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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yrro's picture

I have a very amusing image in my head of Ballard interviewing for a job in the NFL... And his tape of his college film is nothing but that rose bowl catch from different angles and in slow motion. Also, not to be too political, but the "shouting racial slurs" charge on Berry is ridiculous. I didn't know Ohio had gotten in on the hate crime nonsense. Beating someone up, though, is anserious charge. Hope there's more to the story to exonerate him morally and legally.

BED's picture

Just to clarify, this is a civil suit.  There are still no criminal charges pending against Berry, as far as I know.  And the "racial slurs" thing is probably just an emotional distress claim (which are usually worthless).  As a plaintiff's attorney, you just throw shit in that's factually justifiable and see what sticks.  Then you take the claims that will work and run from there.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

BrewstersMillions's picture

This isn't in defense of Berry by any means as any assault is a lapse in judgement but I'm reminded of an old South Park episode where Cartman gets thrown in jail for a hate crime and the judge says "I'm going to send a clear message here. If you are going to attack someone, you better make damned well sure they are the same color as you!"

SilverBullets's picture

Jeremy, I think alot of us were off on Herron.  Whether it be Saine, Hyde, or hell, even Rod Smith; I know I was looking for someone else to step up.  But the truth is, Herron is a damn good back.  He's not Beanie, but kind of reminds me of Pittman in that he doesn't quite get his due.

BuckeyeSki's picture

If you think back real hard to two years ago, Boom Herron's sophomore season, what do you remember about him? 

1. Taking a Dave handoff against Nerdwestern in a blowout and going like 30 yds to the house, causing Tress to have the most pained look on his face as he was not trying to run up the score

2. The turf-monster tackled him often, as he hadn't learned to pick his feet up and was constantly getting shoe-string tackled

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Even now, Boom is still relatively vulnerable to shoe-string tackles and/or getting arm-tackled while running through the hole by a defender who is on the ground or in the process of falling down.

If he can cut down on those lost opportunities, Boom has the potential to be a devastating, top-10 (maybe even top-5) in the country-type RB down the stretch this season.   

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater's picture

I think many of of us "blew it" in regards to assessing Herron.   I know I did.  He was too slow, doesn't hit the hole, tripped over seemingly nothing, went down too easily, Saine was way better, etc.  

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that this is a guy that truly "developed" over his career here.   He has improved his vision, can absorb that first hit and keep going, and has vastly improved his footwork.  Is there a lesson to be learned here as we nitpick Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith, etc?  Probably.   Will we learn it?   Doubtful (jk, sorta).

I am now a huge Herron guy, and rooting for him to finish out his senior year in style.   Where style = lotsa wins.



Colin's picture

You can see the Pacific Ocean from work and you would rather be here where it is 40 degrees and raining? Mannn whas wrong witchu..

Run_Fido_Run's picture

This Saturday, the Buckeyes need to make Russell Wilson land several times without any landing gear.

argyle182021's picture

Pink out Penn State?  No thank you. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Well, Pink Out Penn State is an improvement over their usual POPS = Punk Out Penn State, or POSPS.

blazers34's picture

Hard not to love Tyler Moeller, but I dont think seeing less of him will really be a bad thing.  At least from what I have seen, he hasnt really stood out like many expected.  Maybe the injuries have taken their toll

BED's picture

Pink? Really?  I'm all for raising money for cancer research, but come on, man.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

Denny's picture




Run_Fido_Run's picture

Anyway to combine pink out with

ArTbkward's picture

JoePa would probably look cute in pink.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Pink wouldn't hide the shart stains very well though...I'm sorry, but JoPoo references will never get old for me.  You just don't see stuff like that everyday, you know?  I still lol just thinking about it.

BED's picture

Has nothing to do with being a man.  I actually rock pink dress shirts at work all the time.  I just think it's stupid to ask fans to wear something other than their school colors to a game.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

Mr. Slick's picture

I'm down with this.  I look good in pink.


But I'm not buying their pink.

SonOfBuckeye's picture

Nice piece about Boone, thanks for linking that. I tend to skim "Skull Sessions" and almost missed it.

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture


This all started with the NFL and MLB using "breast cancer awareness" as a cheap trick to seem more "female friendly" and garner more female viewers. Prostate cancer and breast cancer have near similar occurence and mortality rates in the US. Which one of those targets women?

I have no problem with the support Buckeye Nation has given to the Stephanie Spielman Foundation. That is an example of Buckeye Nation rallying around one of its own. I do have a problem with other entities trying to co-opt our support of the Spielmans so they can get their fifteen minutes.

This has crossed the damn line to the point where the football game takes a backseat. Hey everyone! Let's all dress in pink and raise AWARENESS for breast cancer! And let's all go down to that stadium by the Olentangy and show people how AWARE we are! And if you stick around after we've assembled to show our AWARENESS, there's a special show for all of you: a tackle football game between a team from Ohio and a team from Pennsylvania who share your desire to raise AWARNESS of breast cancer and find a cure!

