Skull Session: The Notion of J.T. Barrett's Regression, What Jim Tressel Learned at Florida State, and Early NFL Exits Skyrocket

By D.J. Byrnes on January 17, 2017 at 4:59 am
Ohio State's Tracy Sprinkle observes the January 17th 2017 Skull Session from the sidelines.

People think they want to blog about the local team for a living until it's a Monday night in January and the one cold you contract every six years makes it feel like sand in your face.

Almost had me thinking about taking today off, but like Michael Jordan, I'm driven by a primal determination to never disappoint my readers (and dominate my foes). So here I am, ready to drop 38 points on John Stockton's and Karl Malone's sorry asses.


 BARRETT SUCKS NOW, RIGHT? Some day anthropologists will study J.T. Barrett's fall from going 3-0 against Michigan to being the worst quarterback in school history against Clemson.

But the stats were crunched, and the reports of Barrett's demise were premature. What he lacked was a game-breaking wide receiver and consistent offensive line play in 2016.

From (via TPMBuck):

As you saw within the video breakdowns of each section, Barrett looks to be the same passer from a mechanics standpoint. He has learned to diagnose the defense and has it ingrained within his brain to not turn the ball over. Once he learns to anticipate his throws on a consistent basis, he will become a legitimate NFL prospect. Until then, he is among the winningest college football quarterbacks of all-time. Not a bad consolation prize when he announced he is returning for his senior season.


So before we settle into the 2017 offseason with a notion that Barrett has regressed as a passer, I challenge you to look at him as a steady performer that is only a breakout receiver away from Heisman consideration once again. Sure, he has his flaws, so does Deshaun Watson. Difference is, Watson had a more creative offense and “go-to” receivers that made him look better than he may actually be. With a new crop of future stars in tow, I cannot wait to see what Barrett does under a Kevin Wilson and Urban Meyer brain-child.

It will be interesting to see if Wilson anoints Barrett from the rip or declares an open competition. Barrett's consistency should return as long as the OL, WRs, and offensive creativity takes a leap from last year.

That's a tall task for any program, but I have full faith in the Meyer-Wilson tandem until they prove it to be displaced.

What will probably be more intriguing will be the backup QB spot. Teammates raved about Dwayne Haskins during Fiesta Bowl prep. If he beats out Joe Burrow, it could lead to one domino falling in a crowded QB room that's expecting five-star Emory Jones in a year.

 WHAT TRESSEL LEARNED. Wyoming's Craig Bohl, who built North Dakota State into an FCS Death Star, spoke at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Charlotte, North Carolina last week.

In his speech, he spoke about Jim Tressel stressing the importance of culture fit when considering a new job. After all, Ohio State wasn't the first program to try to pry the mafioso kingpin out of Youngstown.

Bohl told a story about what Tressel learned during a trip to Florida State.

From @AlexJKirby:

Tressel went down to Florida State when Bobby Bowden was still the head coach and met with him for awhile. Whenever he'd go visit with another coach, he liked to walk around the university campus and get a feel for the culture of the university. He'd talk to other campus workers, etc.

When he was at Florida State he spoke with the football equipment manager, who at that time had been there for 30 years. He asked him, "Bowden is probably the best coach you've had here, right?" The equipment manager answered him, "Well... he's probably the third best."

Tressel was confused and asked what he meant. "There have been better coaches here, but Bobby has lasted a long tim because he talks like us." Tressel never forgot that lesson.

This holds true. Louisiana State fumbled its attempt to hire Tom Herman, only to try to convince us removing the interim tag from Farmer Fran was actually the best hire it could've made.

Makes you wonder about what other criminal tools Tressel picked up while visiting a backwater syndicate like FSU. Probably something insidious like fixing a raffle.

 NOT JUST AN OSU THING. Ohio State was the youngest team in the country in 2016. Miraculously, it could hold that title in 2017, too.

While this is new territory for Ohio State fans living in the Meyer era, it's part of a nationwide trend.


Fifteen players from Ohio State have declared early for the NFL Draft over the last two seasons combined -- nine in 2016 and six in 2017 -- which leads all of college football.


Per The Comeback, the number of early-exits to the NFL have skyrocketed from 40 across the nation in 2007, to 96 in 2016.

That is a 140 percent increase over less than a decade ago, which illustrates how fast and how precipitously the landscape is changing.

It will be interesting to see if this continues or fades. Maybe in the era of hyper-recruiting, a redshirt sophomore is an old man and a fifth-year senior is a guy who usually finishes at another program.

 THE PERFECT RAZORBACKS FAN. Bert Bielema isn't from Arkansas, but inexplicably is the perfect coach for the Razorbacks.

Could there be a more poetic Razorbacks fan than Vanilla Ice?


"I've been through Fort Smith, I've been to Arkansas," Vanilla Ice said. "I'm a Razorbacks fan. I've got friends that went to [the University of Arkansas.]"

Vanilla Ice, who's real name is Robert Van Winkle, was born in Dallas, Texas and his tour made a stop in Pocola, Oklahoma.

"We've been through the dirty south many, many times," he said. "We get in where we fit in. We bring the party to you."

Who in the hell are these people paying money in 2017 to see a Vanilla Ice concert?

I try not to judge people for what they do with their money, but if you're paying to see a dude named Robert Van Winkle rap in Pocola, Oklahoma, you have too much money and should be forced to give it to me.

 WHITE CASTLE EYES LIQUOR SALES. White Castle tore down its semi-iconic Short North location because it figured out, like Wendy's on campus, it can make more money out of what developers call a "mixed-use building."

Now, it's cutting to the chase and admitting what it already knows: You're not walking into a White Castle at 2 a.m. without booze flooding your prefrontal cortex. So why shouldn't it make some money on that, too?


The Columbus-based fast feeder has applied for liquor licenses for its 965 N. High St. restaurant, which will be on the ground floor of the eight-story mixed-use project under construction at the site of its previous restaurant.


White Castle System Inc. has not yet responded to questions about its plans, but the licenses would allow beer, wine and spirits sales until 2:30 a.m.

The restaurant chain has flirted with alcohol sales before, having tested beer and wine in the past. This could be a test for the nearly 400-unit company overall or maybe just an exception carved out for the Short North eatery.

Prayers to the well-compensated off-duty Columbus police officer tasked with regulating the buffoonery that spawns in a White Castle with a liquor license.

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