Today's Skull Session is dedicated to the Farmer's Daughter in Urbana, Ohio.
- After a hot start at Cincinnati, could Luke Fickell ever beat Urban Meyer for an Ohio prospect?
- Teradja Mitchell is the latest prospect to get between Ohio State and Florida State.
- Help put a life-size statue of Woody Hayes in his hometown of Newcomerstown, Ohio.
Word of the Day: Elephantine.
BAND MEMBER CONTINUES QUEST. Remember Austin Brizee, that band member that stroked a 55-yard field goal in front of Urban Meyer at Student Appreciation Day?
He said the week after he wanted to pursue a tryout with Ohio State. He's working throughout the summer to perfect his craft while also molding his body into shape.
“They definitely want him to bulk up,” said [friend and personal trainer Craig] Dzuranin. “We’re focusing on every little part of the muscle, whether it comes from hips, legs, shoulders, or chest. We’re hitting everything. I want to make sure everything is symmetrical. But we are focusing a lot on his hip flexors, abductors, adductors and making sure he’s got that power to kick” .
Brizee is taking this so seriously, he gave up his summer internship so he can pursue his kicking dream full-time.
His next tryout should come in August, and it will likely come one week after his tryout to earn back his spot in the best damn band in the land.
Due to Rodjay Burns' transfer to Louisville, Meyer and his staff no longer have to grayshirt Blake Haubeil if they don't want.
Between Sean Nuernberger and the No. 1 kicker in the 2017 class between him, it'd either be one of the greatest specialist stories ever or an indictment of Meyer's special teams if a walk-on takes high-pressure kicks at the end of the season.
BRAXTON ON COMEBACK TRAIL. Ohio State's offense didn't weaponize Braxton Miller in his final year in Columbus. Still, the former quarterback showed enough juice for the Houston Texans to burn a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
A shoulder injury sidelined Miller for most of his rookie campaign, though. He caught 15 balls for 99 yards (long of 12) and a touchdown.
The Texans will want more than that in 2017, but Houston's general manager thinks Year 2 will bode well for Miller.
The Texans are hopeful that [second-year receivers Will Fuller and Braxton Miller] will make more of an impact as they head into their second NFL season. The Texans hold their first organized team activity this week.
"'It's a difficult position to play in our league," Texans general manager Rick Smith said. "There's a lot of learning. There's a lot of physical demands on that position. The expectation and the progression from a career, there's exponential growth expected from Year 1 to Year 2.
"And it's because, in a lot of respects, they know pro football a lot better, the rhythm of the season, the demands, everything is just different. It's heightened. To the degree that a guy can come in and process that and play with some success as a rookie, that's good. That next year is when you tend to see that biggest jump."
Miller will need a long and fruitful campaign this year. As we saw with the New York Jets and Devin Smith, NFL contracts can be torched on a whim. It'd be a shame if a player of Miller's talents never earned that lucrative second contract.
ALOPECIA AWARENESS. Pittsburgh linebacker Ryan Shazier, who will inevitably end DeShone Kizer's rookie season Week 17 with a clean hit, typed a letter to The Players' Tribune about his lifetime struggles with Alopecia, a genetic disease that won't allow him to grow hair of any kind.
I’m in the elevator with James Harrison, Joey Porter and Arthur Moats the day after our game against the Cowboys last season. I remember it really well, because we were mad as hell that Ezekiel Elliott had run for 114 yards against us. So James and I are going through our usual routine of breaking down what went right and what went wrong. James is rattling off stuff when all of the sudden he stops talking. Just freezes mid-sentence and stares at the top of my head.
I’m looking at him like, What’s going on?
Then he says, “Bruh …”
You know that feeling when someone is just staring at you all wide-eyed and not saying anything? It’s the worst.
I’m like, “What? Bro, what?”
He says, “Bruh … I think your hair’s growing out.”
What I like most about Shazier's letter is it feels like he wrote it, unlike other athletes who seem to have mastered the sanitized English of a press release.
And I bet the #youths who used to ridicule Shazier in school—only a few people on earth crueler than schoolyard kids—feel good about their past choices now.
STOP HECKLING HIGH SCHOOL REFS. Being a ref is a lot like being a politician: What sane person would want to subject themselves to the unhinged invective of the unwashed masses?
High school refs don't get paid enough to put up with Larry, the alcoholic mechanic living vicariously through his son that resents him. (Larry, your son is barely good enough to play strong safety on a team from a dying mill town in western Ohio. Settle down over there.)
And while it's an amusing scenario to contemplate, it's leading to a ref crisis.
LoHud.com outlines the number of issues that are driving veteran referees away across the board in high school sports, underscored by this startling statistic: according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, only 20 percent of referees return for their third year on the job.
“The issue is twofold,” the organization says. “First, we must find ways to recruit more men and women to become involved in officiating high school sports. Second, we have to address issues that are causing these individuals to discontinue their service as contest officials.”
Memo to the Ohio High School Athletic Association: I will referee any sport for $5,000 a match. I post online for a living so there's nothing people in real life can say to me that can hurt my feelings.
THE LIBRARY: STILL STANDING. Somehow The Library Bar is still standing despite how I never saw anyone in it during six years of living in the campus area:
Only books in The Library Bar, 2169 N High St, are old textbooks behind chicken wire in this display. At its current location since 1972. pic.twitter.com/AuAOCycIkd— Univ Dist History (@UDHCMH) May 23, 2017
Shots from those bottles must go for $500 a pop.
THOSE WMDs. A power player and her sons disappear off the Bahamas... What a lot of people get wrong about the McDonald's hot coffee case... Ohio's ghoulish gambit against grave robbing... The story of suck.com... Big cities struggling to connect with Great Lakes.