Skull Session: The Buckeyes Are the Most Complete Team, Justin Fields' Running Ability is Unfair, and Ohio State's the Most Likely Playoff Team

By Kevin Harrish on September 30, 2019 at 4:59 am
The Buckeyes are back in black in today's skull session.

Well, well, well – what have we here?

Sorry, FPI. If you didn't like us at our first year head coach and new starter at quarterback, you can't have us at most dominant team in the country.


Word of the Day: Divaricate.

 MOST COMPLETE DAMN TEAM IN THE LAND. We've seen some pretty insane identity extremes from the Buckeyes these past few seasons.

In 2016, we had an offense that never seemed quite right and a ball-hawking defense that featured three first-round picks in the secondary. In 2018, we had the best passing attack in program history, but a defense that got gashed by too many mediocre players to count.

I can't be the only person that's ever fantasized what a Frankenstein monster of those two teams would look like, but I think it'd look something like this.

I've gone back and forth about whether the defense or the offense was the strength of this team, but statistically it really does seem like the answer is just a simple "yes."

 HE CAN RUN, TOO. As lethal as Justin Fields is through the air, it's his legs that absolutely demoralize opposing defenses.

I mean, imagine doing your job completely right, shutting down every receiver on the field, and presumably getting a stop on third down only to watch the quarterback tuck it and glide 10 yards to a first down.

That happened multiple times on Saturday, and it was glorious.

From Doug Lesmerises of

It’s a huge new advantage for the OSU offense, after Haskins ran it just 79 times for 108 yards in 14 games last year.

“I don’t think it’s that much of a difference,” said Dobbins, the running back who put up 177 rushing yards Saturday. “Justin can run a little faster. Dwayne was kind of slow. But it’s the same.”

Ask the Nebraska defenders if it’s the same. They did their job on that first drive, and it didn’t matter.

“There’s plays when they might drop eight or drop too many people in to coverage and he has nowhere to go with the ball,” receiver Austin Mack said. “You see him scramble and get the first down, it’s great.”

“It definitely causes the defense more stress,” Fields said.

Because the defense can do everything right. And that’s still not enough.

I know a lot of folks were concerned in the preseason about how much Fields would run, worried he might get happy feat as a young quarterback with 4.4 speed.

Honestly, through two games, I've heard more complaints that he isn't tucking and running more often, or there aren't more designed quarterback runs, which is a wild change from the J.T. Barrett era.

 YOU CAN'T HAVE HIM! Rutgers ousted Ohio State's former defensive coordinator from his head coaching duties on Sunday, and there's a chance they could try to make a run at Ohio State's current defensive coordinator to replace him.

From Bruce Feldman of The Athletic ($):

Normally for the tougher Power 5 jobs, top coordinators are considered solid options, but because Ash couldn’t get it going at Rutgers, it might be hard for the school to go with a first-time coach again. Still, there are two DCs who could be attractive candidates.

Ohio State co-coordinator Jeff Hafley, 40, is a Jersey native who has emerged as a hot name in coaching circles. He spent the 2011 season as Rutgers’ secondary coach before going with Schiano to Tampa Bay. Unlike Ash, who spent most of his coaching career in the Midwest, Hafley has strong ties in the Northeast and in the Garden State.

Stealing Jeff Hafley away would be undeniably Rutgers' biggest win over Ohio State since college football was invented (by Rutgers, ironically), but I just don't see this happening, mostly because I think Hafley is intelligent enough to realize that ain't the job he wants.

Related, how soon can we get Chris Ash on staff in some sort of low-paying support role so Rutgers can pay him to coach at Ohio State?

 BAG OF BUCKEYES. The traditions run deep at Ohio State, and everyone has their own gameday routine, but this might be the best one I've heard yet.

An underrated part of this story is that Luke Fickell was just furiously looking for a Buckeye before the start of a game to the point that the equipment managers started asking random people for one. And the funny thing is, the odds he still coaches with a Buckeye in his pocket at UC are less than zero.

And some folks think he'd go to Michigan...

 THE DISRESPECT. It's one thing to know you're about to score a touchdown, it's another to point dead at the defender in man coverage you're about to score on.

Meet K.J. Hill, crusher of souls.

The next step is to do this on the 40-yard line.

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