Skull Session: Tyler Durbin Bulks Up, J.T. Barrett's Pain Management, and the Average Worth of an Ohio State Footballer

By D.J. Byrnes on October 20, 2016 at 4:59 am
Terry McLaurin says a prayer for the October 20th 2016 Skull Session.

Now that Vin Scully hung up his golden vocal cords, Tom Hamilton is easily the best play-by-pay radio guy in baseball:

Congratulations to Cleveland, the City of Champions.

 WHY'S A KICKER NEED BICEPS? You're damn right we're leading with a kicker profile, because frankly, I'm not over the story of Tyler Durbin.

Here's a guy who played collegiate soccer. After transitioning to civil engineering studies, he only sent a homemade tape to Ohio State because his girlfriend and her family were big Buckeye fans.


Durbin kicked a school-record 11 extra points in the season-opening victory against Bowling Green. He made a career-long 40-yard field goal last week at Wisconsin. He's made all eight of his field goals this year and leads the Big Ten in kick scoring.

Meanwhile, he's packed on 35 pounds to increase his leg strength and provide needed bulk to survive blocks and tackles on kickoffs. When he arrived coaches and teammates joked that he had the "smallest biceps that ever entered the Ohio State weight room."

"It's been crazy, the whole situation ...," said father Martin Durbin. "It's just shocking to me. The biggest (soccer) crowd he played in front of was maybe 2,500 people. I can't even imagine this now."

I have been in the Ohio State weight room (please don't arrest me, Urban; I don't do jail well), so Tyler can rest easy knowing his biceps weren't the smallest ever to enter the sacred training ground.

Bulking up 35 pounds is no joke, either. It took me three years to add sixty pounds on a diet of 75% Cane's chicken.

Durbin is a senior academically but has only played two years of football. It will be interesting to see if he sticks around next year or gives way to Blake Haubeil, the No. 1 kicker in the 2017 class. If Durbin can stick around, it would allow Haubeil to grayshirt, which would be clutch.

UPDATE (9:41 a.m.): Durbin is out after this year.

 PAIN IS BAD. Football is a violent game. This is known.

And while J.T. Barrett hasn't completed a full season without injury since his junior year of high school, there is no denying he would walk through fire for his team. We saw it last time in Happy Valley, and we saw it last Saturday in Madison.


Without that one -- thanks to the two overtime touchdown runs he gutted out -- there wouldn’t be that season's national championship trophy on display in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. And without another clutch victory last Saturday at Wisconsin that bore a striking resemblance to the one that forever elevated him in Urban Meyer’s eyes, Ohio State’s hopes of adding to its collection would have been dealt a significant blow.

Barrett typically deflects any questions about his health or the pounding he takes in games where the Buckeyes rely on his rushing ability more than usual. And as he strolled across the practice field underneath the banner honoring the 2014 champs just three days removed from the thriller against the Badgers, after having reflected on a knee sprain from two years ago, he quickly reverted to form.

The blood on his jersey Saturday night?

“That was just from my hand.”

Again, it's easy to see why his coaches and teammates love him.

Meyer is still running him too much for my liking. No disrespect to Joe Burrow or Dwayne Haskins, but I question if they could lead Ohio State like Barrett and Cardale Jones did when Braxton Miller went down.

Still, it's soothing to know Barrett will play with a broken leg if he can. Everybody talks about his decision-making and running ability, but his greatest attribute is his toughness. 

 MAKES YOU THINK. The "should college players be paid?" debate is as divisive a topic as you will find in this sport that isn't "your team sucks and my team is good."

My longtime readers (hi, Dad) know where I stand on this issue, so there will be no sermon today. I did, however, think this is worth passing along.


We calculated the Fair Market Value of college football players at the 20 most profitable programs using data provided by the Department of Education. Using the NFL's most recent collective bargaining agreement in which the players receive a minimum of 47% of all revenue, each school's football revenue was split between the school and the athletes with the players' share divided evenly among the 85 scholarship players.

Fair Market Value

Sure, the NFL doesn't have to support the pistol team. But at the same time, it's not like people are filling the Horseshoe to watch the pistol team in the first place.

#JustMyTake #PleaseHandleWithGloves #AlsoDontYellAtMeImFragile 

 PENN STATE HYPE. My whole life I wanted just one Blockbuster movie where the bad guy wins and ruins the whole world. (Armchair psychologists, please feel free to take note of what this means about my psyche.)

Looks like my time is here.

All fun and games until Nick Bosa uses The Force to throw Saquon Barkley's broken corpse into the back of Trace McSorley, who is the most apt-named PSU QB in my lifetime.

 A SEEDY INTERNET SALE, YOU SAY? We know what Ohio State's 1916 throwbacks will look like against Nebraska.

Intrigue remains about the helmets. Will they be the normal hats we all love to know? Or will they be brown, as an ode to the leather helmets Chic Harley wore?

A shadowy figure on eBay recently tried selling this for $550:

an ersatz helmet

It doesn't look bad, but unfortunately, it's an eBayer is trying to pass off an ersatz helmet.

According to 11W's Andrew Lind, who knows a thing or two about uniforms, this appears to be a Washington Skins helmet with decals that can be purchased online.

Good try, good effort, internet hustler.

 THOSE WMDs. Flesh-eating bacteria claimed vet's limbs, but not her drive... Tramadol: The opiod crisis for the rest of the world... Ghost bike for sale angers city cyclists... Golden State's Draymond Green problem...

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