Thursday Skull Session

By Chris Lauderback on April 19, 2012 at 6:00a

Just two more days until Buckeye fans get their first glimpse of the squad under the direction of Urban Meyer and plenty of nuggets continue to emerge as kickoff draws near. 

With Braxton Miller serving as the straw that stirs the drink, Meyer won't choose to unveil much of Ohio State's new outside running packages orchestrated by his sophomore quarterback, instead opting to utilize reps to work on Miller's passing and testing the ability of receivers to make some plays in space. 

The spring game draft is being held this morning with Luke Fickell and Tom Herman handling the head coaching duties on Saturday. The losing team will have to complete a fall community service event. 

Doug Lesmerises notes that in spring practice scrimmages, the defense holds a 3-1 edge on the offense with two ties. Seems like the safe bet is to expect more of the same on Saturday especially with Miller a bit shackled by the rules but there should also be some big play opportunites for guys like Stoneburner who continues to see more time split wide. So long as it's injury free, the day is a success. 

BETTER MAKE THE HIGH FIVES QUICK. It was a foregone conclusion UFM planned to turn up the offensive tempo this fall but he broke it down further yesterday proclaiming he wants to crank out 80-85 snaps per game via a Braxton Milled led hurry up, no huddle attack similar to Chip Kelly's:

"All you've got to do is look at Oregon. We're committed to it. We're still going to pop a huddle once in a while, but we're committed to it." 

Obviously, the offense is being bulit around Braxton and he shared it will showcase his athletcism including one particularly enticing package: 

"I've never run the triple-option until this year. It's neat. There are a lot of things that go into it. I can't wait to run it."

The easy assumption is that this, while a huge shift in what the historical OSU offense looks like, is a welcome evolution that will enable the Buckeyes to better compete for national championships. It's an easier sell to skill position recruits looking for a high volume of touches and will undoubtedly lure more game breakers to Columbus. A similar blueprint helped Matta reel in a laundry list of incredibly talented kids paced by the likes of Conley and Turner. 

On the heels of ranking 107th in total offense, Meyer is bringing the program a much needed mid-life crisis Ferrari to replace the aging and beige 4-door Taurus. The plan seems to come with no few downsides though I'm interested to see how this philosophy fares against physical defenses in in windy places like Champaign and Evanston along with the general November cold. Meyer inherited a bruiser in Hyde and brought in a banger in Dunn so my hope is that there's still an appetite for featuring a power running game that often needs established to win the B1G. 

DANTONIO CONTINUES TO GIVE NAY DAMNS. So, I guess Mark Dantonio wants to get back in the good graces of Buckeye fans after his temper tantrum about UFM raiding his cupboard. Already in mid-season form, the kinda sorta intense Mark D had this to say when asked about Michigan's supposed (but not yet) cemented return as an elite national program: 

"We're laying in the weeds. We've beat Michigan the last four years. So where's the threat?"

Okay. Go ahead and put me once again firmly in the Dantonio camp. It works out perfect that he didn't up as the head coach in Columbus but still has ample opportunity to earn our love by beating then taunting the Ann Arbor arrogance. 

Separated at birth?

WHISPER WORDS OF WISDOM... The American Football Coaches Association board will hold meetings next month and a topic of discussion is said to be whether or not a proposal should be sent to the NCAA permitting schools to scrimmage or hold practices against each other during spring football. 

The AFCA's president noted such sessions already occur in basketball and soccer though practices seem much more logistially doable than spring games. Personally, I think spring ball is about things like skill development and identification of depth through repetition and would be best left alone. Guys like Saban and Stoops have the same preference but there's support for the idea including out of Ann Arbor. 

Hoke loves the idea of practicing against another school away from fans and media while David Brandon could even get behind a spring game against an opposing school.

I don't think it would be the end of the world or anything but I still say let it be. 

BREAKING: COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYERS LOVE TREE. ESPN the Magazine recently uncovered that some college football players like to burn the chronic and actually prefer it to alcohol because there's not hangover. That is some shocking sh!t right there. For realsies though, there has been what reads like a rash of marijuana related incidents touching top players at schools like Georgia, TCU, Alabama, Florida and LSU to name a few. 

Then there's Oregon

According to the story, in January one player explained how things work in a town where plentiful bud has the squad instinctively flocking like the salmon of Capistrano: 

"Most of the guys are waiting until after winter workouts." Once those conclude in March, he adds, they'll gather in clusters to partake together. About half the team smokes, he estimates. "It's a team thing. Like video games."

