Skull Session: Ryan Day Will “Continue the Evaluation” of Ohio State’s Quarterbacks, Oregon Will Black Out Autzen Stadium For Ohio State Game and Mark Coleman Will Attend UFC 300

By Chase Brown on April 3, 2024 at 5:00 am
Ryan Day

Welcome to the Skull Session.

The Senator has a message for Buckeye Nation.

You heard the man! Get your tickets!

Have a good Wednesday.

 THE HEAD COACH SPEAKS. Ryan Day appeared on 97.1 The Fan’s “Morning Juice” with Brandon Beam and Bobby Carpenter to discuss Ohio State’s Student Appreciation Day, its new running backs coach Carlos Locklyn and its upcoming spring game on April 13.

Here’s a YouTube video (with audio) of the appearance and a transcript of some of Day’s comments.

On Ohio State’s Student Appreciation Day practice

“In the indoor, with all those folks in there – between recruits, former players, their parents, students – you can create a good atmosphere in there where it’s really competitive. They know the media is in there, too. It gets extremely competitive very fast. It’s a good opportunity for us to get guys out of the comfort zone of normal practice and put some added stress on them. You can’t really simulate what it will be like in a game other than the spring game. We like to get an idea of how they’re gonna respond in highly competitive situations. It was great to see that. We grade every clip of film on those days and give them feedback, then we get back after it the next week.”

On Ohio State’s quarterback competition

“We’ve been breaking (reps) down where each guy is getting the same kind of reps. We haven’t said, ‘Hey, you’re getting first, second or third-team reps.’ It’s actually been great to see guys operate with the ones, operate with the twos, operate with the threes. Sometimes you have to make things work when it’s not perfect. Sometimes you have to take more of a leadership role with some younger guys out there. It’s all been an evaluation. The good thing for us is because we had some guys come in at midyear, we’ve been able to play with three groups. We’ve been able to sustain that throughout the whole spring. … I think our guys have done a good job of practicing really fast, competitively and violently, but at the same time staying up and taking care of each other.. In terms of the quarterbacks, we’re gonna keep working through this next week and get them as many reps as possible and continue the evaluation.”

On Carlos Locklyn

“We wanted to find somebody who really wanted to be at Ohio State at a high level. Carlos does that. He checks that box. We interviewed over seven people and identified somewhere between 10 to 12 who we thought maybe fit the profile. In the end, we narrowed it down and felt like Carlos was our guy. He brings a lot of energy to the table. … When you hear his story about where he came from and how he came up in the business, Chip (Kelly) and I were both excited about the fact that we could hire him here. Now that he’s come, we are extremely excited for the room. I think he’s gonna have a great impact on our team and a great impact on recruiting. I think he’s gonna be a tremendous coach.”

“Like some of us in this profession, he came up not in a football family but grew up and kind of had to figure it out on their own. He’s one of those people. When you listen to how he came up in this thing, he’s very appreciative of all the opportunities he’s gotten. But he’s earned them, and he deserved them all. He really earned and deserved this opportunity. … I am fired up to have him here. I think he’s gonna bring an edge to our offense and an edge to the running back room.”

On Ohio State’s spring game, Saddle Up at the Woody

“It’s gonna be a great day. We’re hoping for great weather. Kickoff on Saturday will be at noon. All our healthy players will participate. That’s exciting. We’re gonna have great coverage (because) it will be the first nationally televised spring game on FOX, and Joel Klatt will be there. I think he and I will be down on the field a little bit during that, which will be great. We’ll have some other Big Noon personalities there. 

“We’re gonna do a team walk during pre-game. We’re not gonna do the Skull Session, but we’re gonna do a walk. That’s something we haven’t done in the past, which I thought would be great. We will have former players there. There will be spring game raffles and silent auctions, which will be exciting. … Right now, we have 40,000 tickets sold. Last year we had 30,000 sold at this time. We are way ahead of where we were in the past. I think we can get close to 100,000 people at the game. I think there is so much excitement around the program. There are a lot of faces guys would love to see out on the field and a lot of people excited about the spring game.

“Then we have the Saddle Up event. That’s something we started last year at the Woody. We’ll have a concert with North to Nashville and then Gary LeVox, the lead singer from Rascal Flatts, will perform. … It’s a great night and a great opportunity to raise money for cancer (research) and NIL.”

All of Day’s comments were good and well.

However, the best comment Day made came during his second round of remarks about Locklyn.

“Like some of us in this profession, he came up not in a football family but grew up and kind of had to figure it out on their own.”

