Skull Session: Greg Schiano's One Weird Trick, Mike Weber Ready to Forge Own Name, and FPI Tabs Buckeyes as B1G Favorites

By D.J. Byrnes on April 6, 2017 at 4:59 am
Greg Studrawa eyes the April 6th 2017 Skull Session

The local team practices today. Afterward, we're expecting to hear from Larry Johnson, Greg Studrawa, and select offensive and defensive linemen.

Follow 11W, Eric Seger, Tim Shoemaker, and Andrew Lind on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.


Word of the Day: Cogitation.

 SCHIANO MAKES MEYER SWITCH. Whenever you hire somebody, you must acclimate them to the lay of the land. They may have certain things they did at previous employers that are wrong now.

Even if that person is a former NFL head coach. Such was the case when Urban Meyer saw Greg Schiano use a peculiar defensive drill. At first, Meyer hated it. But it switched.

From Bruce Feldman of

Last spring, Meyer, who has won three national titles, spotted Schiano doing this drill, where he had players rush at a quarterback and when the QB’s front hand came off the ball (an indicator that he’s about to begin his throwing motion), the defenders were to raise up their opposite hand toward the passing arm.

“What is this?” Meyer thought to himself. “Why are we doing this drill?!”

The Ohio State head coach admits now that drill at first drove him crazy and he wanted to stop it, but opted not to interrupt because he says Schiano knows what he’s doing. Meyer’s glad he let Schiano do his thing. Schiano’s “Match The Hand” drill directly led to a momentous Pick-6 in the Buckeyes’ win at Oklahoma. On that play, defensive end Jalyn Holmes did as Schiano instructed, getting his left hand up in the air as Baker Mayfield began his release. Holmes batted the ball into the air and OSU’s Jerome Baker plucked it our of the air and raced 68 yards for a touchdown.

Looks like Schiano picked up a thing or two while coaching Tampa Bay and Rutgers.

And props to Meyer for having the sense to let Schiano cook. Jerome Baker's coming out moment was one of my favorite plays of the 2017 season:

Any Feldman article is always a #mustclick.

I also wanted to note this passage:

“[Urban Meyer] is the hardest-working recruiting head coach I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I thought I was like off the charts. I was not even close. He’s a machine."

Meyer's son graduates high school next year, and I've considered any year Meyer coaches Ohio State after that to be house money.

It's soothing to read he is still passionate about recruiting. Out of all the potential perks, a crazed, senile NFL billionaire could offer him, the ability to recruit his roster from top to bottom wouldn't be among them.

 WEBER CONTINUES PATH. Mike Weber had the undesirable ability of following in Ezekiel Elliott's footsteps as Ohio State's starting running back. After a year of 1,000+ rushing yards, Meyer said Tuesday that Weber had separated himself from the other backs. 

And while he doesn't mind the inevitable comparisons to Elliott, he is looking forward to cementing his own legacy this fall.


But rather than point to the 1,096 rushing yards and nine touchdowns he posted a year ago as evidence that he has already made his own name for the Buckeyes, instead he points to improvements that must be made as a blocker, improving his hands as a receiver out of the backfield and enhancing his knowledge of the playbook. More than just accumulating eye-popping numbers, that’s how Elliott built his reputation inside the program at Ohio State -- although, statistically, Weber is off to a better start than his old mentor.

“Oh yeah, he was tired of all the comparisons,” running backs coach Tony Alford said. “We’re beyond that point. Mike Weber is Mike Weber. Now, do we have a guy who showed how to grind and how to do it right? We sure do, and it’s Zeke. But do we want him to be Zeke? No, don’t be Zeke. Do things like Zeke? Absolutely.

Pass protection concerns most people, but run blocking has room for growth from last year too. Add in another year of development with the offensive line, and it's easy to see why Weber will trend in the right direction as long as he stays healthy.

 LET'S JUST SKIP TO INDY THEN. Love to pontificate on arbitrary preseason rankings four months before the first kickoff.

That said, it looks like Wisconsin and Ohio State are headed for a rematch of the 2014 Big Ten title game.


According to FPI, the Big Ten divisional races are runaways. Ohio State has an 83 percent chance to win the East, while Wisconsin has an 82 percent chance in the West. There’s a 68 percent chance that the Buckeyes and Badgers meet in the championship game, nearly twice as high as the chances for any other championship game matchup in the other Power 5 conferences. The Buckeyes have a 69 percent chance to win the Big Ten.

Wisconsin is the least-intimidating actually good team in the Big Ten, so that works for me.

Other conference favorites, according to ESPN FPI: Oklahoma (77%), Florida State (49%), Alabama (47%), and USC (39%.)

 PATRIOT LAID TO REST. Send one up today as one of the greatest Ohioans in history will be laid to rest with fellow patriots at Arlington National Cemetery.


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Final funeral rites for astronaut John Glenn will take place Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery.

His family and invited guests, including astronauts and dignitaries, will say goodbye to the first American to orbit Earth at a private service at the Old Post Chapel beginning at 9 a.m.

The U.S. Marine Corps will begin a live stream at 9:40 a.m. that will include a processional to the graveside by caisson, a flyover, a graveside service and taps. The event ends at 10:25 a.m.

Godspeed, John Glenn.

 NOBODY ON ZEKE'S LEVEL. Here's something to keep in mind for computer football drafts this year: No rookie running back will be on Ezekiel Elliott's level out of the gate, at least according to the always credible anonymous NFL scout.


"He was so well-rounded coming out of Ohio State. He's not the fastest guy you'll see, but his first step, burst and vision are all elite," said the NFL evaluator who provided the rankings. "He was so much more advanced in blocking pass protection than Gurley or Fournette. He's a workhorse and not only a three-down back, but he could be featured in the pass game as well. If you're looking for a pure physical runner, with the best power/speed combination that most of us have ever seen, then Fournette is your guy."

As a Browns fan, I've cultivated a sense of optimism that will whittle away into unrelenting paranoia as the draft draws closer. Good times, indeed.

 THOSE WMDs. Uber uses psychological tricks to push its drivers buttons... Future #teens will probably have better fake IDs than we did... Miamisburg man's death in Vietnam, questioned for decades, now has closure... My son has the kind of autism nobody talks about.

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