Friday Skull Session

By D.J. Byrnes on March 28, 2014 at 6:00 am

Dayton punching its ticket to the Elite Eight wasn't the only Sweet 16 action to pop off yesterday; the third round of voting in 11W's Heart of It All Classic also kicked off, and things are getting heated. (The Sports and Politics/Military regions will open up later today.)

In the Arts Region, #1 Bob Hope is doing the damn thing on #4 Dean Martin by a 5:1 voting margin. #3 Paul Newman, however, stormed back after trailing most of the day against #2 Steven Spielberg. Only time can tell if he's got the stamina to finish the upset.

In the Business & Science Region, #1 Thomas Edison is maintaining a surmountable lead over #4 Moonwalker Neil Armstrong. (Armstrong is way cooler.) #2 John D. Rockefeller is getting dumped though; you could say the third-seeded Wright Brothers are flying to victory.

PRACTICE RECAP. The football team held another spring practice as we draw ever closer to April 12th's spring game. Kyle Rowland's full report can be found over here, but here are a few of his observations/info tidbits:

  • [Defensive line coach Larry] Johnson said the practices have been very competitive. He wants Ohio State to employ an eight- or nine-man rotation, so it’s ratcheted up the intensity. The need for so much depth is due to up-tempo offenses. Johnson said teams can easily go from 65 to 90 plays.
  • A possible captain this fall is Michael Bennett. Johnson spoke highly of his leadership skills and said he’s impressive on and off the field. Bennett said it’s important to be a captain and if he isn’t, it means he’s not on the right track.
  • [Defensive lineman Michael] Bennett said Adolphus Washington has improved tremendously during the offseason. He said he’s busting through double teams in practice with regularity.
  • In the couple months since the Orange Bowl, [playmaker Dontre] Wilson’s beefed up to 190 pounds.
  • During the offseason, Wilson said he watched film of last year’s games and also watched film of NFL games to learn little things. He’s immersed himself in the playbook and is learning “next level stuff.”
  • Zach Smith said Michael Thomas’s redshirt came out after a poor fall camp last year. Thomas was sat during the opener to send a message. Then the coaches decided they didn’t want to waste a year of eligibility. 

THE RISE OF MIKE BREWSTER. A little under two months ago, I wrote an article about the hype and expectations, for better or worse, often placed on blue chip recruits.

Talking about the end-product of Ohio State's 2008 class, I wrote the following:

Michael Brewster,  JB Shugarts and Etienne Sabino went undrafted and have since washed out of the NFL.

JB Shugarts is still a free agent. Etienne Sabino earned another shot with the Rams this week. But Mike Brewster, a former five-star recruit who Jim Bollman turned into an undrafted free agent, was and is still hanging on in the NFL.

Even though he's coming off the injured reserve list, and has yet to play a snap at center for the Jaguars, coach Gus Bradley believes he's the next man up to replace the retired Brad Meester. From ESPN:

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Finding a new center to replace the retired Brad Meester is one of the Jacksonville Jaguars' top priorities this offseason, but the fact that they didn’t sign one during the first few weeks of free agency isn’t a concern for general manager David Caldwell or coach Gus Bradley. 

They’re confident they can find a starter among the players already on the roster, beginning with third-year player Mike Brewster. 

"We felt like going through our end-of-season evaluations that Brew could hold the fort down," Caldwell said during the NFL owners’ meetings this week. "This is a big year for him. He’s going into his contract year and it felt like that it could be a year for him to really excel and be the guy. I know the players feel comfortable with him. I know our coaching staff feels comfortable with him.  

So yes, for those scoring at home, I was wrong. Brewster hadn't washed out; he has himself a chance to earn some real money if he performs this season.

I have never claimed nor will ever claim to be a reporter or journalist, but I still should've gotten that right.

Thanks to ol' gumshoe Toad, for holding me accountable. (This writing thing was so much easier when I could rant without fact-checking on Tumblr where nobody was reading.)

AUTOGRAPH DEALER DOES AN AMA. An autograph dealer — I'm sure you know the kind — fell through r/CFB yesterday to do an "Ask-Me-Anything" about his seedy-ass profession. There are compliance officers whose blood still hasn't thawed this morning due to these answers:

QUESTION: Without naming anyone, how many players do you think you could cause a serious NCAA investigation and/or violation off of the business you have conducted with them?

Dozens. Heisman winners, top 10 NFL picks, and current Heisman contenders and potentially number 1 overall picks. I did one with a player within the past week. He is probably the top player in the nation at his position and a 1st round pick for sure.

QUESTION: Relatively speaking, how lucrative is the autograph business? Is it just enough to live on money? Or is it send three kids to college and still live comfortably money?

It depends on how long you've been doing it. It sort of snowballs. Its very difficult to get in because the players obviously don't trust just anyone.

You have to grind it at first and meet other dealers. Once you get in and have a decent inventory, yes you can send kids to college and live comfortably. I know a couple of guys that do this full time and do well over 100K in sales.

QUESTION: Do you approach players or do players approach you?

 You always approach players. Usually by just asking them to sign a few things for you (the legal way). Then when they are done, you might say something like, "Hey, I have some pieces in the interested in signing some more?" They usually know what that means....

The whole "interview" is rather fascinating if a look behind the curtain into a seedy black market in the underbelly of a multibillion dollar industry is your cup of early-morning tea.

ARMAGEDDON IS NIGH. Ever since Urban Meyer arrived on campus, my interest in football recruiting has risen from non-existent to passive observer.

This story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, though, is enough to drive me back into my nuclear winter bunker:

LSU made national headlines last month by both offering a football scholarship and accepting a commitment from a quarterback who is still in middle school.


During an interview with the AJC on Wednesday, LSU coach Les Miles couldn’t discuss [Zadock] Dinkelmann specifically due to the NCAA rules, but he explained his reasons for recruiting a middle schooler:

“It’s very interesting. Certainly we don’t know all the great players in the country. But those young players that are exceptional – when you come across them, you just know it. We recognize the family, and we recognize a characteristic that they will do well academically and that they have a size and speed component that will only improve. We know they are doing well off the field. Those kind of guys, sometimes they can be young players. We’ve not shied away from them. When we can identify them, we’ve not shied away from offering them.”

So yes, elite athletic tweeners are now up for grab in the SEC, boys... GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE FRESH. 

In international soccer, it's even worse. Real Madrid, the most successful professional sports team in the world, signed a seven year-old in 2011. It's only a matter of time before Big Recruiting and college coaches wade into the middle school realm with a true gusto. Who doesn't love an untapped market, after all?

BRAXTON IS IN THESE STREETS. The surprisingly of flesh-and-blood girlfriend found this yesterday on 13th and High. I thought it was pretty sweet:

Braxton Miller Y'all

Soon, football will be upon us. Soon.

THOSE WMDs. Torrance Gibson says OSU has fallen with him but he still wants to visit... Woman named Crispi tried to burn down ex's house with a pound of flaming bacon... 11 photos that define "American Cool"... Get a load of these idiots... European telescope maps universe's dust like never before... Kareem Abdul-Jabbar goes in on Lebron... The last minute of March Madness games are taking forever... Bug wings... Anatomy of a pitch... 11-year-old spends five days riding the subway in New York; what he saw... Bizarre World of Chicken Beauty Pageants... Prosecutors are seizing on rap lyrics as a smoking gun... Bill O'Brien opens up about leaving PSU... 

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