Tuesday Skull Session

By Johnny Ginter on August 9, 2011 at 6:27a

Happy Tuesday everyone, and welcome to your morning Skull Session. Personally, I didn't think it would be this easy for me to adapt to the idea that Jim Tressel is no longer the dude shouting generic hustle slogans at 20 year olds in early August. I thought for sure that Luke Fickell and company would be the Sammy Hagar to Tressel's David Lee Roth, except instead of replacing cocaine and single entendres about relations with women with whatever the hell this is, Fickell would be replacing sweatervests and warm milk with Tap Out t-shirts and Rockstar energy drink laced with battery fluid.

But I was wrong. OSU football, for now at least, is still OSU football. If the first day is any indication, practices aren't going to be radically different than they've been for the past decade; same drills, same overall philosophy, same word salad responses to every question that cause you to wonder if someone really just did spend 300 words responding to "nice weather" or if you just had a stroke.

And honestly, that's kind of comforting. Football, man. This NCAA crap isn't over yet, and won't be for some time, but OSU football is back. Like some kind of reverse groundhogs, as a fanbase we can now collectively peek out of our dens and cautiously step out into the real world; bleary eyed and hungry for stadium hot dogs, we are a scant few weeks away from having what in Ohio amounts to a legitimate excuse for criminal disorderly conduct. Enjoy it, folks. It only gets better from here.

Finding Fickell He's the man now dog, and Luke Fickell is trying to make as much of an impression on the team as possible as Fall practice officially begins, and screw you if you can't handle the heat that the L-Train bring to the table. CHOO CHOO, CHUMP. HERE COMES THE PAIN, NEXT STOP YOUR FAC-

“But I was definitely busy. I hope I didn’t step on too many toes. But again, just trying to show that the actions are the biggest things we’re trying to get through.”

No! No no no! Step on toes! Punt kidneys! Slide tackle duodenums! Come on man! Just one leg drop or People's Elbow. That's all I want from Fickell. Just for one WR to blow an assignment and then for Fick to get incredibly furious and unleash a textbook Stone Cold Stunner on live national television. Okay sure, there have also been reports that practice was faster paced and more intense than in years past, but until Tyler Moeller shows up with a luchador mask and refuses to answer to anything but "El Diablo" I will remain unconvinced.

It's Like Inception, Except There's No Incepting. And Nobody Dies. Maybe we're just parts of Urban Meyer's subconscious, planted here to encourage him to become the next head coach of Ohio State through a series of media profiles that keep him in the public eye for no real reason. Here in his mind, this process will take months, maybe even years, while in the real world only hours will have passed. Step one is this series of videos from SI, where Urban talks about his life, leaving Florida, and also his daughter does a lot of crying.

That would be understandable, since she would have thought her dad was in some serious health related trouble, but as I've already established, she's simply a part of the dream. In a few hours, Urban Meyer will wake up, knowing his new path in life, and Gordon Gee will finally wire the rest of the 700k he owes me. OR WILL HE??

"Cactus Clothesline. Watch yourself. It's coming."

Speaking Of Mr. Gee ESPN did a profile on the guy, which is less interesting for the actual content of the piece (of which there really isn't a lot of new stuff that's revealed), and more for the fact that Gee would even deign to talk to those guys. The crux of the article is that though Gee has become something of a figurehead given the recent scandal, his ability and overall willingness to confront something untoward going on in the Athletic Department is  pretty low.

What is somewhat interesting is Gee's own interpretation of the events that led to Tressel being fired, and he mostly sticks to the party line, although he also slips in that he wanted to fire Tressel earlier but some of the trustees wouldn't have gone along with it. One crucial thing that the article neglects, however, is that the Athletic Department, while huge, is generally financially independent of OSU. The OSU "brand" and the protection of it is a big part of this story, but without that context it's easy to distort what might've happened.

Stating The Obvious Sanzo Watch '11 rolls on, and this time it seems like Dave Biddle is hopping on the train. I don't know if I'm quite as enthusiastic as Biddle is about the possibility of Sanzenbacher making the Bears' roster based upon the reports that I've read, but maybe he's got some inside information that I don't. As far as I know, the Bears generally leave 5 roster spots open for WRs (leaving very little wiggle room), but if Dane keeps chopsticking every fly thrown at him, they might just have to take 6 this year.