And just how accessible is it in Eugene? Former Duck Reuben Droughns offers:

"It's the weed capital of the world. Long dreads. Girls with hairy armpits. Where there's hippies, there's weed."

Now, I'm not condoning the practice - almost entirely because it's not exactly a performance enhancer but I hope ESPN didn't think this was some type of expose as the NCAA and the schools themselves are highly aware many of their players smoke weed. The NCAA knows so well that they only test players for marijuana before bowl games. Another year round test is conducted but it doesn't look for marijuana. That's convenient. The one test with a stiff penalty (one year suspension) has a date every player is acutely aware of while the random test that would actually catch someone doesn't test for greens. 

Instead of taking a tough stance, the NCAA leaves it up to schools to implement their own testing plans and corrective action measures. At Ole Miss, Purdue and UCLA, players don't miss game time until their third positive test and less than 10 schools suspend players for at least one game upon a first positive. 

It's big business people. Don't pretend to be shocked or outraged. 

VCA TAKES A HIGH STICK. evaluated cavernous Value City Arena as a hockey venue recently and could only give it a FanFare rating of 3.1 out of 5. While the place has the potential to be electric for big college hoops showdowns, I'm not sure it takes an expert to detect the professional sterility of the Schott when it's less than half full. 

Based largely on the reality that the Knucklebucks draw about 4,000 fans to a building holding 17,500 - through no fault of their own - it's easy to understand why VCA picked up just two stars for Atmosphere. 

The Fans also rate just two stars thanks to low numbers and despite free tickets, the students are raucous but not overwhelming in head count. 

It's a shame the team doesn't have a better environment in which to play. Sure the Schott is a nice pro style venue but it's simply too big not to swallow up the mood. I don't blame the fans muich for not drawing bigger numbers. The university need to evaluate how to create a more inviting atmosphere because to many it's the equivalent of being ready for a fun night on the town only to show up at a bar 20% full (ie: use the facilities real quick and bounce).

COOL DOWN LAP. The campus Barnes & Noble will host a Spielman book signing Saturday from 10:30-12:30... Kentucky declares for the NBA Draft... Donor gives Arkansas a cool mil for firing Bobby Petrino-disiac... Meanwhile, his side ass resigned... I'm pretty sure this is called the Jim Bollman Effect... I'll take an XL please...Be careful, Social Boosters... A BTN special on the '02 Buckeyes is in the works... Ohio State's Beta Theta Pi fraternity closing... RIP Dick Clark, I tip my $25,000 Pyramid box set to your memory. 


Comments Show All Comments

buckeyedude's picture

Old beige Taurus' are pretty boring and goofy looking, but the new one's are pretty damn sweet, I have to say.

Prohibition isn't working. It helped make Al Capone a household name and a folk hero, and it is making drug cartels rich. Just like the U.S. tax code, something different has to be tried.   

Going to the Spring Game with two carloads of people from Toledo. Really excited, but hope it doesn't rain.



BritishBuckeye's picture

Excellent usage of Dumb and Dumber quote.

Larryp713's picture

Is it August yet?!?!?



yrro's picture

You can tell I'm not a real partner. Nothing I like better than some friends and an empty bar.

dubjayfootball90's picture

Fall special on the '02 'ship? Sign me up!!!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Hasbro's picture

Double Secret Probation!

buckeyefanatic's picture

I don't read every word written on the site but this is the first time I've seen UFM used ... I like it.  Clever incorporation on a Dry Goods tshirt anyone??

How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan football?   1AA
Want to beat Michigan? There's an App for that.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

I had no idea the tests didnt test for the greenery. Probably smart unless you wanna lose half your team! Ill bet the ratio is worse in basketball

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

pcon258's picture

im actually happy that they dont test for marijuana. this is where my personal views come into play, but it is less harmful than cigarettes (which are legal), it offers no performance enhancement, and isnt addictive, i see no reason why it shouldnt be legal, or in this case, not tested for. Honestly, i dont hold it against any program that has players test positive for marijuana usage

Poison nuts's picture

Far out.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Nuts, I may have just laughed out a little pee after reading your response.  Thanks.

buckeyedude's picture

Groooooovy man! Groovy!



immort9888's picture

Here's my one disagreement with this article.  Although the NFL is changing slightly, the old regime ran an offense, defense, and special teams very similar to what goes on in the pros.  If you want to be in the NFL, come play for OSU because we run the same boring schemes.  You'll have a headstart/seasoning over most other prospects.  This is a recruiting tool that the new coaching staff cannot use in the same way, at least on offense. So I disagree that there is no downside to the up tempo offense except wind.  

