Thursday Skull Session

By Jeremy Birmingham on October 27, 2011 at 6:00a

Hey y'all, what's going's everyone doing? Yeah, that's great. Glad to hear it.

Me? I am fine, I suppose. Just a bit down in the dumps because I am stuck living and working with a view of the Pacific Ocean when what I really want to do is be in Columbus this weekend with the 11W squad representin' Eat Too, Brutus. Since I am not, it looks like I will be holding down the dot com fort and chillin' with the rest of you guys and girls who were unable to make the trip. 

Thanks to the 23 flavors that comprise Dr. Pepper, I think we'll still have a real good time here at the site. Also, if you're in SoCal/LA area this weekend, I plan on getting together with Chuck from The Buckeye Battle Cry blog to watch the game and have our own miniature version of D2B/E2B. Feel free to shoot me an email at if you have some suggestions on where we would be best served drinking some frosties and grubbing on some munchies, or to join us if you're cool like that.

Enough small talk, let's get to the goodies.

RIFE WITH IRONY. Yesterday, Eddie Rife, the shady figure at the center of the Fine Link Ink tattoo parlor controversy that has consumed Ohio State football for the past year, was sentenced to three years in prison for selling marijuana and laundering drug money. Rife, who was found to have sold between 880 and 1500 pounds of the sticky icky in between 2008 and 2010, used his parlor to barter with Ohio State players for memorabilia, which ultimately led to the current state of affairs in and around the Buckeye football program.

You'd imagine that being the center of a year-long investigation for federal drug-trafficking and money laundering charges would be enough to freak a guy out, right? Well, not this guy. Rife's nadir in the last year? Yep, you guessed it: Ohio State fans. Rife contends that being blamed for the downfall of Ohio State football ruined his business and put his family in jeopardy. Yes, Rife's association with drug dealers and violent criminals was less of a worry to him than the worry of retribution from Buckeye nation.

Obviously so distraught and frightened, Rife made sure to get rid of all the Buckeye memorabilia in order to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder though? Nope. Rife made a choice to pay the government 50k as a part of his plea agreement, which allowed him to hold onto his Buckeye swag.

I wonder if Kirk Herbstreit needs a neighbor...

WISKY ON YOUR BREATH. Most "average" Buckeye football fans (if you can call any Buckeye fans "average") can't tell you exactly the last time Ohio State was shut-out in a football game (28-0 in 1993 at Michigan), and even fewer could recall the last time it happened at home. In fact, if Sparty hadn't come within a kitten's whisker of getting the shutout in Columbus October 1st, I reckon only some real die-hards would have any idea at all. Well, the last time Ohio State was shut out at home was 1982. The opponent was Wisconsin, and Earle Bruce was at the helm for the Bucks. The day, a cold and rainy afternoon started out with Wisconsin scoring on their opening drive, but missing the extra point. That six-point scoring explosion was all it would take, and the Badgers got their first ever win at the 'Shoe, 6-0.

Since then, Wisconsin has become a regular pain the Buckeye's rear end, beating the Buckeyes 5 times in the last 14 meetings between the teams (since we don't count last year, Wisconsin didn't win! Suck it, Bucky!) Much has been made about whether or not the Buckeye football team would be seeking "revenge" this weekend, and that theory has been skillfully dodged by Fickell and his "men of action". Jake Stoneburner, recently named to the Mackey award mid-season "watch list", offered up his feelings.

‘You can’t say it’s a revenge game. You’ve just got to remember the feeling we had when we lost first place, when we were No. 1 in the country,’ ”

The Buckeyes will enter this weekend thinking about something much more in the "here and now" than last year's game: the knowledge that a win against Wisconsin could mean a 9-3 regular season, and a shot at the B1G's inaugural championship game trophy, is suddenly a real possibility. How OSU will respond to this drastic change of fortune is the million dollar question, and hopefully a few changes on the depth chart will shed some clarity as to the mindset of the scarlet and gray.

On defense anyway, it appears the Buckeyes might be looking to get faster and more aggressive, and they should; because there's absolutely nothing to lose this weekend for Ohio State. Freshman Curtis Grant, the Buckeyes highest-ranked incoming defensive recruit, has moved himself into the two-deep at the SAM. Of course, that may only mean that we are likely to see more of a 4-3 defensive look (meaning less Tyler Moeller, potentially) from Ohio State this weekend, but it will be curious to see what Curtis can finally bring to the defense. The LEO spot along the defensive line lists JT Moore OR Steve Miller and Dominic Clarke is back from his one-game suspension and backing up Travis Howard. 

