Skull Session: Ohio State's Offense Gets Back to Basics, Urban Meyer's Advice to Assistants, and the Saga of Stanley Jackson's Missing Rose Bowl Ring

By D.J. Byrnes on July 29, 2016 at 4:59 am
Michael Jordan eyes a starting role for the July 29th 2016 Skull Session

Folks, it's Friday. And even better yet, 2018 high four-star QB Emory Jones could pull the trigger on an Ohio State commitment today. It's been over a month since Ohio State signed a blue-chip QB recruit, so it'd be good to see Urban Meyer and Tim Beck get their mojo back.


Professional wrestling is trash these days, but I will remain vulnerable to the WWE Attitude Era–Youtube wormhole until nurses are feeding videos to me Clockwork Orange-style in an effort to save my miserable life when I'm 32 and on my death bed.

 BACK TO BASICS. Urban Meyer's offense is based on distribution. If operating efficiently, the quarterback puts up numbers but the ball is distributed equally to other skill positions. 

That didn't happen in 2015. Even when Ohio State put up the touchdowns to which we've grown accustomed against the likes of Michigan and Notre Dame, the offense leaned too much on the run game to make Meyer content.

Ohio State lost skill players like Mike Thomas and Ezekiel Elliott and its King Slob, Taylor Decker. While the new wave of Buckeyes won't match their skills immediately, it might allow Ohio State to get back to basics.

But don't take my word for it.


The raw numbers were still impressive for the offense, but it suffered from periodic breakdowns before grinding to a near complete halt in a 17-14 loss to Michigan State. That game ultimately sent the Spartans to the Big Ten championship game and left the Buckeyes at home to wonder what might have been.

Play calling often left many observers – not to mention Elliott himself after the MSU debacle – scratching their heads, and Barrett hinted at why.

“I think sometimes we tried to formulate certain plays against defenses in the week (of practice) in order for a certain person to get the ball instead of just running our offense and letting the ball go where it may,” said Barrett, who like head coach Urban Meyer expressed no doubts the Buckeyes have more than enough talent to contend for another national championship this fall despite needing to rebuild almost the entire lineup on offense and defense.

Can't wait to be leading J.T. Barrett's Heisman campaign midway through the third quarter when Ohio State leads Oklahoma by 21 in Norman.

 URBAN KEEPS IT REAL. Urban Meyer has produced a litany of assistants that went on to head coaching careers. They were like my days writing: Some of them great, others not so much.

At Big Ten Media Days, Meyer spoke on the advice he gave to Chris Ash (and others) when they weighed potential job offers.


"My advice is don't be jumpy," Meyer said. "You get one shot and if you fail you are probably done. Chris wanted to be a head coach. Chris came to Ohio State for that reason. He wanted to compete for a championship and be a head coach."

"He had some other opportunities and my advice was recruiting is the name of the game," Meyer said. "If you can't recruit then don't do it. You can be the greatest coach in the world, but if you can't get players to your school, don't do it.

"That's why I think Rutgers was so appealing to him. When Rutgers put the contract on the table for him, my advice was that's as good a high school football as there is in the country."

That's advice that translates to the real world, which is where I live as a college sports blogger. Other sites tried to lure me away from 11W; some with more money than I make now (five $20 Bibibop gift cards a month, for any interested competitors).

But it never gets past the initial stages because I'm aware 11W is a special place, and I'm not going to leave it to go clickbait articles for sites that publish articles without timestamps to help its SEO for a $10,000 raise and be unemployed in two years.

The ride down should be swifter than the ride up. I try never to forget that.

 STANLEY JACKSON'S MISSING ROSE BOWL RING. Stanley Jackson thought his '97 Rose Bowl ring rested at his mother's house in New Jersey. But then he got a call from an Alaskan gentleman, who purchased the ring at a New York City pawn shop, wanting to sell it back to him.

I'm sorta intrigued by how a mystical Alaskan (redundant, maybe?) found Stanley Jackson's phone number, but that's not the story here.


