Skull Session: Chris Holtmann Fights to Resurrect the Buckeyes, K.J. Hill Continues to Impress, and Kamryn Babb is Almost Back

By Kevin Harrish on January 23, 2020 at 4:59 am
The Buckeyes are here in today' skull session.

Today is the day. Today is the day the basketball team scores more points than the other basketball team.

Go, basketball team.

Word of the Day: Wizen.

 TAKE NOTES, RYAN DAY. Chase Young set a new Ohio State single-season sacks record this season, but in my extremely inexact and unscientific estimation, he also set a new program record for the number of times he was held without a penalty.

It was frustrating as hell to see Young blatantly held almost every snap, but apparently all Ryan Day had to do to get a call was basically just call the penalties himself.

Day needed to just have an official permanently at his side when Ohio State was on defense.

"No. 2 is going to get held on this play. And the one after that. And also the play after that. And the next drive – he'll get held then, too."

 GETTING OUT OF THE HOLE. If Ohio State basketball has been driving *you* insane the past couple of months, imagine being Chris Holtmann.

Dana O'Neil of The Athletic ($) spent three days with Holtmann and the Buckeyes last week to try to get an understanding of what goes on during a tumultuous time like this. And I'll tell you what – it sounds like Chris Holtmann is doing more than everything he can.

Holtmann was as stunned as anyone at Ohio State’s early run this year. He intentionally built the schedule thinking his team — the youngest he has coached in his career — might benefit from a few early-season lumps. Instead, the whole thing, shall we say, backfired, the Buckeyes collecting wins over a host of brand-name teams. In hindsight, it’s easy to see what happened: Those blue bloods might have had the name, but they weren’t exactly clicking on all cylinders and the wins looked more impressive than they actually were. “You’re practicing and you’re 6-0, 7-0, and you’re trying to preach to them,’’ Holtmann says. “It’s not that they were tuning us out, but I think it all gave us a false sense of where we were.’’ The Buckeyes came back to the mean hard and fast, from averaging 79.1 points in their first two games to 63.5 over their next six, this skid feeling eerily reminiscent to last year’s


... In two days of prepping for Penn State, he opted for upbeat positivity, rather than wallpaper-withering criticism. He’s more of a thinker, the sort who will internalize things until he knots himself into middle-of-the-night wakeups and bouts of insomnia. Frequently he can be found in a separate room in his house, the clock reading 2:30 a.m. as he tinkers with a game plan or gnaws over what he could have done better. These last few weeks have, needless to say, been especially difficult. The practical side of Holtmann knows his team is neither as good as it looked in December nor as bad as it appears right now. Except the practical side can’t overtake the other part of his brain, the one that simply can’t stand losing.

You have to think they're eventually going to get their shit together, but I think everyone is extremely curious to see what caliber of team emerges from the other side.

I've just never before witnessed a team that looks like a legit Final Four team at its best, and a fringe NIT squad at its worst. But I guess we just hope the former shows up when it's tournament time – and that Ohio State actually still makes the tournament, which is somehow a slight concern now.

 CAN'T GUARD KJ? Again, in a shocking bit of news, an Ohio State wide receiver is absolutely dominating at the Senior Bowl down in Mobile, Alabama and opposing corners can't do a damn thing about it.

Hill is very far from the first Buckeye to impress like this in a pre-draft bowl, and passing game quality control coach Keenan Bailey gave us a little peek at why (spoiler: it's not a coincidence that everyone who leaves the program is extremely prepared for the next level).

Needless to say, K.J. Hill is looking like the latest steal in the draft, but NFL teams better act fast though, because the days of getting Buckeye receivers at a discount are probably numbered. Nobody's gonna be sleeping on the seven receivers on the roster rated as top-100 players in the country out of high school.

 B1G REPRESENTATION. It looks like the Big Ten will be strongly represented on the College Football Playoff committee, including the chairman, as John Urschel of Penn State and Iowa athletic director Gary Barta join the ranks.

Hell yeah. Two guys that are going to have to recuse themselves from discussions every time the Buckeyes are brought up. This system is awesome and definitely works with no hitches.

 BABB BACK? Ohio State might be adding another top-100 player at receiver: it seems Kamryn Babb is back, or close to it.

If Babb is healthy, it's like finding $100 in a pants pocket. After he missed two seasons with an injury, I never exactly counted on his return. But if he's good to go, in addition to Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams and the four top-100 freshmen – yeesh.

I mean, Babb was a four-star prospect rated the No. 73 player in the nation. And he's just been chilling on the bench while Ohio State's passing game has been plenty gas without him. This ain't fair.

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