Also, the other problem with the up tempo offense is a lack of rest for the defense if the offense goes three and out.  The offense HAS to get first downs or the up tempo advantage turns into a disadvantage (i.e., 2010 Rose Bowl).  Oregon claimed to be in MUCH better shape than OSU but in the end the Oregon defense was on the field too long and couldn't stop OSU's running game in the 4th quarter because they were dead tired (and Pryor was ridiculous).  Problem #3 with up tempo offenses.

WITH THAT SAID, I STILL THINK THE POSITIVES OF THE UP TEMPO OFFENSE GREATLY OUTWEIGH THE NEGATIVES.  I'm very excited to see it put to use at OSU.  The best part about the up tempo offense is that you can huddle and it now becomes a regular offense with the ability to immediately jump back into an up tempo rhythm.     

Chris Lauderback's picture

I would agree "no" downsides was a poor word choice. More like "few" downsides and certainly worth the risk, just as you suggest.

Poison nuts's picture

Good points immort. I was actually thinking the same things. Why mimmick an offense that we destroyed in that Rose Bowl? On the other hand, I'm excited to see what it looks like & how it works. Like you said - as long as we get first downs, it works well...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Why mimmick an offense that we destroyed in that Rose Bowl?


A) We're not mimmicking that offense, we're taking an aspect of it and improving on it with concepts that Meyer and Urban have a great past of running.

B) Oregon's offense is undeniably amazing and successful. Its not flawless, but its definitely a top five offense every year, and its sometimes the top offense in the country.

C) The Rose Bowl was one game, haha.

RedStorm45's picture

just curious...did you mean to type Meyer and Urban or did you Meyer and Herman?

Poison nuts's picture

Jake - I doubt you'll be back here to read a 5 day old post & I got no interest in ever engaging in a digital argument with other commenters. Not my thing - just in case in the future you want to put my words in a white box then dissect them...I am actually very excited by Urbans version of the spread. I think I said that in the second part of the comment. I was actually just speaking to another commenters post & playing devils advocate while doing so. I do stand by my statement that I wouldn't want to mimic Oregons offense. I don't think we will be a whole lot like Oregon. I think we will have a power game aspect that is missing from the Oregon spread. I think our defense will be much much better than theirs too. I think Oregons offense works until it runs into a great defense - then it comes up short like it did against us in 2010. There is a reason they always lose a couple games every year. That's all I was saying...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Doc's picture

As a fanbase I think we all still have a Wallrusball hangover.  We were used to going three n out on a regular basis(dave, dave, dave, punt).  Urban's offense is built to move the chains.  Hopefully it works well in the B1G.  If not I hope Meyer is smart enough to tweek it and not ride it into the ground.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

btalbert25's picture

Oregon does not necessarily equal Ohio State though.  Just look at the defensive recruits urban is hauling in.  The people on the D that will wear out are the D-line.  Well, he's bringing in a 2 deep for the D-line where virtually everyone is going to be a top notch recruit. 

Oregon does score a lot, and quickly, I just don't think top to bottom they had the kind of defenders Urban is bringing to Ohio State.  Plus, some of his Florida teams would score pretty fast, and other teams like Auburn and Texas have had some quick strike offenses that still had a good D. 

I guess I'm just thinking, that just because he wants to run a type of offense that is similar to Oregon, doesn't mean it will be the same as what Oregon does.  We know Urban is pretty good and putting his own touches onto a style of offense.

chitown buckeye's picture

I was thinking the same thing. What we have to remember is that we will be playing on both sides of the ball. Ohio State has always had a defense that can keep you in any game. We "dismantled" Oregons Offense but they still put up 17 points on us. If even at the worst of times our offense could give us 17 points usually our D will give us the W.  Everyone needs to remember that the Oregons football team was there offense if it was stoped game over. Our team wont be that way. If this new "oregon like" offense struggles against a great defense it is still scarier than walrusball struggling against that same great defense. It is importatn for our Offense to be scarey, to have the potential to score on every play. Agreed with what was written above because there is little downside to playing fast and an upbeat tempo.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

buckeyedude's picture

Seriously, can our offense be any worse than it was last year?

Anything that Meyer does on O will be an improvement. Spread or no-spread or something in between, it will be much improved because for ONCE(!) the opposing team won't have a 90% probability of guessing correctly, the next play.



