Skull Session: Conklin Pinpoints When MSU Knew It'd Beat OSU, Bosa's Possible Slide, and Buckeyes With Most to Prove in Interviews

By D.J. Byrnes on February 18, 2016 at 4:59 am
Corey Smith is running towards the February 18th, 2016 Skull Session.

Programming note: The No. 5 women's basketball team hosts Nebraska at 6 p.m. on BTN.

 DAMN YOU, SPARTY. Jack Conklin is a former Michigan State walk-on who is heading to the 2016 NFL Draft as an All-American OT.

On Wednesday, he appeared on Bruce Feldman's podcast. One subject broached was the *sad Trombone sound* 2015 Michigan State–Ohio State contest.

Conklin claimed his team knew it was over shortly after halftime.


"The key turning point in that game was we came out at halftime and it was really cold. We're running around stretching and we looked over to their sideline and they're all huddled around their heaters. It was actually that moment where we said, 'We're going to win this game.' It just didn't seem like they were in it as emotionally as we were."

The inevitability of Ohio State's loss didn't hit me until Sparty kicker Michael Geiger windmilled out of Ohio Stadium. But I did feel a pit opening up in my intestines as the juggalos slogged their way down the field on that final drive.

They had breached the door, and I was out of ammo...

 BOSA SLIDE? Mississippi OT Laremy Tunsil seems to be the anointed No. 1 pick if the Tennessee Titans hold position. Could the Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers, and Dallas Cowboys all pass on the Big Bear? It's a scenario not as improbable as it seemed just a month ago.


A popular trend with mock drafts that has been met with a ton of skepticism recently is Joey Bosa dropping out of the first four selections which would give the Jaguars a shot at drafting the player that many touted as one of the top two layers in the class. Yet, the idea that the NFL might not view Bosa as a slam dunk pick is one that can be argued moderately well... he does not really fit any "mold" of player. Not a true edge rusher but not quite big enough to play anywhere else. It is also hard to see Tennessee picking anyone but Tunsil or Cleveland not taking a quarterback.

San Diego and Dallas could opt for Bosa, but they might prefer options like Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and more.

My overall point is the draft is over 70 days away and a lot can and will change, but we should not rule out the possibility that Bosa might legitimately be available for the Jaguars. People thought it was crazy that Leonard Williams fell last year and his situation feels very similar to Bosa's.

As the article mentions, Noah Spence is a name to watch. He won't have the tape against top-flight competition, but Spence is the superior athlete.

I'm not ready to predict a team drafting Spence over Bosa, but the fact remains athleticism can't be taught. (Bosa, speaking on the Dubcast, shrugged off concerns he lacks the speed to play DE in the NFL.)

 NFL SCOUTS HAVE A LIST, AND THEY'RE CHECKING IT TWICE. The NFL Combine starts next week. Things like the 40-yard-dash get the most publicity, but NFL teams will also be picking through prospects' minds and pasts.

Here are the Buckeyes with the most to prove in the interview room.


Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
With his cannon arm strength and powerful build, Jones should impress in several areas at the NFL Combine. However, the most important for NFL teams will be the interview room. The physical traits are obvious, but where is Jones mentally? How will he do on the white board? Does he have the maturity and focus to digest a NFL playbook? The interview process will help reveal the answers.


Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Like Tunsil, Bosa is a contender for the No. 1 overall pick who will have some questions to answer at the Combine. He was suspended for the 2015 season opener due to a violation of team rules, which was a failed drug test for marijuana according to reports. After the suspension, Bosa put himself in isolation this past season to avoid any other poor decisions.

Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky
The wildcard of the first round, Spence has top-10 talent and is the top pure pass rusher in this draft class. The former Ohio State rusher enters the NFL with a buyer beware tag due to his history of drug abuse and extensive partying. Spence stayed clean the past year at Eastern Kentucky and interviewed well at the Senior Bowl, but needs to continue and rebuild his image at the NFL Combine.

I hope the Iron King dominates. If he interviews well he could rocket his stock.

 ESPN COMMENTS ON AWFUL INNOVATION. Creativity is hailed in elementary school as an intrinsically good thing. Not true. Creativity often times leads to calamity.

Such was the case during ESPN's Tuesday night broadcast of the Michigan–Ohio State men's basketball game. The literally assy view was demolished by viewers, and yesterday ESPN responded with a bowl of corporate jargon du jour. 


“The ‘floor seat’ camera angle during the Super Tuesday Michigan-Ohio State game was a new and creative way to show the athleticism and speed of the talented players of the Big Ten Conference by giving viewers different access to the game,” the spokesperson said in an email to The Blade. “We will review all feedback after the game and continue to learn and provide fans with the best possible viewing experience.

”ESPN was built on trying new things and taking risks, and [this] is just another example of that.”

I would, though, like to thank ESPN for supplying my go-to excuse for any future blunder. "My #brand was built on taking risks, and this is just another example of that."

 AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO FROM WILLIAM WHITE. Brendon White, a 2017 four-star safety and Ohio State commit, rocketed up 247's latest rankings. He's now ranked as the country's No. 34 prospect.

He wasn't the only White to see his name in the lights on Wednesday. Brendon's father, William White, who played DB at Ohio State in the 1980s, wrote about the importance of education in his climb up the footballing ranks.


In sixth grade, we moved to a different area of town. My new principal would see me playing football at recess, tackling my classmates. “You’re not going to make it in football,” he told me one day. “You need to focus on school and study as hard as you play football.”

That day, I accepted his challenge, and from that point on, I was motivated to be the best at everything – whether it was in the classroom or on the field.

During the summer before ninth grade, I visited my dad at work, in a foundry for General Motors. Two of my older brothers worked there too. If you’ve never been in a foundry in July, it’s extremely hot, and the only air-conditioned office in the whole place belonged to an engineer. That was another pivotal moment for me. I didn’t know what an engineer did, but I thought, “I’m going to have to work here, so that’s what I’m going to be.”

White ended up as an engineer after 11 years in the NFL. His goal is to push kids towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math) degrees, so I guess we have an idea about his son's future major.

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