Fickell Comes Alive! Whose wine? What wine? Where the hell did I dine?


Comments Show All Comments

iball's picture

Lemme tell ya somethin Mean Gene!! If these freshmen wide receivers think they're gonna run the wrong routes and drop passes on the Ficks watch, they got another thing comin brother!!!

I don't know if its urgency or confusion or both, but nothing about the first practice says business as usual to me. I like the fact that everyone including the coaches have something to prove. Smacks of 2002.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Lucys Daddy is a Buckeye's picture

Fickell needs to don a kilt and hold all of his pressers while waving a chair, a la Rowdy Roddy Piper.  Call it "Fickell's Pit"



...And when we win the game, We'll buy a keg of booze....And we'll drink to old Ohio til we wobble in our shoes...

thorvath22's picture

I feel like Fickell just has "it"

He seems to be the perfect Ohio State head coach, the intensity of woody, players coach like coop and even earle but with the tress influence.

I honestly enjoy not only rooting for OSU (of course) but him as well...its easy to say that now sure (because he hasn't frustrated us with a bad call yet) but judging only the guy i've seen thus far I really think he is "our guy".

Live the dream Fick' and GO BUCKS!

acBuckeye's picture

Is James Louis really transferring, or is it just rumor? Also, within an ESPiN article, they mentioned that Dorian Bell is no longer with the team? Please enlighten us, insiders. Thank you. If Bell is really leaving, what a shame. I thought he was gonna be a beast for us.

Alex's picture

Louis just left due to family issues. Bell is gone as he would have been suspended for the season and is trying to find a new home. Sad but kid needs to get his head on right. When your hometown school, Pitt, turns you down because of your baggage that says it all.

slippy's picture

Don't practices get more intense every year?  I feel like we hear the same story over and over again.  In a few weeks we'll hear about how Nathan Williams is unblockable.  Then we'll hear about Rod Smith being a showstopper.  About how Bauserman can't miss a pass.


Then the season starts and Williams is a no-show...turns out our tackles are terrible.  Rod Smith is the 4th string.  JB throws 35% completion rate.


I'm exaggerating, but I've learned to not buy into this stuff, as we all should.


Also, the Bears have no true WRs.  Dane should be a lock. Hester and Knox are fast with mediocre (at best) hands.  Roy Will might have the best hands but probably can't out-sprint Big Hank.  Sam Hurd?  Seriously?  Why even bother Bears?

thorvath22's picture

Pessemistic much?

Sometimes players look great in scrimmage and practice but never translate to real games....like bam childress and taurian washington.

You also can expect the players to be playiing dominate the first week...I say by game 3-5 we will know what this teams potential is for the season...whether they live up to that is a coin toss.

slippy's picture

It's not pessimism, it's realism.


You're also helping make my point.  How great was T-Wash in the spring?  2 years ago Thad Gibson was 'unblockable' at practice then had a mediocre year and got drafted in a mediocre round.  The TEs are going to be a huge part of the offense is what we heard last year.  Did Stoneburner even get to 20 catches?


I'm just saying every year some people get way too excited about something they read from a practice report and take a quote from a coach and run with it.


When I see Percy Harvin like triple options benig run against Akron, I'll be excited.  When Simon is in the backfield every play against Toledo, I'll be excited.  Until then, we have to temper ourselves.

thorvath22's picture

I completely agree, I also feel optimism has its place and for every T-Wash underachieving there is a Troy Smith or a Dane Sanzenbacher living up to the hype and expectations.

Bucks's picture

Well, I do not agree completely. While I agree with you that there are certain stereotypes always attributed to spring edit fall by plenty of the media, there are some extreme differences this year. Just saying you cannot attribute previous years rerun to a new HC and a couple new Asst. Coaches.

Numero UNO is a new Head Coach who will dictate how he wants practices to be. We have a new LB coach in Vrabel and his style will surely be different than the previous. We have a new RB coach who will be incredibly important especially in regards to our backs handling a dual role more so. We have someone specifically handling Special Teams this year for the first time in what? 10 years? A ton of positions that are open, which breeds heavy competition & a team who has listened to all the crap for months.

As for you saying how practice reports are always out there claiming one thing but it being nowhere close come gametime, well to an extent that happens no matter what. I would hope that you are directing that at some people who actually deserve that criticism, and not 11W staff. I haven't seen them embellish something about practice at any point. In fact, I'd say they are more grounded.