Was that – was that an underhanded response to Jim Harbaugh’s claims that Day was “born on third base”?

If so, I love it.

If not, I still love it.

I think it’s great that Day identified someone much like himself, who has climbed the ranks in the coaching profession and appreciates the opportunities he’s received. Locklyn, like Day, has earned the chance to coach at Ohio State, and I look forward to seeing what he can accomplish with the Buckeyes.

 BLACK OUT AT AUTZEN. On Tuesday, Oregon announced its “color schedule” for the 2024 college football season. When the Ducks host THE World Famous Ohio State Buckeyes on Oct. 12, Dan Lanning’s squad will wear black uniforms. The program has also asked Oregon fans to wear black to the game, creating a Black Out environment at Autzen Stadium.

While the post shows that Oregon will also have a Stripe Out, another Black Out against Boise State and several Green Outs and Yellow Outs this fall, I still expect that the battle between the Ducks and Buckeyes will have more of a Big Game on Campus vibe than the other home contests.

Ohio State’s first five opponents are Akron, Western Michigan, Marshall, Michigan State and Iowa, which means the Buckeyes will be 5-0 when the team travels to Eugene. The Ducks, whose first five opponents are Idaho, Boise State, Oregon State, UCLA and Michigan State, should also be 5-0. 

With those records, both teams should be ranked in the top five – or, at the very least, the top 10 – which will make the Week 7 contest one of the marquee matchups in the 2024 college football season. Both teams will be ready to go 10 rounds, and I expect the hostile environment at Autzen will be incredible, receiving a boost from the theme.

 OH, HI MARK. Three weeks ago, former Ohio State wrestler and UFC legend Mark Coleman was hospitalized after he rescued his parents from a fire in his childhood home in Fremont, Ohio. Coleman, 59, was airlifted from the scene after he inhaled large amounts of smoke in his rescue efforts.

Thankfully, Coleman’s condition improved after 48 hours in the hospital. On March 14, Coleman’s daughter, Kenzie, posted a video on Facebook that showed Coleman speaking with his daughters for the first time since the fire.

“I’m the happiest man in the world,” Coleman said in the video. “God, I’m so lucky. I can’t believe my parents are alive. I had to make the decision because I got out of my room and went to the door and it was already horrible. I couldn’t breathe. I almost had to go outside. And I went back in and got them. I can’t believe it. I got them.”

For the rest of March, Coleman’s heroics became the talk of the Ohio State wrestling and UFC communities. On Tuesday, the UFC honored and recognized Coleman’s bravery, inviting him and his daughters to attend UFC 300 in Las Vegas.

While it’s unclear if Coleman will attend the event as a spectator or participate in the festivities, current UFC competitor Max Holloway has campaigned for Coleman to present the BMF belt (short for the “Baddest Motherf— belt) to the winner of Holloway’s bout with Justin Gaethje.

“The only correct answer is Mark Coleman,” Holloway told MMA Junkie. “Especially with what he went through recently with his dog waking him to go save his (parents). To go in there, run for his parents and his dog – the guy’s a G, bro. That’s a real-life BMF.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Mark Coleman is a real-life BMF.

 OLYMPIC VILLAGE. On March 24, Ohio State women’s hockey won its second national championship in three years, defeating Wisconsin, 1-0, in the Frozen Four final at New Hampshire’s Whittemore Center Arena. Ten days later, several Buckeyes set off to represent their countries at the IIHF Women’s World Championships in New York.

Former Buckeyes Emma Maltais and Natalie Spooner will represent Canada at the games, while Andrea Braendli and Eve Savander will represent Switzerland and Finland. At the same time, current Buckeyes Joy Dunne, Cayla Barnes and Hannah Bilka will play for the United States and future Buckeyes Mira Jungaker and Sofie Lundin will play for Sweden.

Dunne, Barnes and Bilka were all instrumental in Ohio State’s win over Wisconsin in the national championship game. In fact, all three were involved in the Buckeyes’ game-winning goal. Late in the third period, Barnes made an excellent defensive move to steal possession from the Badgers. She then passed the puck to Bilka, who left it behind for Dunne. The Ohio State freshman took care of the rest, blasting a shot past the Wisconsin goaltender to score the only goal of the game.

Last April, the United States defeated Canada, 6-3, at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championships in Brampton, Canada. In 2024, the Americans will look to defend their title on their home ice, as Dunne, Barnes and Bilka will look to win another set of championship rings.

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Hotel June” - Chelsea Cutler.

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