Skull Session: Antonio Pittman Transitions To Life As a Firefighter, a Quiet Streak for Chris Holtmann's Squad, and How Ryan Day's Changed the Offense

By Kevin Harrish on February 17, 2020 at 4:59 am
The Buckeyes are ready to check in in today's skull session.

Asheville survived me.

For those of you who hit me with recommendations, my future (significantly) better half (who ill-advisedly left all of the planning to me) is eternally grateful. Otherwise, we would have had Valentine's Day dinner at Arby's for the second time in our very young relationship.

Also, I would have been looking for a new fiancée, so it's not an overstatement to say you saved our marriage before it started.

Word of the Day: Sanguine.

 HOOK AND LADDER. Antonio Pittman's playing days are over, and now he's giving back to his community, serving as a Columbus Firefighter.

The Akron, Ohio native was then drafted by the New Orleans Saints, but after only a few years in the NFL, he was forced to hang up his cleats early because of a knee injury.

"My goal was just to play football and honestly, I did that. And the dream was to have a ten-year career and to retire at 32 years old and be off in the sunset and just living comfortably. But you know, plans change and in life, you have to adapt to the change," Pittman said.

He says adapting to that change at first wasn't easy. But with the help of a violet township fire lieutenant, Pittman enrolled in the Ohio fire academy.

Now, five years later he's running towards a new goal and living out a new career with the Columbus Division of Fire.

"My goal was to one day give back to a community, a city that's given me so much. A city that changed my whole outlook on life as a kid growing up in Akron," said Pittman.

Pittman is one of the most underrated Buckeyes in my ever-aging-yet-still-youthful memory. It's insane that a guy with back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons isn't remembered more fondly, but I guess that's the curse of playing for a program that immediately replaces greatness with greatness.

Now, ironically, he's stepping into what I'd say is one of the most underappreciated professions there is, because the reality is that nobody thinks about firefighters until their house is ablaze or they need cut out of the car they rolled into a ditch. But much like his playing days, Pittman's gonna deliver whether he gets his deserved appreciation or not.

 OHIO STATE IS... BACK? A week ago, there were folks calling for Chris Holtmann's job with their Twitter fingers (as faceless fans tend to do online), but Ohio State's quietly 5-1 over the last six games and has a computer-swooning resume once again.

I'm not going to hold off on declaring the Buckeyes "back" until they dump Iowa on Thursday night (and hopefully induce another profanity-laced tirade from Fran McCaffery). If they do that and dump Maryland on Sunday, I might be looking into some damn Final Four tickets again.

 THE DAY WAY. Ohio State's offense looked different to the eye this year and it looks different in the stat book as well.

So basically, "Ohio State's primary receiver was Chris Olave instead of Parris Campbell."

I don't think this is necessarily Ryan Day putting "his stamp" on the offense that he also ran the past two years so much as it's proof that he's capable of adjusting his offense based on the weapons he has in his arsenal – which is good news.

 LADIES GETTING IT DONE, TOO. Chris Holtmann's Buckeyes ain't the only ones riding a solid streak on the hardwood, Kevin McGuff's women's hoopsters are currently riding a five-game winning streak highlighted by a comeback road win over No. 20 Indiana.

The Buckeyes got off to a pretty slow start to the season, but that was probably inevitable when 9 of 11 players on the roster are freshmen or sophomores.

From my days on the women's hoops beat, I can tell you that McGuff always says he wants his team playing its best at the end of the season. And as they're fighting for their tournament lives, that's what they've got.

 SHIPPING OUT TO BOSTON. Jeff Hafley is at Boston College now, but that doesn't mean he's done coaching his Buckeyes. Jeff Okudah and Jordan Fuller made the trip to Boston to get some pre-draft work with their old coach.

I eventually go sour and/or lose interest in most Ohio State assistants who go elsewhere (e.g. Herman, Tom) but I can't see that happening with either Hafley or Luke Fickell.

But that probably only stays true as long as they're at a non-threatening program. If Hafley ends up at Penn State or something down the line, I'll want to grind his bones into bread. Fickell avoided that wrath by sticking with Cincinnati.

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