Oh and ANY person claiming Bauserman is on fire or can't miss, made me giggle. :P

Bucks's picture

There is certainly one thing though that I guarantee you I surpass you in skepticism about. The O-line. I don't care if sporting outlets say we have the best line ever in the making @ tOSU ... they are absolute CRAP to me until I see the lines being blown up.

thorvath22's picture

in regards to the O-line I hate hearing people say..."our line will be good...not wisconsin good but good"....with the talent we can recruit we should be able to move people around BETTER than a Wisconsin O-line.

Colin's picture

I think you are confusing our O line with our D line. We have a hard time landing offensive line talent.

William's picture

Thorvath has a pretty good point, over the years we've landed quite a bit of O-line talent, it just seems like so many of the players have never lived up to their hype, whereas with Wisconsin it seems like their O-line always exceeds the hype.

Colin's picture

True...maybe it's just a coaching thing then.

Bucks's picture

Can't disagree. I don't know who would or would not agree with this but last year seemed to be the best line we've had for a while. I'm not one for putting all the blame on one person & every year is different. With that said, if I remember correctly, wasn't last year the first year of Bollman losing interior line duties & only working with the tackles?

Not going to say that Bollman is the cause. Just an interesting nugget to me. Our O-line has been the main hinderance to me for some time. Don't care the cause, just care about it being dealt with emphatically.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Think about the o-line names that have passed thru Columbus: Orlando Pace, John Hicks, Korey Stringer, Jim Lachey, LeCharles Bentley, Kirk Lowdermilk, Jeff Uhlenhake -- to name a few. Historically, we have been one of the top 6 or 7 o-line schools in the country. What the hell happened?

This is one of my big criticisms with Tressel. I think the vest's thinking was that we could take three-star o-linemen and coach them up to four-star and that would work for Tresselball. Well, it works if you have a seasoned mistake-free qb who has passing skills or scrambling ability or both.* Otherwise, it will result in 2-3 losses.

Hopefully, Luke realizes some corrections need to be made. We need to do better with recruiting and developing our o-line. We need to get back to having monsters.


* Or when you meet a school like USC in 2008 or LSU in 2007 (01/07/2008) or Florida in 2006 (01/08/2007) -- who has a lights out defense. Tresselball fails if the o-line can't move the ball at least three yards on any given play.

slippy's picture

I'd imagine Vrabel and Fickell are pretty similar, but that's an opinion based on pretty much nothing.


I'm not directing it at 11W at all.  Mostly the rumor mills and message boards (which I don't read but my friends like to tell me how awesome every player is going to be).  I'll see comments here and there about these reports (specifically the TEs last year or two).


Ha, I don't believe the stories about Bauserman either but I knew a guy on the team a few years ago and he said JB was always awesome in practice.

Bucks's picture

I've heard the same about Bauserman in practice which would have atleast given me a tiny bit of understanding about him having the 2nd role (no pressure = very good qb), but when I ask others (11W, etc) ... it isn't the case to them. So, Bauserman will just go down as the head scratcher for me forever.

Johnny Ginter's picture

i gave bauserman a pretty positive review in one of the practices that i saw in the spring, but i think most people who watched the spring game would say i'm a crazy person for writing that

NeARBuckeye's picture

Roy Williams, best, and hands should never be in the same sentence unless:

Roy Williams is best at being overrated and dropping passes with his terrible hands.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

The breath of fresh air that these past few days have been has been enormous. I agree that there's nothing better than normalcy at this point. I'm telling myself that there will be no bowl ban, and that only a couple of schollies will be docked over the next 2 years or so. Should I prepare myself for anything different?

German Buckeye's picture

I am really looking forward to this season and hope the following transpires:

1) Continue to develop a mentailty of toughness and football excellence that we all have been USED to for the past decade.

2) Firmly establish that the coaches we have now are the coaches we need to continue to have.

3) Absolutely destroy opponents this season - no mercy, no "well lets not run it up" - but just demolish and not worry about perception otherwise. 

4) Win the B1G, and win a BCS Bowl game.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

+1 on all points, especially #3. We're OSU; people should be intimidated. Let's get back to that.

