Skull Session: Kevin Wilson Enters Spotlight, Don't Sleep on B.B. Landers, and the Rise of Branden Bowen

By D.J. Byrnes on August 28, 2017 at 4:59 am
B.B. Landers checks in for the August 28 2017 Skull Session
B.B. Landers

Praise be to Warren G. Harding, the 29th and greatest president of the United States, for we have arrived at our first game week of 2017. And what a blessed occasion it is, with not having to wait until Saturday to see the local team ritualistically butcher an opponent on national television to open the season.

While we await that primetime dumping, please enjoy the tears of Kentucky fans in wake of Blue Smith committing to the Buckeyes over the Wildcats:

Bartender, I'll have whatever that guy had. What's that? Paint thinner, you say? Fine with me. I'm looking to enter a narcocoma until about 5 p.m. Thursday.


Word of the Day: Nitid.

 HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEWS, FRIEND? Here's something you might not have heard: Kevin Wilson, who now coordinates the Ohio State offense, coached at Indiana last year.

I didn't believe it at first, but it's true. This Wilson fella seems to have an illustrious history calling plays, too.


“I’ve called plays since 1990,” Wilson said. “You made mistakes. Coach Walker used to say all the time, ‘Don’t call a play thinking about losing the game. Call what you see.’ Coach Stoops would talk to me about calling plays like you’re playing craps. You’ve got to let it roll.”

His offenses certainly have rolled. His teams set records in both the run and passing games at every stop in his coaching journey. Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, for example, is the NCAA’s career leader in passing efficiency.

Those who’ve coached and played with Wilson marvel at the way he instinctively finds ways to exploit defenses.

Jokes aside, I once witnessed Wilson raise Hell against Ohio State with a backup QB who moonlit as a model. That's why I'm all-in on this offense—and J.T. Barrett's resurrection—until proven otherwise.

That said, I'm kinda hoping Ohio State starts the game sluggish (it's the first game after all) just so I can watch fans immolate themselves on Twitter for RTs.

Don't let this happen to you. Remain calm. This season is a marathon, not a sprint.

 DON'T FORGET OL' BB. The defensive line being the greatest in school history is a meme us fans love to know. And there's a good reason, with guys like Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, Jalyn Holmes, and Nick Bosa.

That extends to the middle, too, with guys like Dre'Mont Jones and the returning Tracy Sprinkle. Don't forget about Robert "B.B." Landers, though, who actually led the team in TFLs last season.


“I call him gravity-challenged – he’s not very tall – but he can find the football and is very quick, so you’ve got to account for him,” OSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson said with a grin. 


“Last year was my first time getting my feet wet, playing games and getting used to the atmosphere,” he said. “This time I’m able to be a lot more relaxed. On the field, I’m a lot more comfortable. I know my role, I know what I can do, and it’s just about me doing what I’m capable of doing.”

Landers proved to be more than a run-stuffer last season, recording a tackle-for-loss every 40 snaps to lead the team.

I love everything about Landers, from his origin story (opposing Ohio prep coaches called Luke Fickell begging him to take a look at this undersized DT who just wrecked their offense) to his production.

I look forward to people doubting him all the way to the NFL. At some point, it becomes less about a player's body and more what he puts on film. He's a valuable chip to have in the pocket of a guru like Larry Johnson.

 BOWEN RISING. I figured redshirt sophomore Branden Bowen, a three-star OT prospect from Utah, would be the backup tackle this season. While he may still do that, I did not expect Bowen to lock down the vacant right guard spot.

Once again, I don't know shit.


Bowen deserves credit for what he did. When Meyer was asked Monday about players who have improved the most from the start of camp, the first name he mentioned was Bowen.

There was a job there and Bowen took it, just like Michael Jordan did at left guard last year. The players that Bowen beat out are basically the same players that Jordan beat out a year ago.

Bowen may also still remain the top backup at tackle, regardless of how the depth chart looks. If he was good enough to win a starting job, he's then the best choice to replace Jamarco Jones or Isaiah Prince if anything happens to them. The Buckeyes would then have other interior options.

Given Ohio State has more beef upfront than an Arby's semi, there can be no excuses for inconsistent play from the offensive line. If they can't pass protect, then Ohio State should return to the patented seven yards and a cloud of dust offense. 

What I like most about Bowen, though, is he appears to be an old school football guy. No days off, always watching film and looking to get better:

With guys like Matt Burrell, Malcolm Pridgeon, and Demetrius Knox behind him, Ohio State should have plenty of depth should it need to reshuffle the deck for whatever reason.

 OUCHIE. Alabama will be without a projected starting defensive tackle against Florida State on Saturday as Raekwon Davis suffered a gunshot to the leg early Sunday morning.


Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis was shot in the leg while at a Tuscaloosa bar early Sunday morning.

Davis, 20, was hospitalized with a minor injury to his leg. Investigators with the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit would not identify Davis as the victim, but The Tuscaloosa News has confirmed his identity. Investigators said Davis was not targeted and hit by a stray bullet.

“The victim told investigators he was standing outside of Bar 17 when he heard several gunshots and realized he had been shot in the right leg,” Homicide Unit commander Capt. Gary Hood said. “The victim was uncooperative with investigators.”

Before you ask, "Why was a 20-year-old hanging outside a bar?" as if that's not something 20-year-old collegiate men regularly do, here's your answer:

This is why I refuse to go to any bar showing any sort of professional fight. Those things make drunk, ape-brained men super horny. They get all jacked up watching professional fighters knock the consciousness out of each other and then look to take their raging insecurity out on a stranger on a bar patio.

I'll be damned if I end up on WorldStar getting choked out by a bro with bootleg steroids running wild through his bloodstream.

 NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL TAX FRAUD. Remember all those fawning stories about billionaire Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross gifting $200 million to Michigan, his alma mater? 

Turns out billionaires giving away money isn't always altruistic as coverage indicates.


On his way to becoming the University of Michigan's largest donor, Stephen M. Ross and a group of business partners donated a collective gift to his alma mater.

In return, the partnership claimed a giant charitable tax deduction: $33 million.


It would take nearly a decade of legal wrangling before U.S. Tax Judge James S. Halpern sided with the IRS last month and disallowed the entire $33-million write-off that the judge valued at a more paltry $3.4 million. The judge also imposed maximum civil penalties for a "gross valuation misstatement" that could now cost Ross and his partners millions more.


“I don’t understand why someone is not going to jail,” University of Florida professor Steven J. Willis, who has authored books on charities and tax law, said of those involved with the tax filing.

Somebody get Ohio governor John Kasich on the phone (I lost his number). I think we could find room for Ross in our state's prison system.

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