Skull Session: How Chase Young Became an Elite Pass Rusher, Putting Michigan in Its Proper Context, and LeCharles Bentley's Journey From Future Hall of Famer to Slob Whisperer

By Kevin Harrish on October 24, 2019 at 4:59 am
The Buckeyes are singing carmen Ohio in today's skull session.

I hope you attack your Thursday with fewer worries than Mike Conley making his Jazz debut.


Word of the Day: Argute.

 MAKING A PREDATOR. A little over a year ago, Nick Saban dropped what might be one of my favorite college football quotes of all time, when asked about whether he worries about his team's depth.

“You all just think, whatever happens, we just shit another player and everything’s going to be perfect.”

It's hilarious because it's true. We see almost nothing besides the finished product of a player for what's usually a relatively brief time in the starting lineup. And when he leaves due to graduation, the NFL or injury, we drag out the 'ole next man up! mentality and expect the following fellow to be just as good – or better.

I mean, we even have a shirt that says "We Don't Have Backups Just More Starters."

The thing is, we're usually right in terms of talent – Bosa to Bosa to Chase Young, Braxton to J.T. to Dwayne to Fields, Apple to Conley/Lattimore to Okudah, etc. – bu that mentality allows us to lose a whole lot of appreciation for each individual person, their journey and their impact on Ohio State. Everyone one just becomes replaceable.

I'm guilty of that myself, even with a few of the guys I just listed. I don't want to do that with Chase Young, so I'm extremely grateful for Pete Thamel's deep dive on how Young became the pass rusher we now know as The Predator.

From Thamel of Yahoo! Sports:

Nick Bosa laughed on the other end of the phone. He knew the question was coming and chuckled upon its arrival. He’d grown up in the five-star shadow of his brother, Joey, so he’s had years of refining his dodging technique. “Chase can be as good as he wants,” Nick Bosa said. “I don’t want to compare.”


Nick Bosa most appreciated how Young’s desire to learn and grow into a star matched his physical promise, as he jokes Young showed up at “270 pounds with a six pack.” After a lifetime as Joey’s little brother, Nick enjoyed the role reversal in mentoring Young.

“He saw me as a role model, I guess, which was cool,” Nick Bosa said. “I was always looking up to people. To have someone younger than me looking up to me was cool.”


It has become a perfect marriage of teacher and student, as Hafley calls (Larry) Johnson one of the best pass-rush coaches he’s ever been around. Young has evolved from a raw athlete to a nuanced pass rusher, mastering techniques like Johnson’s trademark side-scissoring the offensive lineman’s hands away to be able to turn his hips and flip to the quarterback. “That’s why some guys make $30 million and some guys don’t,” said Meyer, now a Fox analyst, of Young’s hips. “Chase has the speed, size and flexibility.

The whole piece is a fantastic read, touching on Young's incredible discipline as a child, his extremely varied athletic resume, his recruitment, his time at Ohio State, and even his good friend Markelle Fultz (Yes, that Markelle Fultz).

He's special, and that started long before he ever cracked Ohio State's defensive line rotation, and it's going to continue long after he's done wearing the Scarlet and Gray.

 “REALLY GOOD, NOT OHIO STATE GOOD.” For as long as I've been college football alive, I've been listening to Michigan fans cry about wanting to get back to their former glory.

Now, I don't personally remember Michigan ever being great or elite. That's never happened in my lifetime, though I am only a quarter century old. However, the "When Will Michigan Be Back?" thing is so mainstream that I allowed myself to assume Michigan was actually great at one point.

As Joel Klatt points out, I was wrong.

"(Harbaugh) has returned Michigan to exactly where they have been historically."

That's going to cut deep into the hearts of some Michigan faithful, but it's almost undeniably true. Michigan hasn't been at Ohio State's level since before World War II. They have half a national title in that span and a fairly lopsided losing record against the Buckeyes.

That's why it really doesn't make a ton of sense to expect Jim Harbaugh to lead Michigan somewhere that it's never been. Shit, even if he brought them back to the glory days of the Bo Schembechler era, that still means no national titles for another two decades.

It's hilarious that Harbaugh hasn't won shit for five years at Michigan, but maybe it shouldn't be exactly shocking.

 GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. Cole Van Lanen is the unfortunate fellow tasked with blocking Ohio State's lab experiment this week. He may very well have an NFL future (Evan Flood of Badger 247 has him as Wisconsin's third-best NFL Draft prospect this season), but is he ready block a guy that could star in the league tomorrow?

Well, no.

Derrik Klassen of

Van Lanen isn’t built to handle a player like Young. Well, no offensive tackle is really built to handle Young, but Van Lanen is particularly exploitable for a fellow as fast as Young. Van Lanen is a massive 6-foot-5 and 315-pounds with long arms and a thick torso. In the run game, Van Lanen’s hulking size is advantageous, but it can be a burden in pass pro because he does not carry all that weight particularly well. The Badger tackle often takes very short, quick pass sets and ends up panning his “camera” away from the quarterback to shove pass-rushers wide of the pocket. Against a lot of college pass-rushers, that’s fine. Against Young, it’s asking to get torched in a split second.

Here is a good example of Van Lanen getting beat because of his short set. Van Lanen does not gain much depth off the snap, which leaves him turning quite dramatically to the arc to match the pass-rusher. While Van Lanen is trying to turn outside and lunge his hands forward to connect with the pass-rushers’s chest, the Michigan State gets his arms over Van Lanen’s and chops down. The chop not only costs Van Lanen his point of contact, but he loses all sense of balance, giving way for the pass-rusher to breeze on by for an easy sack. If a run-of-the-mill Michigan State defensive end can make it look this smooth versus Van Lanen, Young could be in for quite a day. 

"Oh. Oh no." - Jack Coan, probably.

There are a loooooooot weaknesses Chase Young could expose in a pass blocker, but "slow off the ball" is probably the top way to get your quarterback murdered. Based on that lumbering fellow's tape, there's a real chance Young will be past him before he can even move his feet.

Can a referee just deem it unsafe to play quarterback for Wisconsin and call the game? Cause that might be something they should at least consider.

 THE SLOB WHISPERER. LeCharles Bentley quest to become one of the top offensive linemen in football history hit an abrupt snag, so he just diverted course and and set out to become the best offensive line coach in football history instead.

Here's a stellar look at Bentley's journey, complete with cameos from Pat Eflein, Isaiah Prince and Jamarco Jones.

LeCharles Bentley : Offensive Line :: Larry Johnson : Defensive Line. That dude is a proper legend.

 TODAY I LEARNED. I like to think myself decently well-versed on Ohio State lore and tradition, but every now and then one catches me off guard.

Today, I humbly admit I had no idea this was even a thing:

Shoutout to TBDBITL for being more tradition rich than some entire universities.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. EMT suffers a stroke driving an ambulance and the colleague responding had an aneurysm... A study finds chocolate chip cookies are as addictive as cocaine... An inmate fed iguanas to an alligator at a jail zoo... The untold story of a secret mission to seize Nazi map data... 

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