Welcome to the Skull Session.
C.J. Stroud is a MOOD.
MD— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) October 1, 2023
: AP pic.twitter.com/zpJPZHW1aw
Let's have a good Monday, shall we?
I THOUGHT WE WERE PAST THIS! Former Ohio State wide receiver Cris Carter once coined the phrase, “C'MON, MAN!” on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown. His voice and expression came to mind over the weekend when I heard Desmond Howard's comments about the feud between Ryan Day and Lou Holtz.
Didn't we move on from that?
Then, as the weekend wrapped up, I read comments from Brady Quinn about Day's response to Holtz. No, not the ones where Quinn called Day's remarks “bizarre.” These ones, where Quinn said Day lacked “poise” when he called out the former Notre Dame head coach on national television:
"As a leader, and I was in that position as a quarterback, you got to have poise. That can be the stuff that maybe you want to exude in the locker room to the team and everyone else. The thing that was odd to me was the first things weren't talking about Kyle McCord. He wasn't talking about their defense. He wasn't talking about the big plays... That was what kind of shocked me, though. In that instance, that's the time you want to call out Lou Holtz? That's the only thing is like it's fine if you have a postgame press conference if you want to talk about it then. Like literally, you just won this big game, one of the tests for you this season. And you don't want to give praise to your athletes? You don't want to give praise to your coaching staff?
"Every single loss that Ohio State has suffered except for one – and that was against Clemson – they have been out-rushed and they have not been able to stop the run. You can even go back to the Iowa loss, the Purdue loss under Coach (Urban) Meyer. Same thing. In those games, they were not the toughest team. And that's not saying they are not every week. it's just that was the reality of it. That was the analysis of what Lou Holtz thought. ... If I was in that position as a coach or as a quarterback, I'd be giving praise to all the players, all the coaches, everyone who was a part of that victory as opposed to making it that moment to call out Lou Holtz."
Again, didn't we move on from that?
Ohio State beat Notre Dame on Sept. 23. However, we still have national college football personalities discussing its outcome a week later, primarily Day's comments and how – for some reason – it offended them. And we even have Holtz dropping the Buckeyes five spots from No. 4 to No. 9 in his FWAA/NFF poll after an off week!
Good news: Unlike Howard, Quinn and Holtz, Day has placed Ohio State's win over Notre Dame behind him and moved on to the Buckeyes’ Week 6 matchup with the undefeated Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium on Saturday.
"We've moved on from Notre Dame. We've got bigger fish to fry now. That was all talked about leading into the game. Now that game is over with. Ohio State won. We're proud of the fact that we were 2-0 against Notre Dame during that time. That's important. There are a lot of Notre Dame fans in the Midwest. We want to make sure we beat them. Notre Dame is a good program. Marcus Freeman does a great job. They have really good coaches. I have a lot of respect for that program. But to go 2-0 in the last two years and win like that is great. But that's behind us. Now we're all looking forward."
Well said, Coach.
THE BROTHERHOOD LIVES ON. Over the weekend, former Ohio State offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. treated the Buckeyes’ current offensive line to a free meal at Giuseppe's Ritrovo, an Italian restaurant 15 minutes from campus in Bexley, Ohio.
I love this.
Two weekends ago, former Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud congratulated the Buckeyes for their top-10 win over Notre Dame in a press conference, reminding the football world that The Brotherhood lives on, even after an Ohio State player reaches the next level. This past weekend, Johnson carried the torch with his act of kindness. Who will remind us next? One of the other 1,000 Buckeyes who were #DevelopedHere?
While we are on Johnson, the 6-foot-6, 313-pound rookie has recorded over 200 snaps for the Cardinals across four appearances.
Arizona fell to 1-3 on Sunday with a 35-16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Still, Johnson led the team's offensive line in its efforts to neutralize former Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, as the 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year did not record a tackle or sack in the contest.
#FREE91. According to NFL draft analyst Dane Brugler, the following six college football players improved their NFL draft stock in September 2023: Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward, South Carolina receiver Xavier Legette, Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson, USC running back MarShawn Lloyd, Texas offensive lineman Christian Jones and... #free91... Ohio State defensive tackle Tyleik Williams.
Of Ohio State’s four starters on the defensive line, Williams receives the least amount of praise. But he was the best of the group Saturday (on tape and in the box score) in a win over Notre Dame. The junior led the Buckeyes in pressures (five), posted five tackles against the run and had a pass break-up (that should have been an interception).
Not only was he impactful from start to finish, but also he rarely came off the field, playing 86.2 percent of the Buckeyes’ defensive snaps. Williams might be unsung in the national spotlight, but his performance hasn’t gone overlooked in the eyes of NFL scouts.
Williams, as a defensive tackle (!), has recorded 21 tackles in 2023, which ranks third on the Buckeyes behind Steele Chambers (25) and Tommy Eichenberg (25). Also, he leads Ohio State with three tackles for loss and is one of five Buckeyes – Eichenberg, Mike Hall Jr., Hero Kanu and Mitchell Melton – to record a sack in Ohio State's 4-0 start. Additionally, Williams has collected one pass breakup, one quarterback hit, one fumble recovery and one touchdown.
Is that good?
I think so.
I believe 91 has, in fact, been freed.
THE SAVAGE IS BACK. In a beautiful development, Sammy Sasso was back with the Buckeyes last week. The veteran wrestler returned to the Jennings Wrestling Facility last week to spend time with his teammates after 41 days at the Wexner Medical Center to treat wounds from a gunshot wound he suffered on Aug. 18.
"He's battling. His family is beside him at every step. (He has a) deep desire to wrestle again. Not this year, but hopefully next. A long road ahead. Mindset is strong and good," Ryan said. "Once his stomach wounds heal, he can focus on his movement. He’s in good spirits. There were some setbacks, but he’s overcome them. Things can change fast, though."
In a separate interview, Ryan told The Columbus Dispatch that Sasso's mindset is, "If I have to wrestle on my knees, I will."
A four-time All-American, two-time Big Ten champion and two-time NCAA runner-up at 149 pounds, Sasso was set to wrestle in his final season with the Buckeyes in 2023-24. However, based on Ryan's comment, the Nazareth, Pennsylvania, native will look to complete his decorated collegiate career in 2024-25.
Unfortunately, Sasso is now – at least temporarily – in the same category as Malik Heinselman (125), Ethan Smith (174), Kaleb Romero (184) and Tate Orndorff (HWT), who have graduated and moved on from the program after leading the Buckeyes to fourth-place finishes at the Big Ten and NCAA championships last season.
My heart breaks for Sasso.
Still, I am inspired by his courage and strength. He is one of the best, one and off the mat – there is no doubt about it.
SONG OF THE DAY. "Please" by Noah Kahan.
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