Skull Session: Ryan Day Says Ohio State “Could Do Something Special” This Season, and The Buckeyes Can Learn a Valuable Lesson From Jim Tressel and Maurice Clarett

By Chase Brown on July 11, 2024 at 5:00 am
Ryan Day

Welcome to the Skull Session.

Rise and Grind.

Have a good Thursday.

 “WE COULD DO SOMETHING SPECIAL.” Ohio State’s 2024 national championship aspirations started at the bitter end of the 2023 season. A six-point loss to “The Team Up North” in Ann Arbor and a meltdown in the Cotton Bowl led several talented Buckeyes to return for another season in Columbus with what Ryan Day calls a “common purpose.”

In the latest episode of “Big Noon Conversations,” Joel Klatt asked Ryan Day what “went into recruiting those guys back” to Ohio State.

“I don’t know if I’d call it recruiting,” Day responded. “I think that for all of the guys they wanted to identify what their opportunity was in the NFL, and we helped them identify what their opportunity was there, and we gave them the information. I’ve never been in a situation where we talked somebody into either decision. 

“Marvin (Harrison Jr.) had to make a decision. He decided that he was gonna go take the next step. It was hard for him by the way. Not to put his stuff out there, but nobody’s been in the building more than him. And I think C.J. (Stroud) would tell you that it was hard for him to leave after three years. But we’ve had such talented guys that have left after three years.

“We’ve been young, and so for these guys to decide to come back – and it started when Cody Simon jumped in, and then Jack Sawyer jumped in. And then I think some of those guys were really on the edge, but I think they all got together as a group and ultimately that’s what we’re hoping for. That they’re coming together for a common purpose.”

Beat Michigan.

Win a Big Ten title.

Win a national championship.

“They’re not just coming to Ohio State for the NIL opportunities, to get the notoriety, or whatever it might be. They’re coming to reach those goals,” Day said. “That was powerful, and you could feel it, and certainly as the head coach you have to show them the vision. ‘Guys, if we all decide to come back, we could do something special.’”

Oh, man. I need to see the Buckeyes do something special.

I neeeeeeeeeeeeeed it.

 PRIORITIES IN ORDER. If Ohio State does something special in 2024, it will be because the Buckeyes have their priorities in order.

In the latest episode of “It’s All About the Team,” former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett discussed the program’s run to the 2003 BCS National Championship Game with former head coach Jim Tressel. Clarett said the Buckeyes reached the title game because it never looked past Michigan – or any opponent, for that matter.

“I don’t remember at any moment during (the Michigan) game where it was like, ‘Hey, let’s beat Michigan and we’re going to the national championship game,’” Clarett said. “I always ask myself, ‘Man, at what point did I realize we were going to the national championship?’ Like, the thought of beating Michigan was always at the front of my head. The thought of, like, ‘We’re going to the national championship’ was never a dominant thought. … Even going to the national championship didn’t feel as important as beating Michigan at that time.”

Tressel then shared his two cents, explaining that the 2003 Buckeyes lost to the Wolverines because the coaches and players allowed the idea of becoming back-to-back national champions to distract them.

“Trust me, the one time we lost to Michigan in ’03, it was the error we made because we heard the chatter. ‘Hey, if we beat Michigan, or when we beat Michigan, we’re going back to the national championship and we’re gonna win it again,’” Tressel said. “There’s only one thing that’s important. It’s that moment. That’s what good teams do. Good teams find a way to focus on the moment and what’s needed now.”

Take notes, 2024 Buckeyes.

 “I WOULDN’T SAY I WAS SUPER HAPPY.” You know in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” when all of the Spider-Men start their origin stories with “Let’s do this one last time”? I think of that each time someone asks Joe Burrow to explain whether Ohio State or LSU can claim him now that he’s become a successful NFL quarterback.

This week, Big Cat and PFT Commenter of Barstool’s “Pardon My Take” podcast asked Burrow to make a distinction between his three years with the Buckeyes and his two years with the Tigers.

With a “Let’s do this one last time” look on his face, Burrow answered, “I didn’t play football there,” referencing his time at Ohio State. “I mean, I practiced there. I did a lot of practicing and lifting. I graduated.”

Then, Burrow explained what he’d explained several times in the past.

“I went to school at Ohio State, and I played football at LSU,” he said.

You know the rest.

While I have an obvious beef with people who continue to ask Burrow to address whether Ohio State and LSU can both claim him, I must offer credit to Big Cat and PFT Commenter for pulling this quote from Burrow:

“I got a lot better from practicing at Ohio State, but I didn’t get to play. I don’t really say that I played. I got to live the backup quarterback lifestyle back then, and that was fun. I got that out of my system, and then I was able to lock in (at LSU). … I wouldn’t say I was super happy (at Ohio State), but I did have fun.”

That’s the first time I’ve heard Burrow wasn’t “super happy” in Columbus. Of course, how could he have been? He had to sit behind J.T. Barrett for three years and would have sat behind Dwayne Haskins had he remained in Columbus in 2018. 

The good news for Burrow is that he transferred to LSU and had one of the greatest individual seasons of all time in 2019, throwing for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns while winning the Heisman Trophy and a national championship for the Tigers. 

I’m gonna guess that outcome made him “super happy.”

 COACH CANTOS SIEMERS. The winningest player in Ohio State women’s tennis history is now an assistant coach for the Buckeyes.

Irina Cantos Siemers, who completed a five-year career at Ohio State this past spring, has been named a member of the program’s coaching staff, women’s tennis head coach Melissa Schaub and tennis director Ty Tucker announced on Wednesday.

"I am so excited for Irina to join our staff and continue her time at Ohio State," Schaub said. "No one knows our program and expectations better. She had such an impact as a player and a leader and I know she will do the same as a coach."

A native of Brussels, Belgium, Cantos Siemers was a three-time singles All-American for Ohio State and ended her career as the program’s all-time leader in singles wins (127) and combined singles and doubles victories (224). In addition to her All-American accolades, Cantos Siemers was a four-time unanimous All-Big Ten honoree and the 2023 Big Ten Player of the Year.

"Ohio State has been my home for the last five years and there is no better place for me to start my professional career than here," Cantos Siemers said. "Being able to give back and help out in any way I can to a program that has given me so much just feels like the right step at this time. I am so grateful to Melissa, (associate head coach) Adam (Cohen) and all of the Ohio State staff for their trust and belief in me."

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Both Sides Now" - Joni Mitchell.

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