Skull Session: Joey Galloway's Massive Fireworks Display, Ohio State's Elite-Yet-Simple Defense, and a Potential Home-and-Home with Michigan

By Kevin Harrish on July 6, 2020 at 4:59 am
O is here in today's skull session.

Welcome back online. I hope your weekend brought you all plenty of freedom, meat, alcohol and explosives.

Word of the Day: Cantankerous.

 A TRADITION LIKE NO OTHER. With many official fireworks displays canceled all across the country, I hope all of y'all had a neighbor like Joey Galloway, who had his usual military-quantities of colorful sky explosives.

Better yet, I hope you were the neighbor like Joey Galloway.

In any case, I hope you all had a fun, happy and safe Independence Day that involved only the correct amount of alcohol and fire.

 JUST PLAIN BETTER. Turns out, there's a really simple reason why Ohio State had the best defense in the country last year – they were just better than everyone they faced, and they knew it.

The first thing you notice in watching through OSU film in 2019, is that the down, distance, and game situation has almost zero bearing on how the Buckeyes line up to play defense. When huddles break and cadences begin, Quarterbacks and Offensive Coordinators will be looking at the same picture:

There will be an overhang [OLB/Safety] outside of the box on either side, pressed corners, 4 down linemen and a safety standing between the goalposts.

Many teams like to disguise the shell and rotation of the safeties, just to plant a small seed of doubt. It is rare for teams that play with a single high safety present it to you directly. Ohio State wants you to know, they play Cover 1 and Cover 3.


... While it may lack imagination, it is clear that the objective is to deny the run at all costs, play aggressively against quick passes underneath, and dare offenses to withstand the pass rush in order to take deep shots on the outside. Not every team can roll this out and expect to be as dominant defensively as OSU was in 2019, but these are the foundational pieces of every defense, and when you’re better than your competition, it often serves to design your scheme as such.

So basically what I'm piecing together here is that "literally tell the other team what coverage you're going to run" was the solution to all of Ohio State's defensive woes and it took completely overhauling the defensive staff to figure that out.

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss, because now I just want to slowly walk into the ocean with cement-filled boots.

 STILL GOT IT. Not every loud noise heard this weekend was a colorful sky explosion. Some were from Ohio State's largest son proving he can still dunk like a little kid on a Nerf rim.

The dunk is money, obviously, but the fact that the regular-sized human in the video is trailing Dawand tells me that all 360 pounds of Big Thanos probably broke that poor lad's ankles a few seconds earlier. Now, *THAT* is what I want to see on tape.

 FYI, FWIW. I'm generally a skeptic when it comes to "insider info" of pretty much any kind, but I'm also a human football-enjoyer who can't help but fancy a good rumor every now and again.

And SI Michigan writer Michael Spath has the goods this time.

Based off everything I've heard, I'll summarize what I expect for 2020:

• I expect Michigan to play football this fall. 

• I expect that U-M will play fewer than the 12 games on its schedule and that the trip to Washington and the Arkansas State game will be either canceled outright or replaced by Mid-American Conference opponents. 

• I expect Michigan to play at least one home-and-home and potentially two or more with other Big Ten teams, most likely Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State. I expect Notre Dame to be a very real possibility as a fill-in game because of the location and access via buses. 

• I expect that if Michigan holds in-person classes student-athletes will be required to attend them just like normal students, however, I do believe that there will be specific student-athlete dorms on campus, with all the fall sports teams (including upperclassmen) to live in the dorms. 

• I expect at least one Big Ten program not to play football this fall and as many as four or five. I think there is a chance for a four-team Big Ten championship bout to be played in December with the teams staying put in one city/hotel all two weeks. 

• I expect the other fall sports, field hockey, golf, soccer and cross country to play but have entirely regional schedules with no flights whatsoever. I'm not sure about volleyball. 

• I don't expect fans to be in attendance at any sporting event that is not football. 

I feel like I have to express that I truly have no idea who this Michael Spath fellow is or if his information is legit, but you can go ahead and consider me intrigued as hell about a potential home-and-home with Michigan.

It would be pretty weird and unconventional and it would feel wrong in many ways, but that's all kinda par for the course in 2020, isn't it? If things are going to get weird this fall, I'm totally down with things getting "kick Michigan's ass multiple times in one season" weird.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Pressure to Party" by Julia Jacklin.

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