Skull Session: Toughness Defines Billy Price, a Legendary Vic Janowicz Yarn, and James Laurinaitis Walks Away

By D.J. Byrnes on August 19, 2017 at 4:59 am
Greg Schiano looks at the Aug 19 2017 Skull Session

Eventually there comes a time in a writer's life where they're not sure they'll return to the blank page they love to know. This is my moment.

I write before traveling  to Findlay, Ohio to meet a friend to go to Ypsilanti to meet a friend. My enemies run deep in Findlay and even deeper in the trifling lands due north.

Do not cry for me, Columbus, if I do not return. Just pour out a Watermelon FourLoko in a Waffle House parking lot on game day. The Starcat will avenge me.


Word of the Day: Tonsure.

 OLD MAN PRICE. It's wild how people see their own age.

At 30, I feel three weeks away from a hospice and eating through a straw. Then I met an 82-year-old woman who regarded me in the same light as a toddler.

Take fifth-year senior Billy Price. Most folks would consider him apart of "the new generation," which has been bad throughout the history of time. But let Billy tell it, there's an even newer generation that is worse.


"With the younger generation, recruiting is lot about publicity — flashy IG (Instagram) pictures, Snapchat, 10,000 followers, 25,000 retweets, Bleacher Report videos," Price said. "I keep it real with them.

"The guys I came up with — Corey Linsley, Taylor Decker, Jack Mewhort, Jacoby Boren, Pat Elflein — it was real. It was: This has to be done in order to win a championship. I remember Taylor Decker calling me on a Saturday and I was home. He said: 'What are you doing? Why aren't you here working out with us?'

"That's what kept it real with me so I would develop myself. I would not be opposed to hosting recruits in the fall, but I will keep it real. Don't wear your high heels here. Don't wear your [Louis Vuittons] here."

I will say social media has made it easier for everyone to pretend they're a celebrity. People sell "healing crystals" on Instagram and act like they're Oprah.

Good to hear nobody wears high heels, though. I don't know why women wear them, let alone an offensive lineman. Solid footwear choices are yet more proof of the OL trending the right direction as the season draws nigh.

 JANOWICZ 4 HEISMAN. The Ohio State G.O.A.T. Game Tournament rolls on next week. I've enjoyed researching old games before I spawned in a Pasadena storm drain.

One game I didn't know a lot about was Ohio State's 1950 win vs. Iowa, featured in the old school bracket. There's a reason halfback/kicker Vic Janowicz won the Heisman this year.

From the article:

Vic Janowicz returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown, scored on an 11-yard touchdown run, threw a 12-yard touchdown pass, recovered two fumbles on defense, blasted two kickoffs out of the end zone and made three extra points against the Hawkeyes — all within the first five minutes of the game.

That already sounds amazing. But I didn't see it live, so it's impossible for me to capture the true awesomeness.

From 12th Warrior Horvath22:

I was in the Shoe for the Iowa game in 1950 and would like to provide a little detail regarding the opening kickoff. Vic kicked the ball over the tops of goalpost uprights. T

here was a track at that time, and the ball cleared the grass between the backline of the end zone and the track. A cop, standing at the opening of the tunnel (no ramp in those days) caught the ball.

I figured the ball had to have gone over 80 yards on the fly.

The two Iowa receivers, standing on the goal line, watched the ball sail 30 feet over their heads, probably thought they were in the Twilight Zone. The crowd went silent for a couple of seconds, then exploded.

To this day I have never seen kick remotely close. I have often wondered if the Iowa team was shell-shocked after that superhuman kickoff. It was like a prelude to what was about to happen on the field.

Most old-timey athletes, even with today's training advancements, would get bulldozed. There are a handful of iconic players that could still lace 'em up today. Janowicz was one of those players.

 NO LITTLER ANIMAL. Former Ohio State linebacker and Los Angeles Rams leading tackler (despite never playing a game in LA) James Laurinaitis retired this past season.

He did it for the long-term health of his family. And no, he did not consider following his father's footsteps to the WWE.


Did you give wrestling any thought? (His father, Joe, is a pro wrestling legend as Road Warrior Hawk.)

JL: No, I didn't. After getting beat up in football for so many years, there's no way, the travel, everything. I get more things about that on social media than anything else. And I've vocally said I'm not wrestling. But I'll still get a fan here and there, 'When are you coming in the ring?" And I'm like, after taking on linemen for this long, I'm not taking on a body slam. I stopped playing because my knee was extremely painful and going up and down stairs hurt. So there's no way I'm getting in the ring.

This year I had opportunities to go and steal money in football and limp around and drain the knee every other week and run around knowing I'm not the player I want to be. But is it really worth it? I saved up plenty of money. I was blessed to have the two contracts. 

And to me it wasn't worth it. At 29 years old I'm carrying my daughter up the stairs and my knee is aching and I'm like, 'I've got to walk these girls down the aisle in 20-some years.' So to me it didn't make sense. I love football but this isn't worth it anymore.

Can never blame a man for taking the vaunted "family man" route. That would be my advice to any football player: Get your nest egg and get out. You only have one body.

 GODSPEED, WILLIAM WHITE. Former Ohio State safety and Super Bowl XXXIII participant William White has been diagnosed with ALS, and he is taking experimental measures to ward it off.


He has been diagnosed with ALS, a terminal and brutal disease which will likely leave him unable to speak or walk within months.

But retired NFL star William White insists he wouldn't have sacrificed his football career for anything - despite studies that clearly link the high-impact sport with the terminal neurological disease.

Now the 51-year-old is even more positive as he prepares to start taking a groundbreaking drug that could slow the disease's progression by 33 percent.

'I'm excited,' White told Daily Mail Online. 'If it works, it means I could get to play golf longer since I'm about to retire soon anyways.'

Big props to White's indomitable attitude.

And let it be known: If doctors ever diagnose me with a rare and debilitating disease, please load me up with all the experimental drugs. My carcass can be humanity's guinea pig.

 MAKES YOU THINK, FOR SURE. Folks... disturbing news yesterday as a former college football player admitted to taking money from somebody who gave it to him.


Chris Simms, quarterback for the Longhorns from 1999-2002, admitted to accepting money from University of Texas boosters while he was on the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday.

Simms also claimed that boosters giving money to student-athletes happens all the time, and that it's "stupid" to think that it doesn't happen. 

"It would be the random booster that you might see only one time, right, but he would find you that one time and he might have 10 football jerseys for you to sign real quick, and you'd sign it, and then he'd give you, 'Hey, thanks for this. I appreciate that.' And he'd give you a $100 handshake."

I hope the FBI gets involved and prosecutes the whole gang to the fullest extent of the law, right down to the booster who definitely sold those nine other jerseys for thousands of dollars in profit.

 THOSE WMDs. How professional romance novelists write 3,000 words a day... Professional wrestler Booker T's raw life... The desperate future of Cal athletics is here... The world is running out of sand... Oberlin College still savors win over Ohio State in 1921.

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