Skull Session: Urban Meyer Talks Real Life Wednesdays, Malik Barrow Could Be Headed for a Breakout, and Scouting Raekwon McMillan

By D.J. Byrnes on February 28, 2017 at 4:59 am
Denzel Ward brings presses the February 28th 2017 Skull Session

Programming note: The men's basketball team plays Penn State in Happy Valley at 8:30 p.m. ET on BTN.

Words of the Day: Bon Vivant.

 THE DON DADA SPEAKS. Urban Meyer is currently en route to the legendary pirate den of Nassau as part of the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer. Nobody can convince me Meyer enjoys being surrounded at sea by thousands of rabid Buckeye fans for a week, but that's probably another topic for another day.

Before he left for the annual anti-cancer banger, Meyer sat down with 10TV's Dom Tiberi and broke bread over recruiting and "Real Life Wednesdays."


Meyer is very proud of what he has created at Ohio State in preparing his players for life after football. His players now meet and network with business leaders. Players are also expected to get internships and job shadow.

Meyer said it’s much more than X’s and O’s at Ohio State and he says that is what parents and athletes should expect.

“I think that student-athletes have gotten the short end of the stick for many years by universities and I am guilty of it myself for many years," he said. “A powerful university like OSU should do more than get you a degree. It should get you a career."

What amuses me is coaches going to bat for their players all the way until the topic of paying them comes up.

Still, Meyer deserves credit for what he's created at Ohio State. I'm old enough to remember when Florida fans tried to say Meyer would only recruit thugs who were also talented at football until Columbus turned into a gang war zone.

If players don't succeed at a place like this, it's almost always on them. Ohio State can take you to your dreams only if you put in the work.

 BARROW ON TAP? Ohio State's monster 2017 defensive line will be deeper at end than tackle. That's no slight to the tackles, either. Tracy Sprinkle will return, Dre'Mont Jones should continue to dominate, and B.B. Landers and Michael Hill should take another step in their development.

But an elite football team can never have too many big fellas to throw into the mixer. It could add another one in redshirt freshman Malik Barrow.


Malik Barrow, a freshman defensive tackle who came to Ohio State in the middle of a his recovery from a knee injury and didn't play at all last season because of it, was the subject of Meyer's ire. In not so many words -- and with some colorful language -- Meyer told Barrow in front of the entire team that he didn't practice well the day before.

How Barrow practiced was seemingly of little consequence to the Buckeyes' preparations for the College Football Playoff. But the fact that Meyer singled him out was a suggestion that Barrow had caught Meyer's eye earlier in bowl prep.

That's the time that unknown players, particularly freshman who are redshirting, make their move and situate themselves for a bigger role the following season. Meyer called Dre'Mont Jones the standout player of bowl prep in 2015, and then he ended up a starting defensive tackle last year.

Barrow blowing up should terrify opposing defensive coordinators. If all goes like it's planned, I don't envision too many collegiate offensive lines able to withstand the onslaught of fresh mutants that Larry Johnson will unleash upon them over 60 minutes. 

 SCOUTING THE CHEF. Raekwon McMillan will get a chance to answer the criticism of his athleticism later this week in Indianapolis at the NFL's annual meat market. The former five-star prospect makes for an interesting challenge to teams. 

No player is perfect, and McMillan locked in when his team needed him most late in the season. Questions still linger.


McMillan looks the part physically and at times flashes the ability to stand up fullbacks in the hole, but he doesn’t consistently attack (or protect his frame) with his hands, and blockers are thus able to swallow him up off the ball. He had a number of negatively graded plays in 2016 because he did not recognize assignments in zone coverage and failed to get proper depth, and his general play against the pass at Ohio State may have some teams worried that he is just a two-down player at the next level. Teams concerned about his viability against the pass (he also shows limited burst and agility when rushing the passer) may not view him as a full-time starter in today’s game.

PFF compares McMillan to former Alabama and current Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, though they note Mosley has shown an ability to rush the passer while McMillan has not. 

 SEC SUCKS NOW. People claim the SEC used to run college football. I'm not sure if I believe it, but I routinely huffed paint thinner from 2004 to 2014, so my memory isn't what it used to be.

These days, the SEC is Alabama and "a bunch of 8-4 teams." Why ?


  1. Overmatched head coaches
  2. Poor player development
  3. Embarrassing QB play
  4. "The Alabama Effect"

When two Purdue QB castoffs are meeting in a pivotal SEC divisional game, that's a problem.

As for the Alabama effect, it's perfectly displayed by Mississippi State extending Dan Mullen four years despite his 0-8 record against Bama while never even making the SEC championship game.

Things will get hilarious once the NCAA starts investigating all the dirt Mississippi is throwing out on conference rivals in an attempt to escape a harsh penalty.

 BANKRUPTCY WOULD DO THAT PROGRAM SOME GOOD. Folks, this is what happens when you hire a pizza tycoon to run a college athletic department "like a business."


The University of Michigan athletic department sits atop $240 million in debt at a time when several major college athletics programs are grappling with enormous and potentially crippling debt loads.

Fueling that peril are ESPN subscriber losses that sap revenue from a network whose gargantuan spending on college football TV broadcast rights is a vital revenue stream for major universities. Other worries are the ongoing struggle to monetize content — how do you make money on Snapchat? — to an audience consuming college sports in dizzying arrays of formats, and the trend of dwindling football crowds for some schools.

Unlike some of its cash-strapped peers, Michigan has a packed Big House on fall Saturdays, deep-pocket donors, an elite credit rating, and it expects its share of TV money to keep increasing — a mix the university expects to give it the financial maneuverability to readily pay what it owes and to keep borrowing to build or refurbish its facilities.

As noted in the article, this won't end with a bankrupt Michigan pawning its half-championship trophy to pay off a creditor because our society isn't that just.

We can still dream.

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