TMac's picture

Absolutely, with the depth we are recruiting, rotate the front 7, certainly the D line, keeping fresh legs in for every play. And just just any fresh legs, but 4* fresh legs. Who is going to were out that Defense?

ONE Not Done!

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

The trouble doesn't come from three and outs - the trouble comes from scoring too fast!  As a big time Charger fan - I watched this play out for years with Dan Fouts and the Air Coryell.  The defense barely got their butts on the bench before the offense scored, and by the 4th quarter, they were toast.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Colin's picture

It seems the weather might not be as bad on Saturday as forecasted earlier in the week, little chance for rain. Everyone who can go now has no excuses not to.

Squirrel Master's picture

I am coming no matter what. My only concern was that it would be so bad they would cancel. Then I would drive all that way for nothing. I am glad it is looking better.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Squirrel Master's picture

I think weed should be banned because it is a recruiting violation. It creates an unfair advantage to places like Oregon and Florida because that is where you get the best Shizzy! It is obvious that players go to Oregon not because its a great program, its because of the weed!

Not sure if I am too excited about possibly being the Oregon of the east! I like the up tempo but really hope UFM switches it up more than the Yucks do.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Buckman's picture

A whole lot of pot + those colorful/fancy uniforms = unfair advantage

I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault.


Nappy's picture

There's good shit in Denver and CU sucks. 

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

Squirrel Master's picture

Then the buffs must not being doing things right. Oregon probably gives them a bag of joints the second they come of the plane.

Actually, Florida has the talent in state, so the weed is probably just a cherry on top of the fact they get to stay home and smoke weed. Oregon recruits out of Florida and Cali so they bring the pot smokers in to them. CU must not do that hence why they suck! Heck, who knows that Denver has such good stuff? They don't advertise it! Florida and Oregon practically post it on billboards with bright blinky lights!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Nappy's picture

Maybe that SEC speed can be traced back to mountains of cocaine coming through Miami.  And Oregon has those cheerleaders which can't hurt.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

Sgt. Elias's picture

...As Mike Adams tests positive at the columbine. I just don't see how any ball player could smoke then play right after and consider it advantageous (exceptions: volleyball, badminton, BF3, FIFA, GranTurismo). How do?

/I know you're being sarcastic in your OP :P

"Okay -- I've got an El Camino full of rampage here." 

Arizona_Buckeye's picture


"It's the weed capital of the world. Long dreads. Girls with hairy armpits. Where there's hippies, there's weed."


God that has to be the quote of the month!!!  I'm still chuckling over it!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

RedStorm45's picture

I'm not necessarily buying the Oregon comparison.  In terms of tempo, yes.  But do we have guys like LaMichael James or De'Anthony Thomas? I don't think so, yet.  I also think Braxton has the potential to be a better passer than Darron Thomas (or Masoli).  Given our personnel this year (with big guys like Hyde, Boren, and Dunn), and perhaps a better passer at QB, I thnk the tempo will be right up there but the type of plays should be different.

William's picture

We aren't using the same type of personnel or even running a system that entirely identifies with Oregon's other than that we will be using the zone-read. The comparison that is being drawn in my mind is that the OSU offense will be just as fast-paced as Oregon's but will have more of a power running theme to it, as well as the ability to slow the tempo and eat up clock if necessary.

Ethos's picture

nope nevermind i was wrong

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

biggy84's picture

I'm thinking this offense will be up tempo, no huddle attack will look similar to the Buffalo Bills when Jim Kelly was there. Thurman Thomas had plenty of yards on traditional power schemes in this type of offense as well. I could be wrong though.

Bucksfan's picture

"while a huge shift in what the historical OSU offense looks like, is a welcome evolution that will enable the Buckeyes to better compete for national championships."

Obviously, the no-huddle is a departure.  But isn't the triple option similar schematically to what Hayes ran over the years with Kern, Corny Green, etc.?

Chris Lauderback's picture

True but I'm guessing a major difference will be that Braxton actually throws some passes out of Urban's triple. Can't wait to find out.

Bucksfan's picture

It's gunna be mean.

dmurder's picture

Umm... people are shocked kids in college smoke weed?

lol... wait till they find out they started in high school.


"We have always had the best damn band in the land, now we have the best damn team in the land"- Jim Tressel 1-03-03

LVbucksNV's picture

Of course green Is addictive, come correct, it appears you are very young, say what you want, w no correction. Who do you think you are posting among ?

Back to football, UM will run whatever system it takes to be successfull... Talent is the key though.