Wednesday Skull Session

By D.J. Byrnes on August 26, 2015 at 4:59 am
Erick Smith and Vonn Bell

Best wishes to Earle Bruce, who is heading home today to continue his recovery from a stroke suffered in July; just further proof a good man can't be kept down long.

TV Reminder: The second episode of BTN's Scarlet and Gray Days debuts tonight at 7 p.m. Here's a preview:

KILL THE HUMAN ELEMENT. It's easier to win a title than defend a title, but Urban Meyer is only beginning to scratch his true greatness at Ohio State. This is because Meyer understands what a lot of coaches don't: Talent isn't enough to win titles. 


Ohio State begins the 2015 campaign as the defending national champion and the unanimous preseason No. 1. The Buckeyes return 14 starters, including seven potential first-round NFL draft picks and three quarterbacks talented enough to start for almost any team in the country. But they also begin the season with four players suspended for the opener at Virginia Tech on Sept. 7 for off-field transgressions, tangible signs of players forgetting the discipline that led to the title. "We've thrown out enough first pitches," Meyer tells his staff. "We need to think about why we won. We're not going to let that slip."

The reality of Ohio State's title defense is that the stiffest challenge facing the Buckeyes won't come from the Hokies, Michigan State or any potential opponents in the College Football Playoff. Ohio State's most daunting adversaries may just be the Buckeyes themselves—and how they deal with success. There is the malaise inherent to winning, the temptations that accompany being exalted in a college town and the delicate task of keeping winning fun when it has become the expectation of everyone. "We have all the players, all the potential, and the program is run the right way to where we should win every game we play," Ohio State left tackle Taylor Decker says. "But the human element is there."

The pre-dawn meeting of the coaching staff kicks off Meyer's third season of leadership training in Columbus. It is key to Meyer's plan to defeat the human element, something he could not do when attempting to defend the 2006 and '08 national championships at Florida. As he enters his 14th season as a head coach, Meyer's philosophy has evolved to the point where he believes chemistry and culture trump schemes and star rankings. Having great players is a necessity for winning, but so is having the cohesiveness to maximize that talent.

Pete Thamel is granted access like no other, so the article is worth checking out in full. As I've said before — at this point, I feel like I could preface everything I write with that — Meyer's relentless dedication to team culture is what is going to set this team apart from his two championship Florida teams.

MEET URBAN'S YODA, YOU WILL. Mickey Marotti, Ohio State's strength sensei, was the first hire Urban Meyer made when he descended into Columbus. As his most trusted assistant, Marotti might even be more hands-on with the team than Meyer.


"I hurt my knee in a drill going against Braxton [Miller]. I don’t know why they had me going against Braxton, no clue. I still won’t understand it to this day," Jones said, referring to the difference in speed between himself and the Buckeyes' quarterback-turned-wideout.

"[Marotti's] screaming at me, 'Get up!' ... All he knew was I didn’t play last year. So he was just screaming at me to get up, and I’m thinking I just broke my leg and I was so freaking hurt I was about to cry, and he’s just screaming at me, ‘Get up! You’re soft! You’re soft!’ And I’m like, 'I can’t move!'"


"He’s just so intense, and it’s crazy how much potential he sees in us," Jones said. "Basically saying, 'Do what you came here for. Be yourself. We believe in you, we have trust in you, so be you.'"

That's another article worth reading, if only for the player anecdotes of Mickey Marotti breaking the team down like a Pringles chip.

GREED: DECIDEDLY BAD. I'm always mystified by people who successfully swindle a couple million dollars... and then keep swindling.


Still proclaiming his innocence, a former Ohio State University football player was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years in prison for defrauding friends and acquaintances out of millions of dollars.

Preston Harrison, 43, showed no emotion as U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost wondered aloud why a man with such a promising future had allowed “pure greed” to undermine his life and the lives of others.

Frost also ordered Harrison to pay $8.8 million in restitution for fleecing 19 people who invested in the Westerville business he operated with partner Thomas E. Jackson.

Another thing that's always mystified me: How easily people are duped by the word "investment." (I don't have any money to invest; that's how I protect myself.)

THINGS GOING SWIMMINGLY FOR CLARK AT HOBAN. 2017 QB commit Danny "Mr. Ohio State" Clark transferred from Massillon Washington to Akron Hoban this summer, and things appear to be going quite well.


“I just know that from the moment he got here, he’s been a good kid,” [Hoban coach Tim] Tyrrell said of the transfer from Massillon. “I like coaching good kids. He’s willing to work. Everything I ask him to do, he does. He’s a good kid.

“I don’t base that on if Urban Meyer is recruiting you.”


“He’s just a great kid. A great leader,” said Tyrrell, beginning his third season as Hoban’s head coach. “He’s meshed very well from the moment he became a student at Hoban, whether it be on the football field or in the classroom. He’s engrossed himself in the school.”

Clark will partner with 2017 OSU commit Todd Sibley for a backfield that will probably be outlawed by the United Nations by Week 6.

HOCKEY CAPTAINS NAMED. We're still awaiting the captains for the football team, but we know who will lead the Hockey Bucks this season.


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Seniors Craig Dalrymple and Anthony Greco and junior Nick Schilkeyhave been named team captains for the 2015-16 Ohio State men’s hockey team. Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik made the announcement Tuesday morning during the squad’s first meeting of the year.

“We are excited about naming these three our captains because of the qualities they bring on and off the ice and in the classroom,” Rohlik said. “Their leadership will help push this program forward. With 10 freshmen on this year’s team, their leadership will be especially important to help the new players adapt as they learn what it means to be a Buckeye in all areas.”

Congratulations to those three young men on the prestigious honor.

THEY CAN NEVER TAKE YOUR HEART, KID. Here's a story about a 10-year-old that's a bigger Ohio State fan than us all.


As pediatric cardiologist Dr. Ronald Grifkashowed 10-year-old Ivan Applin the wire-framed device that would be used to fix the holes in his heart, the Toledo fourth grader had just one burning concern.

“He asked if the Michigan doctors were going to make his heart love University of Michigan instead of Ohio State,” his mother Jennifer laughs.

No, he would wake up loving the Buckeyes just as much as he ever did, Dr. Grifka, assured him. The procedure would also mean he could better enjoy his favorite activities, like soccer, for many more years to come.

Honestly, I understand the kid's fears. That school has leeched this state's blood basically since its inception.

THOSE WMDs. Billy Cash lives... Why Your Team Sucks: Pittsburgh Steelers.... Hackers can steal passwords from Samsung smart fridges... Abandoned Chinese amusement parks... The Renegade Sheep That Avoided Shearing For Six Years By Hiding In A Cave... Ronaldinho!

View 98 Comments