to the Buckeyes' quarterback depth concerns, and her name is Keyli.

Who knew "quarterback trainer" was part of Tyreke Johnson's skillset. If the whole five-star defensive back thing doesn't work out for him, I'm sure there's some way to market his ability to teach a cheerleader to throw a football.

Also, shouts to Keyli and all, but we're just going to completely ignore the girl running a perfect route, snagging a ball above her head with no issues, and turning upfield to the crib like she's Mike Thomas? She needs Zone-6'd.

 BEST DAMN FOOD IN THE LAND. Ohio Stadium's got some new concessions for this football season and based on what I'm seeing, all season's ticket holders are going to be needing a exercise plan real quick.

I'd tell you not to watch this video on an empty stomach, but it won't matter. You'll be salivating regardless.

I don't know when football concessions became better cuisine than most actual restaurants I frequent, but sign me the hell up for chicken tenders covered in waffle batter as I watch the Bucks nuke whichever hapless squad happens to be on the docket.

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