Skull Session: Shaun Wade Has Confidence in the Buckeyes Cornerbacks, Kerry Coombs Rubbed off on Jeff Okudah, and the Basketball Team Looks to Avoid Embarrassment

By Kevin Harrish on January 22, 2020 at 4:59 am
The kicker gets some love in today's skull session.

I greet you this morning with glorious news: #kerrycoombstwitterhashtagsareback

Word of the Day: Chagrin.

 BIA ON DECK. One of my least favorite things that we sports words writers do in the offseason is overdramatize roster attrition as if this the first team in college football history that lost a sizable chunk of its defensive production and there's absolutely no answer for it.

The reality is, that's just how college football works. Players leave, and teams have plans in place to deal with it – it's called recruiting and development. If you do your job in those areas, you replace outgoing talent with new talent without missing a beat.

And it sounds like that's exactly what Shaun Wade expects to happen this year.

Of course, the players who will be stepping in for the departed Buckeyes received plenty of snaps this past season, so that is going to help as well. Cornerbacks Cameron Brown and Sevyn Banks saw more fourth quarters than many fans. Tyreke Johnson is a former 5-star prospect who is about to receive more spring reps than he’s ever had before.

Amir Riep is heading into his senior season and played more snaps on the inside than Banks did on the outside. Safeties Josh Proctor and Marcus Hooker each had at least four games this past season when they played 10 or more snaps.


“They can be great players here,” Wade said. “At the end of the day, they had great players in front of them, but they’re young. They still have time to progress and get better. Sevyn and Cam are going to be some beasts on the outside. Tyreke is going to be a beast on the outside. And you got Amir in the slot and he’s going to be a beast on the inside. And you can never forget about Josh and Marcus. People really sleep on Marcus, so he’s going to be a great, great player too."

And it certainly isn't going to hurt that the "new" defensive coordinator recruited most of these players in the first place. He knows what he's working with, and he knows how to turn them into first-round picks.

 COOMBS STICKS WITH YOU. Kerry Coombs only coached Jeff Okudah for a year when he wasn't even playing in any meaningful capacity. But two years later, Okudah is still referencing his coaching unprompted and with a smile on his face.

I generally couldn't tell you what an instructor taught minutes ago, much less two years ago. So shoutout to Coombs for being one hell of a teacher and Okudah for being one hell of a learner.

 AN END IN SIGHT? The Basketbucks are on the verge of making the bad kind of history, but as Griffin Strom of The Lantern points out, it would take an embarrassing loss to a terrible team for it to happen.

Here’s the bad news for Ohio State men’s basketball: The Buckeyes are on the cusp of matching the two worst seven-game stretches in 16 years, dating back to Jim O’Brien’s final year as head coach.

With another loss, Ohio State will have lost six out of seven games for just the third time since 2003-04. The other time was a season ago, when the Buckeyes won only once in January.

Hope may be on the horizon for the slumping Buckeyes, however, as their next three games against Minnesota, Northwestern and Indiana could allow them to pick up a head of steam and string together multiple sorely needed tallies in the win column.


The Wildcats are the only team lower in the conference standings than Ohio State, and Northwestern’s poor play is no fluke statistically. It stands in the bottom five in the conference in scoring offense and defense, offensive and defensive rebounds, made 3-pointers and most other categories.

No game is won before it’s played, but if Ohio State can’t take care of Northwestern, it will indicate the train is further off the rails than even the stoutest doubters have surmised.

I think that was supposed to make me feel better and more confident about Thursday's game, but instead, it gave me daynightmares featuring a collection of purple-clad scholar-athletes drilling threes like Justin Ahrens against Iowa.

I also find it hilarious that two teams that have already slapped Ohio State within the past five weeks are now being billed as beatable opponents to get the local team back on the right track, especially when Ohio State is only playing worse now than it was then.

If these are the tune-up games, then yikes! Maybe Ohio State just needs to play Villanova every time.

 K.J. – ALL DAY. I don't think K.J. Hill had quite the season he expected after deciding to return for his redshirt senior season (though it's hard to complain too much about breaking an all-time Ohio State record).

But just because the passing game didn't go through him so much doesn't mean he magically got worse at football, and that's become pretty clear this week as he makes folks look silly at Senior Bowl practices.

The last undervalued Ohio State receiver who was unguardable at Senior Bowl practices seems to have done well at the next level...

 FUTURE BUCKEYE? I've got extremely good news – Georgia just landed the top-rated quarterback in the 2021 class.

Personally, I can't wait to see what he does in Ryan Day's offense.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. A man falsely confessed to homicide and was released from jail after 8 months... A man chokes a coyote to death after it attacked a child... A man is killed by a blade-wielding rooster... A wedding is canceled as the groom's father elopes with the bride's mother... The lone resident of the highest village in Europe... A guy registered beer as a service animal...

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