Skull Session: Ohio State can’t see past Maryland, Tommy Eichenberg should be an All-American and the Buckeyes need to replicate a play from the 2014 B1G title game

Well folks. Twitter may be dead in the water.

If it eventually dies, I will be streaming my Ohio State coverage, including live game coverage, 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 be writing 5am skull sessions, breaking news and all the jazz for Eleven Warriors dot com. I hope you stick with it.

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 last day before the game against Maryland, it’s hard not to focus on what’s coming up with The Game on November 26th. However, the Buckeyes must take care of business with the Terrapins before they can set their eyes on the Wolverines.

In an episode of Urban Analysis in the Big Ten NetworkUrban Meyer – who scored a perfect 7-0 win against Michigan during his tenure as Ohio State head coach – talked about how Ryan Day and his staff must balance their game plan to defeat Maryland while still aiming for a top three showdown Prepare Michigan next weekend.

The key words Meyer offers in the clip are these:

“Coaches aren’t telling you the truth unless they’re at least aware of this game… But you have a duty to those players to prepare them for this upcoming game.”

I think Ryan Day had Maryland on his mind this week as Ohio State moves closer to its matchup with the Terrapins on Saturday. He understands that Taulia Tagovailoa, while struggling with an injury, is one of the Big Ten’s most talented quarterbacks on a gun-packed offense, so the Buckeyes need to be prepared for anything.

Until time runs out in Saturday’s Maryland game, Ohio State’s primary goal should be beating the Terps. Once the clock hits triple zeros, it’s officially hate week and the Buckeyes come for blood against the Wolverines.

A BIG TEN LINEBACKER. On his weekly radio show with 97.1 The FanDay has been extremely pleased with Tommy Eichenberg’s game this season, claiming that all of Eichenberg’s qualities make him the perfect candidate for the Ohio State defense.

“I think you could say he’s the prototypical linebacker of the Big Ten. He is strong, powerful, productive, tough and can handle a great deal of information.”

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

Eichenberg Ohio State is not just good or Big Ten good. He’s NCAA good. In 2022, Eichenberg was statistically one of the best linebackers in the nation, with 92 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, an interception, two pass breakups and a defensive touchdown. The advanced metrics of Focus on professional football also make the same claim:

Call it the Jim Knowles Effect, because every serum the mad scientist concocted worked. Knowles nudged Eichenberg in the right direction, which has led to tremendous results. As a result of these results, Eichenberg is — in my opinion at least — well on track for an all-American season for the Buckeyes. Who would have thought?

BUTT’S BREAKDOWN. Well, would you watch that? A gunshot run game in Ohio State…unless 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 up Jake Butt.

Perhaps Day, Justin Frye and Kevin Wilson should repeat this game in the movie room as the offensive line and running backs continue to get the run game through November 26th.

With today’s team it would be Cade Stover instead of Jeff Heuerman and Luke Wypler instead of Jacoby Boren who would make the crucial blocks. Both players are perfectly capable of making them. As for the others, the tackles and guards would move down the line and win their duties, and the running back would explode through the middle.

It’s a lot easier said than done, and a game like the one in the B1G title doesn’t come often in college football. However, I think Ohio State could do something like this effectively, especially since most of the pistol plays they’ve shown have been stretch runs outside of the tackles. Can you imagine the same parry when TreVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams, Dallan Hayden or Xavier Johnson do it right in the gut?

If it ever happens, hopefully it works out just as well as it did eight years ago, and Ohio State scores on an 81-yard home visit, putting six points on the board in the process.

OLYMPIC VILLAGE. Fourteen (!) Ohio State teams are ranked in the top 25 in their respective sports this week, with women’s hockey being the highest-ranked program at #1 and men’s golf being the lowest-ranked program at #24.

However, I will not be discussing any of these programs in today’s Skull session. Instead, my attention goes to the number 16 on the men’s soccer team and the number 8 on the women’s basketball team.

On Thursday, men’s soccer made its eleventh overall NCAA tournament appearance and their first opening-round clash with Wake Forest since 2015. It was the first time the teams had played each other since the Demon Deacons defeated the Buckeyes 2-1 in the 2007 College Cup Finals.

This time, however, Ohio State won with a 3-0 win over Wake Forest behind the goals of Anthony Samways (2′), Xavier Green (16′) and Thomas Gilej (53′) to advance to the second round of the tournament, where they meet UNC Greensboro at 6 p.m. Sunday

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

For those who don’t want to do the math, Ohio State has forced 98 turnovers through three games — an average of 32.67 turnovers per contest.

That’s crazy.

What Kevin McGuff is doing schematically with the full court press and what the players are doing to maximize it was fantastic in 120 minutes of action. Props to them for being a stationary object for three games. I’m curious how long they can hold out. With matchups against McNeese State, Wright State and North Alabama, it could take a while to get back to the mean.

Or… maybe 32.67 forced turnovers per game is the mean?!

We examine all possibilities. I’ll get back to you later so everyone knows.

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

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