Skull Session: Ohio State wants a shoe-hostile environment, JT Tuimoloau had a masterclass against Penn State last season and the search for Gene Smith’s successor begins now

Welcome to the Skull session.

Two more beds.

Let’s have a great Thursday, shall we?

“BUCKEYES ADVANTAGE.” There has been a lot of talk about how Ohio State-Penn State will kick off at noon rather than 7:30 or even 8:00 p.m.

While, yes, the top 10 showdown should be under the lights of Ohio Stadium, it’s not. That’s because the Big Ten agreed to billions of dollars for FOX, CBS and NBC to make decisions here. FOX received rights to Ohio State-Penn State; FOX chose to broadcast the game on Big Noon. We can hate it, but we can’t change it.

Because we can’t change it, Ohio State sent a message to fans before Saturday’s game at the Shoe: ARRIVE EARLY AND BE STRONG.

Translation: Create the loud, hostile environment that Ohio Stadium would have under the lights, except the sun will still be out and fans will have consumed fewer adult beverages before the game.

“One of the biggest things (Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith) mentioned to me was getting everyone in the stadium early. We want to do that. We’ve done that in the past to set the tone. This is one of those games where we really need to create a hostile environment for Penn State. In particular, their offense. When we’re very loud in the stadium when their offense has the ball, it makes it very difficult for communication to work, for instant counting. The stronger we can be – it doesn’t matter if it’s third down, red zone and short yardage – if they’re operating on the field, the stronger we can be, the more hostile we can be, Buckeyes advantage. …It’s a big game, but we got them here in the Shoe. Let’s do as hard as possible.”

As I bang on a keyboard in the Ohio State press box on Saturday, I want everyone attending the game to reach incredible decibel levels when Penn State takes the field. I want to be amazed at how loud 105,000-plus fans can be in a 101-year-old stadium. Remember: Ohio State’s home games were Youngstown State, Western Kentucky and Maryland, and soon Penn State, then Michigan State and Minnesota. The Nittany Lions are from afar the best team Ohio State will face at home in the 2023 season. In other words, there’s no better time than Saturday to lose your voice.

To be strong!

THE SEARCH BEGINS. Ohio State announced the members of the search committee for the school’s next athletic director on Wednesday. The committee will assist Ohio State in nominating candidates and provide input and feedback to the search firm Collegiate Sports Associates (CSA). The committee will also work with CSA to coordinate and facilitate community listening sessions.

Michael C. Eicher, senior vice president for advancement and president of the Ohio State University Foundation, will chair the committee. Other members include:

  • Pierre Bigby, Ohio State Board of Trustees; former Ohio State student-athlete

  • Clark Kellogg, former Ohio State board member and student-athlete

  • Archie Griffin, former senior vice president of the Ohio State Alumni Association and Ohio State student-athlete

  • Michael Papadakis, senior vice president of business and finance, chief financial officer

  • Stacy Rastauskas, vice president for government affairs

  • Lincoln L. Davies, Dean and Frank R. Strong Chair of Law, Moritz College of Law

  • Nadine Muzerall, Ohio State women’s ice hockey head coach

  • Janine Oman, Senior Deputy Athletic Director

  • Xen Riggs, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Department of Athletics and Business Development

  • John E. Davidson, professor, Department of Germanic Languages ​​and Literatures; athletics faculty representative

  • Tom Gessells, director of information technology, Wexner Medical Center; staff representative, Athletics Council

  • Nina LeFlore, Co-Chair, Student-Athlete Advisory Council

  • Alex Dediu, Co-Chair, Student-Athlete Advisory Council

Look, a committee including Archie Griffin and Clark Kellogg needs to be a committee that will make the right decision on the next sports director for THE World famous Ohio State Buckeyes. It has to be. Add in national champion head coach Nadine Muzerall and some other impressive university representatives, and this process will be done in no time!

THE GAME OF HIS LIFE. We had to talk about it at some point.

On October 29, 2022, JT Tuimoloau had one of the best individual performances in college football history: six tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, a pass breakup (which led to a Zach Harrison interception), a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two interceptions, including a pick-six that helped seal Ohio State’s 44-31 victory over Penn State.

According to Eleven Warriors researcher Matt Gutridge, Tuimoloau is the only Ohio State player to record two interceptions, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the same game. This combination of statistics – which Tuimoloau accomplished alone, by himself, just him – has been achieved by the entire Ohio State defense in just eight games since 1976, and probably still: Northwestern (1981), Iowa (1984), BYU (1985), West Virginia (1987), San Diego State (2003), Northwestern (2006), Tulsa (2016) and Michigan State (2020).

Tuimoloau is also the only FBS player since 2000 with two interceptions, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in a game, according to Statistics head.

In short, Tuimoloau’s performance was amazing. Should we expect to see the same production on Saturday? Maybe not. But Jim Knowles does it.

“I expect him to do it again,” Knowles said with a a touch of sarcasm.

His comment was in response to a question that asked what he and Ohio State saw from Tuimoloau in 2023 that was different or improved from last season.

“(He’s) increased football intelligence,” Knowles said. “JT is a great player in his own right, doing his thing. I see a guy who continues to understand the defense more and his role in the defense, where the ball will come out based on the call – all of those things. He has great understanding.

Six tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, a pass breakup, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two interceptions #Loading…?

CAN YOU BET ON THIS? ESPN’s College GameDay takes place Saturday in Columbus for Ohio State-Penn State, as Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, Pat McAfee and the rest of the GameDay team are expected to appear on campus at Ohio State for the first time. in 2023.

Until Wednesday, ESPN had not announced its choice of guests for Saturday’s show. There are also no rumors about who the global sports leader will select for the role. Therefore, Bet Ohio rose to the occasion, opening the odds for the most likely candidates – because, my friends, you can bet on whatever your heart desires these days.

  • Actor JK Simmons: +700

  • Golfer Jack Nicklaus: +700

  • NBA Star LeBron James: +1000

  • Cris Carter, former Ohio State wide receiver: +1250

  • Former Ohio State linebacker AJ Hawk: +1250

  • Nick Mangold, former Ohio State center: +1250

  • Other: +130

The Other will probably cash in here. But Nick Mangold, recently inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, has some value.

SONG OF THE DAY. “Encore” by JAY-Z and Linkin Park.

CUT TO THE HUNT. Martin Scorsese on finding flow and his aversion to email…Serena Williams has a 2-book deal, starting with an intimate, heart-to-heart memoir…Rite Aid plans to close 154 stores after filing assessment… Magnitude 4.2 An earthquake shakes northern California and triggers an alert… Body Electric.

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