We get it. Breast cancer is serious (so is all cancer). We hate it (like we do all cancers). But sports are my ONE distraction in life. Can I please just have that without being bothered by people who want more money from me?



BED's picture

Relatedly, one of the funniest things I've ever heard in my life was about 3 years ago, I was watching the Punt/Pass/Kick challenge, and the WVU kicker was interviewed because he had pink laces on his kicking shoes.  When asked why he wore them, his answer was.

"My grandmother died of breast cancer awareness."

I felt bad for the poor nervous kid, but damn, was that funny.  Too bad no video is on the interwebs.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

Reminds me of when "The Man Show" got a bunch of women in LA to carry signs on a street corner that said "STOP WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE!". When one of the bimbos was asked why she was doing this, she said "Women are suffering everday and it needs to end!"

MaliBuckeye's picture

So, I'm proposing a "Naked Out for Breast Awareness".... Who's with me?


On second thought, many male Wisconsin fans may actually bring more cuppage than some of my exes, so... nevermind.

"Sarcastically, I'm in charge."


Maestro's picture


vacuuming sucks

RBuck's picture

MLB actually had a prostate cancer awareness day a few years back; on Fathers day off all days. Stadiums had multiple booths set up in their concourses so old Dad could get an instant prostate exam while attending a game. Sounds like fun, huh?

It was reported (rumoured) at the time that certain "guys" went from one booth to another.

Long live the southend.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I'm cautiously optimistic in re: Buckeyes DL/LB v. Wisky's OL. Against ILL, there were signs that Heacock's experiments with different DL combinations (due to Nathan Williams going down) might be working.

In recent years, the Buckeyes D has used sort of a hybrid 4-3/3-4, which was quite effective when they had players like Nathan Williams, Heyward, T Gibson, etc. Lately, to compensate for the lack of a "LEO," it seems like Heacock has "gone big" a lot, lining up not just Simon but also Big Hank on the outside and doing some other wrinkles that I'm not sophisticated enough to analyze. Meanwhile, the LBs are gradually getting better (we hope, right?).

One problem last year against Wisky is that Ohio State's scheme, which was designed to be stout against either PRO/power or spread, meant that the front-7 was on the light side by past Buckeye standards - and, at times, Wisky's powerful OL simply steamrolled them.

This year, Ohio State's LBs are not as good as last years, but they are BIGGER (at least the starters are). Klein is probably better playing against a power running team. Along with the "big" DL approach, the Buckeyes might actually match up better this year against Wisky - especially since Wisky's OL might be down a notch or two - even though the Buckeyes defense was better overall in 2010. 

Buckeyejason's picture

I think this years Wisco team is more of a spread/finess speed offense than the usual pound it power running attack due to the addition of Russell least that's what I observed in the game last saturday night.

Linebacking play is going to be crucial. Wilson is the X-factor in this game and if he runs free to do his thing we're in for a long night.


Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree, but Wisky still ran for like 220 yards against MSU's very good rush defense. When Ball went out, MSU did most of its damage (in addition to the STs plays). I like Ohio State's chances much better if they can contain Wisky's power run game. Better yet, shut it down and make Wisky one-dimensional (but that's probably dreaming).

Sure, Wisky can also run the ball out of spread formations, but that's not their bread & butter. 

Meanwhile, Wilson is going to make plays - not much you can do about that. But if the Buckeyes take away Wisky's power game, the Buckeyes secondary is good enough to force Wilson into mistakes, too.   

Buckeyejason's picture

I wonder if Berry screams racial slurs at all the white chicks he hangs out and "hooks up with"? Damn, way to go and ruin a good thing Jaamal.


Baroclinicity's picture

Good to see Boone coming along.  Does anyone remember him hurdling one of our players in celebration after a TD at Penn State in '07?  He got like 6 feet in the air.



Never was into South Park, never was into Family Guy, but I gotta admit, I'm a little stoked to see Beavis and Butthead return tonight.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

AltaBuck's picture

Heard about that this morning on the radio. I guess old B & B will be ripping on reality tv shows, specifically Jersey Shore

I am Groot - Groot

Buckeyejason's picture

I remember when Boone did the leap, that was awesome.

Dude come on, Family Guy is Ohio State and Beavis and Butthead is Kent comparison.


zosima's picture

Sorry, but Family Guy is Notre Dame...sure it was great once, but now its just kinda sad.  Seth spread himself way too thin.

BucksfanXC's picture

After the Weis era, spreading too thin can never be an analogy used to describe ND.

