Skull Session: J.T. Barrett Likes What He Sees, Replacing the Starting Cornerbacks (Again), and Urban Meyer's Historic First Five Years

By D.J. Byrnes on January 23, 2017 at 4:59 am
Demario McCall shoots the gap for the January 23rd 2017 Skull Session

It's another day of toiling in exchange for magic coins we use to buy protection from cold and hunger!!! Just don't talk to me before I had my morning Loko. You wouldn't like grandma before she had her morning Loko.


 CAPTAIN LIKES A CHANGE. Ohio State honored Tyquan Lewis, Billy Price, Mike Weber, and J.T. Barrett during the loss to Northwestern.

Afterward, Weber and Barrett spoke with reporters about the offensive coaching changes, which Barrett said were "needed." The Texan likes what he sees from Kevin Wilson, the Buckeyes' newest offensive architect.


"I mean, when you think back in 2013, on the defensive side of the ball we were struggling, and changes were made there. Now look at our defense, you know what I'm saying?" Barrett said. "So it's one of those things just trying to keep things new and fresh."

And he has liked what he has seen of Wilson so far.

"One of the things, I think his mindset is kind of a go-getter type of attitude," Barrett said. "It's definitely team oriented. He's all about the team and trying to make sure we function at our best as a group. I think that's one of his main focuses, and getting to know the guys ...; he's trying to develop the relationships needed in order for us to be successful."

You know what they say: One man's "go-getter" is another man's "lawsuit liability we should jettison."

I also like the sound of "team oriented." It's not like Tim Beck and Ed Warinner preached me-first football, but it was clear their offensive marriage—for whatever reason(s)—wasn't built for matrimony.

 CORNERS LEFT (AGAIN). Replacing cornerbacks is nothing new under Urban Meyer. However, 2017 offers a unique challenge in that both starting cornerbacks left for a likely first-round paycheck. 

It will help Ohio State on the recruiting trail but won't be worth a damn covering receivers next year. For that, we turn to candidates to replace them.


Rising junior Denzel Ward was the third man in that three-man rotation and he played better as the year went on. He also played more snaps later in the year after they decided to put Gareon Conley in the nickel on passing downs. Ward is the fastest player on the team, so he has the kind of makeup speed that allows him to correct mistakes.

Damon Arnette, a rising redshirt sophomore, was the fourth cornerback and initial nickel back this past season, though his results were up and down. Prior to the season, Kerry Coombs was adamant that Arnette was very close to getting into the rotation, but it just never happened. As we have seen with the likes of Conley, Doran Grant, and Marshon Lattimore, it's not unusual to have a rough season before the blossoming begins.


Wayne Davis redshirted as a true freshman last season, but he will certainly be eager to get out on the practice field with a chance to show that he belongs.Joshua Norwood played sparingly last season as a redshirt freshman. Coombs said last year that he was still a ways away from playing. Rodjay Burns played a bit as a true freshman last season, including returning a pick six 75 yards against Bowling Green in the season opener.

This is without mentioning the defensive backs in the 2017 class.

In a perfect world, it'd probably be Ward and Arnette handling the starting duties next year... but that will depend on Arnette's development between now and fall camp.

Rodjay Burns is another interesting name to watch, although he did have that "committing to Louisville" tweet he quickly deleted during the season. That may be something to watch.

Four-star JUCO CB Kendall Sheffield will definitely be in the mix, as will Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade.

Honestly, you could convince me anyone from the freshman class will contribute, but Meyer always talks about how he hates to redshirt before redshirting 90% of his class.

 THE STATS DON'T LIE. It seems like yesterday this site was so small it sent me to cover Urban Meyer's introductory press conference. Even with the bitter disappointment of the past two years, it's impossible to say Meyer didn't meet expectations in his first five seasons.


Meyer’s domination is simply unparalleled. He’s had two win streaks longer than anything that either Hayes or Tressel managed to string together during their first five years. Meyer’s 61-6 record is preposterous, but I think the most ridiculous stat is the fact that Meyer managed to score more points during his first five years than both Tressel and Hayes combined.

Tressel + Hayes point total = 2664. Meyer = 2731.

While Meyer earns this blogger’s approval, this study truly reflects the embarrassment of riches Ohio State has had at head coach for the better part of the last 60 years. Here’s to continued success in 2017 and beyond.

Woody had the ruthlessness, but he lacked the CEO skills and emotional maturity to exist in today's era. I don't think Ohio State would've won another title with Jim Tressel, who had the CEO skills/emotional maturity but lacked Woody's ruthlessness.

Meyer is the perfect blend of the two. Woody will always be No. 1 due to O.G. status, but no Ohio State fan would replace Meyer with him.

 DOWN GOES A MICHIGAN MAN. A poor Michigan Man learned why it's always a risk to pop off to professional athletes on social media:

Roby used the slaying to answer questions from fans:

  • Hardest OSU alumnus to cover: Michael Thomas
  • Favorite collegiate pick-six: vs. Nebraska.
  • On his 2013 targeting ejection vs Iowa: "Still can't believe they kicked me out for that, SMH."
  • Favorite moment at OSU: "The whole time!"
  • Favorite OSU DB: "Jack Tatum. He killed a guy on the field. That don't [make] you the best [but] sheesh."
  • College or NFL football: "That's tough. NFL."
  • On why he chose DB over WR: "Can make your own plays on D. WR depends on too much."

 YAIN'T A SNIPER, GAMER. As it turns out, there's more to a marksman than playing video games for hours. The Ohio State professor who conducted a study saying otherwise is sorry and his interns are working to delete.


An academic report claiming that playing shooting games helped improve real life marksmanship has been retracted due to irregularities in its cited data.

"Boom, Headshot!" was published in 2012 and claimed to demonstrate that people who played first-person shooting games extensively also became better at shooting real guns. It was headed up by Professor Brad Bushman at The Ohio State University, who has published other research on how consuming violent media can lead to aggressive behavior.


The Ohio State University sent a statement to Retraction Watch on the issue. "The Ohio State University was alerted to irregularities in some of the variables of the data set by Drs. Markey (Villanova U) and Elson (Ruhr U Bochum) in January 2015. The university and Dr. Bushman were unable to confirm the values of the questioned variables because the original research records had been taken from The Ohio State University. Therefore, in November 2015, Dr. Bushman and The Ohio State University recommended the retraction or correction of the article. In 2016, Drs. Markey (Villanova U) and Elson (Ruhr U Bochum) sent an inquiry regarding this matter to Dr. Gibbs, one of the editors of Communication Research, who decided that a retraction was warranted. A replication of the study by Dr. Bushman has been done and is under review."

Suddenly I don't feel so bad about my wanton use of "have went."

 THOSE WMDs. A theory of jerks... The sad world of adults pretending to be children for RTs... When the Feds went after a hedge fund legend... "Beauty" app Meitu's data grab more than skin-deep... Moose spends nine hours giving birth in a Lowe's parking lot.

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