Tuesday Skull Session

By Johnny Ginter on July 19, 2011 at 6:00a
Bristol, CT

Happy Tuesday everyone, and welcome to your morning Skull Session. I think I hit a bird with my car yesterday. Stay with me here, I'm making an analogy.

And it wasn't intentional! The little sucker just decided to dart out in front of my GENUINE AMERICAN MADE AUTOMOBILE and I'm pretty sure the sparrow took it right in the kisser. But if I'm being honest with all of you, I didn't really think about it much afterward (until my guilty conscience dredged it up for the purposes of this Skully). I mean, it's a bird. There are lots of little birds in the world, and to be honest, most of them aren't that organized. The buddies of that doomed avian might get mad, but if I run over a bird, chances are that A) nobody will ever know about it (again, unless I decide to tell everybody in a blog post), B) nobody will really care all that much even if they did, and C) it's not like anyone can stop me from doing it again.

So aside from possibly being a sociopath, one thing that I learned about myself yesterday is that I'm a lot like ESPN. The suspension and then non-suspension of Bruce Feldman, ostensibly about Feldman working on Mike Leach's book, wasn't anything new from the Four Letter. ESPN can be a petty, petty organization, and although an outcry from Twitter did arise, leading ESPN to issue a statement saying Feldman was never suspended, there are plenty of ways to suspend Feldman without actually saying so. Truth is, ESPN is gonna keep driving that car and doing whatever they think they need to do to protect their interests.

Because when you've got that big of a vehicle for reaching the masses, you can run over as many birds as you want; they can tweet and chirp all they want, but until they become organized and determined to run you off the road, you will continue to go about your merry way.

The Official (Extended) ESPN Response ESPN Ombudsman Kelly McBride offers up an adorable breakdown of how ESPN feels the situation played out, which you can read here and also includes the term "Twitterati." It is fairly lengthy, so to summarize: ESPN is dumb for letting Feldman work on the book in the first place, Sports by Brooks is dumb for going public with a rumor, and you are dumb for believing them.

ESPN's reasoning is that they should have never allowed Feldman to work on a book that contains perspective on a lawsuit concerning the company he works for, and here they have a point. ESPN would also have a point if they said that they should have never allowed a commentator to talk about an ongoing scandal when his son was one of the central figures of said scandal. Of course they did not, and you would be able to view that massive conflict of interest here, except it's been taken down.

Feldman, by the way, remains Not Suspended but also not writing or conducting interviews. Totally voluntarily, though.

Travis Howard Approved Travis Howard's twitter account is mostly inspirational quotes that from anyone else would seem trite, but from him are more like terrifying edicts from the world's toughest life coach, but today he also linked to a high relevant article by Doc Saturday talking about his picks for 2011's up and coming defensive players.

Howard is featured prominently at cornerback, and rightfully so. But one other Buckeye made the list as an honorable mention, and that is Mr. Garrett Goebel. I'm actually really impressed that Hinton even knows who Goebel is, since even Buckeye fans are mostly familiar with him as "the dude with a German name who was a wrestler." I personally think Howard is a star in the making, but like Hinton suggests, the d-line should be very interesting to watch as well.

Brady Hoke, Puttin' In Work Our good friend Marcus Hartman has a pretty insightful article about the kind of inroads that Brady Hoke is making into Ohio recruiting. One of the more interesting quotes in the article comes from Steve Specht, the head football coach for St. Xavier HS:

"(Hoke is) really hammering southwest Ohio. I think he's really hammering Ohio in and of itself and doing a really good job of recruiting it. I don't know if his approach would change if Jim Tressel was there or not, but there's a renewed interest in Ohio football from Michigan's perspective because of Brady Hoke's history with Ohio football players."

Let me tell you guys something: I was born and raised in southwest Ohio. There is not nearly the kind of allegiance to OSU down here that there is in other parts of the state, especially among the Catholic schools, who generally support Notre Dame first. My hometown of Middletown, for instance, devotes almost as much coverage (if not more) to Miami Redhawks football as they do to OSU football.