German Buckeye's picture

Also, EXCELLENT Tress article to read over at Along the Olentangy - I know, I know, enough of this crap and focus on football, but really, a must read.


btalbert25's picture

The problem with all these articles is, they aren't national media outlets, they are local, and will be discounted, and it's the same old stuff.  Seems every time ESPN says Ohio State, there are 2 or 3 new ones.  They are good, but at this point who cares anymore.  Even if a big outlet were to come out with a story like this, it wouldn't change the reporting.  Clearly ESPN is getting the reaction it wants when they do an outside the lines segment, or comment that OSU clearly has a friend at the NCAA office, etc.  Every time they do one of these piece I guarrenttee their website hits spike, they get a flood of emails, and they have great incentive to keep it up.

thorvath22's picture

But that's the problem, ESPN is the largest sports news outlet in the world and shouldn't be doing "reactionary" peices, they should be doing real reporting, people who are not well informed or too blind to see view these "reactionary" peices as truth and fact when they are not and that is the problem and ESPN should be held responsible for that...I cannot remember them ever retracting a false statement and they should a lot....they need a rumour mill show but it would probably take up 75% of their programing.

btalbert25's picture

When have they ever done real reporting though?  They aren't know for invesitgative journalism.  Hell Entertainment is one of the 4 letters.  They aren't concerned with being a source of good journalism because that's not what they're about.  They are no different than any other "news" network.  They have a bunch of programming with a bunch of garbage that has a kernal of truth and reap in the benefits the ratings give them.  You can't demand journalistic integrity out of a network that has never been about journalism, they are about entertainment.  You are going to get tabloid level junk out of such an outfit every time. 

ESPN, in my mind has never pulled any punches about what they are.  They are to be taken as entertainment and that's about it.  Any news they report is something regurgitated from Yahoo, AP, or another source, then they bring in their "analysts" to comment on the situation.  That's mostly what pisses Ohio State fans off, the experts are never in favor or Ohio State.  If people sit on their duff and believe anything that these experts say, that's on the individual not ESPN.  Surely, they aren't the only network that has viewers who blindly believe everything the experts or analysts say despite evidence to the contrary.

thorvath22's picture

Exactly....but I think they do attempt to be journalists....just go to their website or look at the magazine...if they weren't trying to be journalists than why are they attempting to dig up dirt on osu and report it....the problem is they select when they want to try and be journalists and they present things in a guilty until proven innocent manner.

I agree with you and ultimately it is the ignorant sports fans who trust in ESPN to report them their news....or it is a fan that loves what ESPN says about their programs and wants to live in a fairy tale world with no SEC oversigning and no "auctioning" of recruits to schools so they watch ESPN who doesn't talk about that stuff.

Maestro's picture

This groundhog is pretty darn excited.

vacuuming sucks

SchankHaus's picture

Good.  Good.  Was hoping that Fickle would start closing into a full-on Tornado Shanks mode:


See about 39 seconds in.  So far, so good.

buckeyedude's picture

 My favorite band from high school. I think Luke Fickell is to Jim Tressel, what Wolfgang Van Halen is to Van Halen. He's family, a whippersnapper, an up-and-comer, and you HAVE to give 'em a chance. And he's got good bloodlines. Sure, he's no Urban Meyer, but neither is Wolfgang a Marc Anthony Sobieski. Don't roll your eyes dammit, Van Halen is the second best damn band in the land, IMO.



Doc's picture

Come on Dude give me a break.....

Comparing Luke Fickell to Wolf VH is lame at best.  Wolfie has no business being in a classic rock band like VH.  Luke has at least coached, unlike Wolf playing in other bands.  The comparison to Sammy Hagar is more apt.

Secondly, it is MICHAEL Anthony Sobeleski.  You are correct that Van Halen is the second best damn band in the land.

My two favorite things in life: Classic (David Lee Roth based) Van Halen and the Buckeyes.

Everybody wants some!  How 'bout you?


CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Denny's picture



Bucks's picture

"Okay sure, there have also been reports that practice was faster paced and more intense than in years past, but until Tyler Moeller shows up with a luchador mask and refuses to answer to anything but "El Diablo" I will remain unconvinced."

Gave you a cheers with my coffee on that one Johnny. ;)



toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

Seeing Simon in the Toledo backfield all day long is great, but please take it a little easy on my alma mater. I'd rather see Simon in Michigan State's backfield all day long, though, whacking on Cousins and Baker.