Skull Session: Ohio State Can't Look Past Maryland, Tommy Eichenberg Should Be An All-American and the Buckeyes Need to Replicate a Play From the 2014 B1G Title Game

By Chase Brown on November 18, 2022 at 5:00 am
Tommy Eichenberg

Well, folks. Twitter may be dead in the water.

If it does eventually die, I'll take my Ohio State coverage, including live coverage of games, over to Facebook. After all, I used to do that when I was 12 years old.

Whatever happens to the Ol' Blue Bird, I'll still write 5 a.m. Skull Sessions, breaking news and all that jazz for Eleven Warriors Dot Com. I hope you stick around.

Let's have a good Friday, shall we? 

(That goes for everyone except GINNandjuice. I can't tell them what to do.)

 URBAN ANALYSIS. As Ohio State approaches its final day before playing Maryland, it's hard not to focus on what lies ahead with The Game on Nov. 26. However, the Buckeyes must take care of business against the Terrapins before they can fix their eyes on the Wolverines.

On an episode of Urban Analysis on the Big Ten Network, Urban Meyer – who was a perfect 7-0 against Michigan during his tenure as Ohio State's head coach – spoke to how Ryan Day and his staff must balance their gameplan of defeating Maryland while also preparing themselves for a top-three showdown with Michigan next weekend.

The most important words Meyer offers in the clip are these:

"The coaches are not telling you the truth if they're not at least aware of that game ... But you have an obligation to those players to get them ready for this game coming up."

This week, I believe Ryan Day has kept Maryland at the front of his mind as Ohio State approaches its matchup with the Terrapins on Saturday. He understands that Taulia Tagovailoa, even while battling through injury, is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the Big Ten in an offense full of weapons, so the Buckeyes will need to be ready for anything.

Until time runs out in the Maryland game on Saturday, Ohio State's main goal should be to beat the Terps. Once the clock hits triple zeroes, it's officially Hate Week, and the Buckeyes are coming for blood against the Wolverines.

 A BIG TEN LINEBACKER. On his weekly radio show with 97.1 The Fan, Day was very complimentary of Tommy Eichenberg's play this season, claiming that all of Eichenberg's characteristics make him the perfect fit for Ohio State's defense.

"I guess you could say he's the prototypical Big Ten linebacker. He's strong, powerful, productive, tough and can process high levels of information."

It's amazing, really. For most of last year, Eichenberg was one of the most talked about players – if not the most talked about player – on that side of the ball for Ohio State. And for many not-so-great reasons. However, what the Cleveland native displayed in a 17-tackle performance against Utah in the Rose Bowl and has since shown in 10 games this season has made him a fan favorite in Buckeye Nation.

Not only is Eichenberg Ohio State good, or Big Ten good. He is NCAA good. In 2022, Eichenberg has been one of the best linebackers in the nation statistically, with 92 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, one interception, two pass breakups and a defensive touchdown. The advanced metrics of Pro Football Focus also make the same claim:

Call it the Jim Knowles' effect because whatever serum the Mad Scientist concocted has worked. Knowles nudged Eichenberg in the right direction, and it's led to tremendous results. As a product of those results, Eichenberg – at least in my book – is on pace for an All-American season for the Buckeyes. Who would have thought?

 BUTT'S BREAKDOWN. Well, would you look at this? An Ohio State run play out of the pistol... except it was eight years ago... in the 2014 Big Ten Championship against Wisconsin – a game the Buckeyes won 59-0, by the way, but I know you all know that.

Break it down, Jake Butt.

 OLYMPIC VILLAGE. Fourteen (!) Ohio State teams are ranked in the top 25 of their respective sports this week, with women's ice hockey as the highest-ranked program at No. 1 and men's golf as the lowest-ranked program at No. 24.

However, I won't be talking about either of those programs in today's Skull Session. Instead, my attention goes to the No. 16-ranked men's soccer team and the No. 8-ranked women's basketball team.

On Thursday, men's soccer made its 11th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since 2015 in a battle with Wake Forest in the opening round. It was the first time the teams had faced other since the Demon Deacons defeated the Buckeyes, 2-1, in the College Cup Final in 2007.

This time, however, Ohio State came away with a victory, defeating Wake Forest, 3-0, behind goals from Anthony Samways (2'), Xavier Green (16') and Thomas Gilej (53') to advance to the second round of the tournament, where they will face UNC Greensboro on Sunday at 6 p.m.

The women's basketball team averaged 32.5 forced turnovers per game after two contests with then-ranked No. 5 Tennessee and Boston College. I officially set that number as the over/under for the Buckeyes' matchup with Ohio University on Thursday. The over hit, as Ohio State forced the Bobcats into 33 turnovers at the Convocation Center in Athens en route to an 86-56 win.

For those not wanting to do the math, Ohio State has forced 98 turnovers through three games – an average of 32.67 turnovers per contest.

That is insane. 

What Kevin McGuff is doing schematically with the full-court press, and what the players are doing to maximize it, has been fantastic in 120 minutes of action. Props to them for being an immovable object for three straight games. I can't wait to see how long they can keep this up. With matchups against McNeese State, Wright State and North Alabama on tap, it might be a while until it regresses to the mean.

Or... maybe 32.67 forced turnovers a game is the mean?!

We're looking into all of the possibilities. I'll report back later to let everyone know.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Talk To Ya Later" by The Tubes.

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