What I'm saying is that this is incredibly smart on Hoke's part. Despite the conniption fit some Michigan fans made at his hiring, Hoke has made every move a correct one thus far. He's going to be tough.

Also Putting In Work? Thad Matta. The LeBron James Skills Academy is going on, and Ohio State coaches were in attendance as they current and future players showed off their skills. This article from Fox Sports Ohio is mostly a fluff piece, but it's a fluff piece about Ohio State. Lots of positive quotes here about Matta and Ohio State from some big name prospects. Here's my favorite one:

"Ohio State, they get the job done," said Julius Randle of Plano, Texas, who's either the best or second-best player nationwide in the class of 2013. "Coach Matta gets the job done. They win, they get pretty deep into the tournament and they get players ready for the league."

I smell a t-shiiiirrrttttt!

PowerCord64 In Love Bro to bro, on the glorious day of his marriage. Congrats to Jimmy C on his new life, and congrats to Evan Blankenship for singing oh so sweetly.



Comments Show All Comments

GoBucks713's picture

Great Post Johnny. I hit an Eagle while in Utah a few years back. I put the body in my trunk and took it to the closest DNR station and recieved a ticket for killing a bird that flew into me.

In other news, it seems that Matta is about to have yet another stellar recruiting class. Love that potato faced floor-gum chewer. I'm ready for football season, but I may be even more ready for Basketball season.

-The Aristocrats!

blazers34's picture

Storm Klein also made the list as honorable mention

Maestro's picture

and so did Garrett Goebel


edit........need to read more.......derp

vacuuming sucks

Johnny Ginter's picture

it's cool, i do too apparently

Denny's picture

So what you're saying is that ESPN is a Canyonero?


JozyMozy's picture

12 yards long, 2 lanes wide, 65 tons of American Pride *whip crack*

Ethan's picture

Funny that espin outright threw sbb under the bus in their ombudsman article. Maybe they thought that if they pinned the whole affair on a widely-regarded hack, the whole thing would blow over and everyone would disregard it

BucksfanXC's picture

Ok, sure ESPN. I also I have a non-hostage voluntarily tied up in my basement. Self imposed bounded and gagged. Nothing to see here folks, move along. How bout them Yankees?

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

so...Akron at OSU on Sept. 3 is on ESPN already? news to anyone else?

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

Jason Priestas's picture

We've known it was going to be on ESPN or ESPN2 for some time. Today's news just confirmed which one.

M Man's picture

Re: The notion that Brady Hoke is just killing recruiting in SW Ohio.

We've gotten four kids from that region in this year's class.  (Of about 19 so far.)  We've gotten some other terrific Ohio kids, just about all of them from Toledo and the Cleveland/NE region.  Nobody in their right mind would say that Brady Hoke has failed in recruiting Ohio.  He hasn't.  You'd have to agree that Hoke is spending more time himself in Ohio (no surprise) and that he might have moved Michigan up a half a notch in overall recruiting.  (It helps, when Dave Brandon forked over close to $1million/yr. for Geg Mattison who by all accounts is a force in recruiting when Greg Robinson was by many accounts a poor recruiter.)  But I'm really not sure how you turn that into a story that Hoke has done something amazing.

A cynic might say, "Michigan has done a really poor job of recruiting Florida and West Pennsylvania this year."  It would be true to say that, by comparsion to earlier years.  But it would also be just as wrong and misleading as saying that Michigan had done a poor job of recruiting Ohio (others might add "Michigan"!) for the past three years.  As was suggested in the Marcus Hartmann article.  And that to me was the most bothersome part.

As I have said before, I will have no choice but to be a Manball-believin' worshipper of Brady Hoke when and if we start going head-to-head with OSU for Ohio's best prospects and win most of them.  Or half of them.  Or a bunch of them.  Kyle Kalis is a really interesting case study, but he seems to highlight the "Investigation/Sanctions/WhoWillBeCoach?" issue more than anything.  And that will be temporary.  Indeed, that very condition was reversed, just a year ago.