That was the start of a tangled, under-the-radar tale that has resulted in allegations that the rings were stolen by a Paterson firefighter who responded to a blaze at Jackson’s mother house, an indictment and dismissal of criminal charges against the firefighter, accusations by the firefighter that he was framed because he had filed complaints against a city fire captain close to the Jackson family, and the threat of a lawsuit against the city by the firefighter who says the captain also sexually harassed him.

The situation came to light last week when Jackson, during a trip to visit family in Paterson, attended the City Council meeting to complain that the firefighter recently was allowed to return to duty.

“This is someone who has the public trust and he steals from a community member,” said Jackson, whose brother, Michael, is a city councilman. “It doesn’t see right to me.”

This is why I don't store things at my mom's house. Bless her soul, but she's a Luddite who doesn't believe in the beauty of a three-cat security system. My cats would probably have subdued the blaze before it needed TLC from firefighters.

But hypothetically, if a firefighter tried to pinch my 1997 Rose Bowl ring, my cats would give him a choice: A left hand or a right arm—he wouldn't leave with both.

 THE (POTENTIAL) REDCOATS ARE COMING! If you've ever wished to usher Buckeye fans to their seats at Ohio State games, you better get your résumé ready. (I used "résumé" three times this week (four counting that one), which is more than I've used it in my life.)

From (via 11Wer BuckWillie):

Ohio State Redcoat & Usher - 2016 Open Interviews
Monday, August 1, 3016 - 5:30pm-8:30pm
Wednesday, August 3, 2016 - 5:30pm-8:30pm
Ohio Stadium - Huntington Club

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older. Applicants must be able to remain in position, which may include standing, for up to several hours at a time, communicate and be approachable with a diverse group of people, work outside in the elements, and complete various tasks at the instruction of a supervisor. Applicants need to purchase a uniform, be available to work all home football games each season and support large stadium events. All applicants will be required to complete a criminal background check.


Candidates will be able to apply and interview for one of two distinct positions that we have open this season: Athletics Redcoat or Stadium Usher. Both Redcoats and Ushers are paid, part-time season positions at Ohio State. Both positions participate in the OPERS retirement system. Check out this FAQ sheet that will explain the difference between a Stadium Usher and an Athletics Redcoat.

According to WillieBuck, a lot of Redcoats — listen, I didn't name them so get that "Should be the Scarletcoats!" sniper scope off my melon-sized dome — get to watch the game after the first quarter, which is a nice bonus.

Full details can be found in the link above.

 DAILY POKÉMON GO SAFETY AND ANTI-#TEEN PSA. I quit playing Pokémon Go at level 20 because it turned out like every other video game: Dominated by people willing to pay real money for virtual items or GPS spoofers so they don't have to walk.

So the safety of Pokémon Go players no longer concerns me, but I will use any event to warn others about the dangers of #teens.


Wheeler, a 26-year-old graduate student at Ohio State University studying evolutionary biology, and friend Samantha Haub, 26, were playing Pokemon Go at about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday in Linden Park when a teenager on a bike stopped them and asked to borrow one of their phones to call his mother, said Columbus police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner. 

But the teen took Haub’s phone and pedaled off, said Wheeler, who gave chase and asked a group of nearby teens to stop the bicycle. 

Instead, the dozen or teens surrounded Haub and Wheeler, and Wheeler was hit in the back of the head. Both fell to the ground and were kicked by several people, he said. 

When Wheeler got up to run away, some of the teens began to shout for someone to “get the gun,” he said. Then he felt the bullets in each of his thighs and his right foot. 

I tweeted this the other day, but it's still true: If a #teen (especially a group of them) ever asks for your cell, run the other way. I'd wager 80% of the robbery reports on campus start with "Suspect(s) approached victim(s) and asked for their cellphone."

Consider yourselves warned, and stay frosty out there... even if you're playing Pokémon Go.

 THOSE WMDs. Life-size Lego man with realistic skin is horrifying... Why Your Team Sucks 2016: Dallas Cowboys... The real story behind Chappelle's Prince playing basketball skit... My brother replaced family photos with Steve Buscemi... After the fall.

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