Skull Session: Meyer Comeback Season, Wilson's Familiarity Cuts Both Ways, and Thompson Gets His Shot

By D.J. Byrnes on August 30, 2017 at 4:59 am
Jamarco Jones looks like a beast for the August 30 2017 Skull Session.

A little over 24 hours until the one true local team exorcises the demons of last season. Pretty sure I can hear the evacuation sirens blaring in Bloomington all the way in the bucolic Western Ohio gem of Piqua.


Word of the Day: Nabob.

 CALL IT A COMEBACK. The last time we saw our dear leader, Urban F. Meyer (the "F" stands for "Fuck Michigan"), an Alabaman named "Dabo" humbled him in the Fiesta Bowl.

Yet here we stand on the brink of another season with optimism in our hearts. And that doesn't make us homers. The national media buys the hype as well.

From Mark Schlabach of

Meyer has rarely been humbled as much as he was in Ohio State's 31-0 loss to Clemson in the CFP semifinals at the Fiesta Bowl last season. The Buckeyes had only 215 yards of offense with nine first downs and were shut out for the first time since 1993. It was the first time a Meyer-coached team was held scoreless in his 194 games as a head coach.

The Buckeyes are poised for redemption this coming season. Former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson takes over the offense, and former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano is back to direct the defense. If the Buckeyes can survive their early home game against Oklahoma, they probably won't be tested again until they host Penn State on Oct. 28 and play at Michigan on Nov. 25. And yes, Meyer will beat Jim Harbaugh again.

Ohio State will be the No. 1 seed in the CFP, followed by No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Florida State (which will rebound from a Week 1 loss to the Crimson Tide in Atlanta) and No. 4 USC. The Buckeyes and Tide will play for the national championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Jan. 8, and Meyer will earn his fourth national title with a 24-20 victory.

Michigan fans already detest me because I'm not one of those writers seeking respect from "the other side."

Those levels of hatred will hit nuclear thermal levels if Ohio State ends this season with wins over Michigan, the Big Ten West sacrificial lamb, USC, and Alabama. If they think I'm obnoxious now, they haven't seen anything yet.

One thing I do like about the Meyer interview video attached to that article (couldn't embed thanks to ESPN's janky embed code), Meyer took full responsibility for last year's outcome. That's what true leaders do while fake leaders deflect responsibility to their subordinates.

 THE OL' DOUBLE EDGED SWORD. As I exclusively reported yesterday, new Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson coached Indiana last year. 

This gives him searing insight into the Indiana roster. Knowledge which Ohio State will no doubt use tomorrow night in Bloomington.

But intimacy cuts both ways. The Hoosiers coaching staff and players know how Wilson operates as well.


Indiana is already familiar with Ohio State’s personnel, and now the IU coaches have a very good idea of what the Buckeyes’ playcaller likes to do because they’ve seen it for years.

So does knowing what Kevin Wilson likes to do offense give the Hoosier defense an advantage?

“I’d like to know what I like to do, because I don’t know,” Wilson laughed. “I never had a playbook. You just go with what works and what the guys are and the way you attack. You have a game plan and as soon as you get hit in the mouth and things happen you wad it up. You have to have the ability to adapt and adjust. Every week is different, every year is different, every game is different, and I’ve got a job to do and that’s get these guys ready to play. Then come game time be ready to adapt and adjust and try to put those kids in a position to succeed.”

Wilson rolling sans playbook is one of the most baller things I've ever heard from a football coach. The true embodiment of "Clear Eyes, Full Heart."

And yes, Indiana coaches and players may know how Wilson rolls. But they've never seen his offense operated with Meyer-recruited talent. After all, it's one thing to know a play is coming. It's another thing to stop it.

 THE ONE GOOD HOOSIER. Indiana will like go down in flames Thursday night. But there's one Hoosier for which you should keep a soft spot in your heart: Fifth-year safety Jayme Thompson.

Thompson flipped from West Virginia to Ohio State back in April 2012. After suffering a season-ending injury during fall camp in 2013, the Toledo native left Ohio State and landed at JUCO Iowa Western. After playing there a year (and helping them to a national title game appearance), Thompson transferred to Indiana.

Now he's just looking to looking to contribute.


“I was young, and anybody that knows Ohio State, when you get an injury like that it’s hard to bounce back,” Thompson said. “You haven’t established yourself. A change of scenery was right.”


“The people at Ohio State were really good,” said his father, Deon. “That’s why you’ll never hear me say anything bad [about Ohio State]. They’re a very class act over there.”


As senior, Thompson said he simply wants to contribute and take one final shot at a Big Ten championship.

“That’s been my goal since I got to the Big Ten my freshman year,” Thompson said. “Now just contributing to that and actually playing a key role, there’s nothing more I can ask for.”

Spoiler: Indiana won't win the Big Ten title. But it's great to see Thompson persevere. A lesser man would've walked away long ago.

 NO JUDGMENT YET. As computer football teams hang in the balance from coast to coast, no final judgment came yesterday for Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension.

Seems like a fun time at the NFL offices. Glad I don't have to sit in on those hearings.

 HARBAUGH! Michigan's coach will podcast during the football season. Couldn't be our coach!


Harbaugh’s new podcast, Attack Each Day: The Harbaugh’s Podcast, kicks off on Sept. 5 and headlines the launch of PodcastOne Sports, the new sports content community from PodcastOne.

“I’m looking forward to joining my dad and my other family members for our weekly podcast on PodcastOne,” said Harbaugh, whose Wolverines open the season on Saturday, Sept. 2 against Florida. “A lot of people who I respect have been doing podcasts for years, and the Attack Each Day: The Harbaugh’s Podcast should be a fun experience for our show’s guests and for our listeners.”

The podcast will include regular visits from family and friends, including his brother, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh; his father, longtime college coach Jack Harbaugh; and former University of San Diego player J.T. Rogan.

I can't wait until Harbaugh falls to 0-3 against Ohio State in November. The uproar from Wolverine fans will keep me high until mid-August.

Meyer would kill a man for suggesting he podcast during the season—as soon as he found out what a podcast is.

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