So it's a nice job by Brady Hoke, who is a nice guy.  The guy is enjoying a truly remarkable honeymoon with the press right now.

Jason Priestas's picture

He is: The AntiRod.

biggy84's picture

Why the love affair that people have for Mattison? It wasn't like he created the vaunted defense in Baltimore. The squad regressed in his time there after Ryan left. It seems as though he is given way too much credit as a big time defensive genius.

Johnny Ginter's picture

alex boone might beg to differ

M Man's picture

Well you didn't hear me use the words "defensive genius."  Biggy, I am not your guy to argue the merits of Mattison.  At least not as a master-craftsman of unbeatable defenses.  I don't follow the NFL closely enough to know what he was doing in Baltimore.  And as for this coming year, let's remember what sort of defense that Mattison is inheriting from Greg Robinson.  Enough to "de-genius" any great defensive coach.

Now, having said that, it was none other than future OSU HFC Urban Meyer ;-) who called Mattison the best recruiter he had ever seen while at Florida.  And the recruiting that Mattison has done since arriving in Ann Arbor has been very good if not great.

(Lloyd Carr's '07 Wolverines beat the Mattison-coached Florida Gators' defense in their bowl game that season, btw.)

There is a back-story on Mattison and his new contract.  There's a lot of grumbling in the MGoBlogosphere about how Michigan's Athletic Department essentially failed Rodriguez, by not making West Virginia's coveted DC Jeff Casteel a big enough offer to pry him out of Morgantown.  And that only in the end was David Brandon willing to think about paying assistant coaches SEC-type money; by then it was too late and contract terms alone would not bring Casteel to Ann Arbor; Casteel wanted to make sure that Rodriguez himself would be around for several more years with his own contract-guarantee.  Brandon has never confirmed that version (no one has, at least not pending the fall '11 book due out by John U. Bacon), but Brandon has admitted that Michigan had failed to offer proper incentive money to assistants.  You get what you pay for, and Michigan got Greg Robinson.

Jason Priestas's picture

If our last DC prayed to a ticklebear, we'd be ready to hail just about anyone as a savior as well.

M Man's picture

I wish I knew what the story on that was, Jason.  I've asked.  No one is talking.  Not the players, not Robinson, not even after the departure of the prior staff.  No one, not one single Michigan insider, has said what the story was with that thing.  It's sort of weird; you'd think that somebody, like a graduating-senior student manager, would let slip on an internet message board or an inadvertent Tweet.  But nothing, at least to my knowledge.  Strange. 

Anyway, I like the way you type "hail."  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

biggy84's picture

No offense M Man. It's just that i have read and heard others proclaim him to be a savior and a genius. If he was the person responsible for the schemes etc that Baltimore ran i would understand. He obviously is a great recruiter and a good hire for you all.

Doc's picture

Am I late on this, as usual.  I haven't seen it before.  Our new linebacker coach got himself in a wee bit of trouble in an Indiana casino back in April.




CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Jason Priestas's picture

Doc McBuzzkill, amirite?

Doc's picture

I knew posting this would be my death knell.  A friend of mine on a VH site I frequent gave me the bad news today, and you know what they say about misery...


An unpaid bar tab is a lot less worriesome than what was reported.  One of the stories I read said he took bottles of liquor from a casino store without paying.  I'm hoping it is an unpaid bar tab.


McBuzzkill out!

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Jason Priestas's picture

Indiana just has super-quirky laws whereas a theft of any type is classified as a felony. Dates back to when Shawn Kemp was running around taking the virginity of young ladies in high school.

Roger's picture

Yup, but I'm not judging.

Apparently Vrabel walked out of a casino with a bar tab he either thought had been paid or assumed was comped. Either way, as far as I know the casino isn't pressing the issue and the charges are dead in the water.