It looks like Heacock and Fick are going to cut the youngsters loose finally. If they win, awesome, if they lose, it's valuable PT against one of the nation's best teams in an atmosphere they'll never forget. As ol' Coop used to say "If they're gonna bite, they'll bite as pups.".

By the way, there's one dude that seems eager to talk about last year's game, Wisconsin's head honcho, Bret Bielema.

“The only bad part about Terrelle leaving is he kind of claimed the week after that it was a fluke, that they’d beat us nine out of 10 times,” Bielema said. “To me, we really wanted to play that game against him. Unfortunately we won’t. But I think our kids know what they did last year.”

Buckeye fans will need to see this a few times on Saturday night

We get it, Bret. Terrelle Pryor sometimes said the wrong thing, at the wrong time. Can we just move on from him, pretty please?

READY OR NOT, HERE COMES THE BOOM If you think back real hard to two years ago, Boom Herron's sophomore season, what do you remember about him? You might remember him missing three games with injury. You may remember him having a decent game against Iowa with a B1G title chance on the line, where he toted the rock 32 times before Devon Barclay sent the Horseshoe into a Rose-tinted hysteria with a 39-yard field goal in overtime. You might know that he did not record a single 100 yard rushing performance on the year, despite averaging a team-best 15 carries a game. What I remember the most? I vividly remember wondering why the little freshman with the incredible vision and shiftiness who wore #29 didn't get more carries. I remember lamenting the fact that Jaamal Berry could not seem to shake a lingering hamstring injury, because he was the next "break away" back at Ohio State. Most of all, I remember thinking "Boom Herron is not the answer at tailback for Ohio State."


Fast-forward to today and Boom has scored a touchdown in 13 consecutive games, the second longest streak in school history. Boom is the second-leading active rusher in the B1G and first among running backs. His career touchdowns (30) are good for second among active players behind Wisconsin's Monte Ball. Yes, Boom clearly made some serious mental errors that led to his six games worth of suspensions this year, but it's no surprise that he took over right where he left off. He's a tireless worker, and a great team-leader in the locker room, and the Buckeyes are a much better team when he's on the field. The Buckeyes are 19-1 in games where Herron has rushed for over 55 yards, so if you're a Buckeye fan looking fora reason that Bollman may spice up the offense a bit this week, I would head into the game with expectation phasers set to "comatose".

Get ready Wisconsin, you're going to get a heavy dose of Boom, whether Carlos Hyde likes it or not.

BERRY POOR DECISIONS DON'T TELL WHOLE STORY. As reported yesterday, Jamaal Berry was named as a person of interest in an on-campus incident this past weekend. Berry, a red-shirt sophomore from Florida, has struggled to keep himself on the field due to injuries, and is not doing himself any favors in his down time. Berry's status for this weekend's game has not yet been determined, but Gene Smith iimplied that without formal charges against Jamaal, that he would likely avoid suspension.

Unfortunately, it appears this morning that those charges are forthcoming, and it's not just your run-of-the-mill assault charge, either. According to the attorney for the victim, Berry will be charged with assault and ethnic intimidation for yelling racially charged obscenities at the victim before the incident occcurred.

While there are certainly details that need to be sorted out, it would appear that Berry is running out of time to make an impact on the field in Columbus. As a firm believer in "better to remain quiet and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt", I will hesitate to say too much more about what could possibly be going on with Jamaal. Rather, I will hope that he gets the help he needs to make a positive change in his life regardless of what he does on the gridiron. He's a Buckeye, and it's clear that something is not right in the young man's life right now, and althought it would be easy for Buckeye nation to turn their backs on him, let's be sure that all the facts are known before casting him aside.

QUICK SLANTS. Excellent story about former Buckeye Alex Boone...Do you think you'd notice if your plane landed without it's front landing gear? Jake Ballard's hands - a short story.  As if this weekend's "Scarlet Out" wasn't enough, here is the next "color out" - POPS...Joe Montana is not particularly feeling the Golden Dome anymore and I don't even have any idea how to adequately describe this lunacy so instead I will ramble on about it until I run out of breath and fall down on the fl

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