Skull Session: Ryan Day Thinks Iowa Plays “Complementary Football,” Brian Hartline is the Best Position Coach in America and Tommy Eichenberg is an Absolute Stud


We are only one day away from The Ohio State University football team taking the field for the seventh time in the 2022 season. And, friends, that makes me happy.

The second half of the season is about to begin. The Buckeyes have a job to do.

Let’s have a good Friday, shall we?

WELL, NOT EXACTLY. On more than one occasion this week, Ryan Day has described Iowa as “complementary,” even claiming that the Hawkeyes are “as complementary as anybody” in his weekly radio show on 97.1 The Fan.

I by no means expect Day to trash his opponents, therefore offering them bulletin board material in the days leading up to the matchup with the Buckeyes. However, I think he could afford to use a little less coachspeak when talking about them each week, especially when describing the Iowa offense in tandem with its defense.

Out of 131 FBS teams, the Hawkeyes rank No. 124 in offensive efficiency, No. 128 in explosiveness, No. 131 in points per scoring opportunity and No. 129 in rushing marginal explosiveness. Meanwhile, they rank No. 13, no. 1, no. 2 and No. 1 in those respective defensive categories.

Iowa is, in fact, the least complementary football team to ever exist in my non-official and unresearched estimations. I mean, come on, Coach, you can’t look at this metric and say the Hawkeye offense holds up its end of the bargain every week.

I understand that Day and some of the other coaches have scars from the 2017 game. The Iowa offense was nothing special that year, either, and it ended up dropping a 55-bomb on Ohio State’s head. But it’s been five years, and the Hawkeyes are somehow even worse at moving the ball up the field and scoring points.

It’s bad folks.

on Saturday, Bill Landis of Rivals said we will watch “Ohio State’s offensive assault against Iowa and Iowa’s assault against all of us.” I couldn’t put it better myself. The Buckeyes will have no mishaps against the “complementary” Hawkeyes as they cruise to a comfortable victory with Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt on the call for FOX Big Noon.

BEST IN THE BIZ. Speaking of Klatt, his content has made for some excellent Skull Session material in recent weeks. He continued that streak before the Iowa game, claiming that Brian Hartline is the best position coach in college football.

And, well, he’s not wrong.

Before watching the clip, I didn’t need any convincing that Hartline is the best position coach in the sport. Everyone who follows Ohio State football knows that to be true. However, Klatt’s explanation of his conversation with Jaxon Smith-Njigba over the summer further solidified my belief in Hartline.

As an Ohio State beat reporter over the last two seasons, I’ve heard Smith-Njigba speak a dozen times after practices, games and at Big Ten Media Days back in July. He doesn’t say much. But when talking about Hartline, Klatt noted “the level of detail” Smith-Njigba used in their conversation was fascinating.

Of course, Klatt could be engaging in hyperbole – I have no idea. But I have no reason to believe why he would. It sounds like Hartline has engrained so much information into Smith-Njigba’s head that he can’t help but talk about it, especially in one-on-one settings off the record.

To me, that’s the mark of a good football coach. Hartline’s players learn and retain information and apply it to their games at an exceptional rate, which has proven wonders for Ohio State. Buckeye Nation needs to protect this man at all costs.

TOMMY EICHENBERG, EVERYONE. There isn’t enough that can be said about Tommy Eichenberg’s transformation under Jim Knowles. The dude is moving fast, playing downhill and making plays on the Ohio State defense. Oh, and he leads the team with 305 snaps this season, so he’s doing that a lot.

Eichenberg has shined in all aspects in 2022, but according to Pro Football Focus, the fourth-year Buckeyes’ 88.4 run grade shines brightest, as he leads all Big Ten defenders in that category.

I guess that’s the grade you earn and the recognition you receive when you’ve been moment absolute tank for six games. In those contests, Eichenberg has racked up 50 tackles, six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, earning a national player of the week and Big Ten player of the week award along the way.

Eichenberg has been fabulous for Ohio State this season, and the Buckeyes will need him to continue playing at a high level as the leader of the defense. From what he’s shown so far in 2022, I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon.

ON THE MAT. Folks, it’s time to talk Ohio State wrestling as the Buckeyes prepare for a season with hopes of winning the Big Ten and NCAA championships.

While I’m sure some might consider Tom Ryan’s program a dark horse to win it all, if you talked to the veteran head coach, he’d tell you his team expects to win the whole dang thing.

Over the last two years covering Ohio State wrestling, I’ve learned that the Buckeyes are itching for a conference and national title, and the 2022-23 team has a real shot of accomplishing those feats. This season – one that could end with hoisted trophies – you can watch Ohio State’s journey to the top summit at the Covelli Center or in the comfort of your home.

Earlier this year, I predicted Malik Heinselman, Nik Bouzakis (or Jesse Mendez), Dylan D’Emilio, Sammy Sasso, Paddy Gallagher, Carson Kharchla, Ethan Smith, Kaleb Romero, Gavin Hoffman and Tate Orndorff would be the 10-man lineup for the Buckeyes. However, that could all change at the annual Wrestle-Offs on Oct. 27 at the Covelli Center (open to the public with free admission).

After that event, the Buckeyes’ starters will be set as they dive into an incredibly challenging regular-season schedule. Still, those duals – which include duals with defending NCAA champions Penn State, defending Big Ten champions Michigan and the 24-time national title winner Iowa – will only prepare the Buckeyes for the postseason tournaments come February and March of 2023.

So, the expectations are set. The wrestlers are conditioned and trained for a special year in Columbus. Let’s see if they can rise to the occasion.


CUT TO THE CHASE. A concussion argument against NCAA could be first to reach jury… Qatar’s 12-year journey as World Cup host has 1 month to go… Eclipse the dog, known for riding the bus alone to the dog park, has died (I ‘m sad about this one)… High up in the mountains, goats and sheep faced off over salt… The world has had some expensive Pokémon cards.

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