“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

BED's picture

doublechin lol

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

Maestro's picture

Cool, ha ha.........ha ha.

vacuuming sucks

btalbert25's picture

Quite honestly I find all of the "color outs" foolish.  The first time it was done, or at least the first time I remember it, was Penn State, and it was pretty cool looking when they did the white out, then every college in America started ripping it off and doing red outs, stripe outs, blackouts, etc.  It's just not original.  People complained about the piping in of music, and goofiness on the scoreboard, but to me the color outs are the most ripped off, generic, unoriginal, manufactured atmosphere that games can have these days.  I do think it's neat to see the fans all in the same color, but it really does nothing for the game.

That being said, and I realize I'm going to contradict myself here, a "Pink Out" would be kind of cool and I'm down with the sports recognizing Breast Cancer.  There are a lot of female fans out there and it's a nice tip of the cap to them.  What I have a problem with is that it's great marketing that they make a fortune off of.  I had a friend at work who loved baseball.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was caught early and she was fine, but I was going to get her a Pink Louiville Slugger with a Reds Player name on it.  The Freaking Pink Bats were outrageously priced.  75-100 bucks I don't remember the exact cost, but it was unbelieveable.

Bucksfan's picture

And what made "White Out" particularly clever was the fact that "white outs" are real things, like a blizzard or the liquid paper that you cover up mistakes.  It makes sense to "White Out Ohio State!" because you're trying to beat them, eliminate their name from contention, if you will, or blanket them with intimidation.  As a pun, it works.  "Black-Out" also works as far as I'm concerned.  "Scarlet Out" not so much.  "Pink Out" sounds like a dirty reference to a dog.  But, a whole stadium in pink to raise money for breast cancer would be pretty great.  It's a devastating disease, and many of our friends or families are affected by it.

biggy84's picture

LeCharles Bentley has to be the next o-line coach here! It is quite obvious to me that he could really help develop linemen.

Buckeyejason's picture

+1, love that idea.


BED's picture

Not Orlando Pace?

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

Maestro's picture

Sorry, but the last thing this staff needs is more inexperinced coaches.  Drayton is coaching receivers for the first time.  Vrabel is coaching linebackers for the first time.  Tressel is coaching special teams for the first time.  Fickell we all know is a new head coach. Please no more first time coaches.

vacuuming sucks

Buckeyejason's picture

You're right, can't debate you there.


William's picture

LeCharles Bentley isn't an inexperienced coach by any means. The guy runs one of the best O-line camps in the nation in Cleveland. Gabe Carimi, John Moffit, Anthony Castonzo, and Nate Solder all were first round draft picks that LeCharles Bentley worked with. He was just invited by Nike this past summer to travel the country as an O-line coach for the Nike High School Combines. He knows how to coach, far better than Bollman at that.

Edit: Moffit wasn't a first round pick, still believe that he was drafted in the first 4 rounds.

SaintTressel's picture

Maestro, take your sound reasoning elsewhere. It would be cool to see Bentley someday coach at Ohio state, but, while there is some overlap, teaching indy technique at summer camp isn't the same thing as consistently producing a cohesive and functional o line unit. And it is still Ohio state. We shouldn't have too much trouble finding a qualified candidate.

Also, I dislike Jim Bollman. That is all.

Maestro's picture

Excellent points the end of your paragraph at least.

vacuuming sucks

William's picture

What does Bentley not bring to the table as an O-line coach? He's great at teaching O-linemen proper technique, what more is needed in a position coach than teaching technique and schemes?

William's picture

Wins? So as a position coach you should have wins under your belt? By those qualifications Jim Bollman is one of the best O-line coaches in America. Try again. Bentley has experience, he runs one of the best, if not the best O-like camps in America, he definitely produces results, and he's already made a name for himself amongst recruits on the Nike circuit.

SaintTressel's picture

Apologies, I thought your question was about Bentley, not Bollman. To Bentley I would respond "wins", to Bollman I would respond with a few incoherent sentences and a seizure.

But seriously, I don't question Bentley's ability to teach technique. What I would question is his ability to teach blocking schemes, assignments, and checks in a coherent manner, as well be a contributing member of the staff in terms of scouting/game planning. I guess what I'm saying is, I'm sure he's great at 'how to block', but i'm less confident in his ability to teach (and gameplan)(and adjust) 'who to block' and 'when to block him'.

Maestro's picture

He has never been part of a coaching staff.  Again we don't need anymore coaches on this staff (assuming that Fickell remains head coach) that have never been part of a coaching staff. Not a camp organizer but a REAL coach on a REAL team.  Thanks for the back up Saint.

vacuuming sucks

RBuck's picture

+ a gazillion.

Long live the southend.

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

Just a thought: since Ohio State's fan base is large and I have been watching the Dan Patrick Show a lot recently, we should join in on the "Occupy Gameday" theme and get signs about the mothership that they won't take away but still take a shot at ESPiN.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  "We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!"

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I am not wearing pink to the Penn State game, dammit. 

Didn't Iowa paint their visitor locker room pink?  If we really want to pink out Penn State, maybe we should do something similar. 

Class of 2010.

BoFuquel's picture

Bolls has plenty of wins.GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.