Skull Session: Dwayne Haskins Shows Potential, the Power of a Walk-On, and Jalyn Holmes' Special Bond

By D.J. Byrnes on September 25, 2017 at 4:59 am
Dwayne Train styles for the September 25 2017 Skull Session.
Dwayne Train

Glad to have out-of-conference games at an end without any season-ending injuries.

Now we're on to big boy football. The Big Ten is back, baby!

And this week we have...


... Oh hell, a primetime trip to Rutgers!? IS THIS SOMEBODY'S IDEA OF A SICK JOKE?

I wish the local team faced Penn State right now, outside in the Ponderosa parking lot. I must know if the team I support is bad or good. The only thing playing Rutgers can prove is they're bad.


Word of the Day: Extirpate.

 THE DWAYNE TRAIN. The silver lining of playing overmatched opponents like UNLV is backups earning extended playing time. Such was the case for Dwayne Haskins, who promptly strolled onto the field and threw a laser to a walk-on receiver (more on him in a bit).


Haskins' first career touchdown pass was an absolute bullet over the middle of the field between two defenders to C.J. Saunders. When Saunders got a half-step of separation on an inside move, Haskins delivered the ball on target and on time through a window. It was a pro throw.

You got a look at Haskins in the zone read game, where he didn't always look comfortable but definitely serviceable. That's an important part of playing quarterback for Meyer, and there's something to work with there.

He finished 15 of 23 for 228 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a lot of really good things on which to build.

What I loved most about that throw was how he threw C.J. Saunders open. Yes, Ohio State receivers don't always separate, but quarterbacks with elite arms can and do throw them open.

This is what it looks like:

Haskins wasn't perfect. He threw a pick-six that Meyer rightfully called "inexcusable." Plays like that can turn a game, and with it, a season.

And though the schedule set up perfectly to blood a new quarterback by the time Penn State comes to Columbus, we're all aboard the J.T. Barrett Bandwagon whether it leads us to glory or the bottom of the Olentangy.

What about a blogger poll, though?

What about a poll among bloggers, Urban!? My perspective from the couch would be unique in the coaching war room. 

Jokes aside, Haskins acknowledges the QB debate is dead (for now):

Burrow is no slouch either. And with how much Meyer gushes about Tate Martell, next summer will feature plenty of hot takes about who should lead the local team.

 I LIKE THIS GUY. Meyer has raved about C.J. Saunders, a walk-on receiver from Dublin Coffman that originally entered the program as a cornerback. Meyer thought so much of him, he brought Saunders to Indiana on the travel roster.

Though he didn't play in Bloomington, we got a look at why Meyer loves him on Saturday.


With 1:32 left in the first half, the Ohio State junior had just caught a 28-yard TD pass over the middle and in traffic from Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins. The score and ensuing point after put the Bucks up 44-7 on UNLV.

“It was an unreal feeling,” he admitted. “I looked down to make sure I was in that red (end zone) and then I heard the screams from my teammates and the fans and I knew: It was a touchdown. I just remember the roar was incredible.”


“When I came off the field I couldn’t breathe,” he grinned. “All the guys were around me giving me high-fives and hugs. Here they don’t care if you’re a walk-on or not.

Saunders finished with six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. 

I know it was against the second-string of an inferior team, but I'd like to see more of this guy. Despite the outbreak yesterday, I remain unconvinced Ohio State has six equal receivers like Meyer always says.

I'd like to see what he can do against better teams. Rutgers would be a good place to start.

 R.I.P. IRENE LAWRENCE. Defensive end Jalyn Holmes will be in the NFL next year even though he isn't technically a starter at Ohio State. He remains one of my favorite players on the team, and today we pay homage to his late great-grandmother.


Irene Lawrence’s picture was in Jalyn Holmes’ locker. When Holmes saw it two weeks ago at Ohio Stadium as the Buckeyes got ready for their showdown against Oklahoma, the full force of her death hit him.

“I broke down,” Holmes said.

Lawrence was Holmes’ great-grandmother, though he calls her his grandmother. She died on Labor Day at age 77 in Norfolk, Virginia.

Holmes considers himself blessed to have two caring, hardworking parents. But if you want to know why the Ohio State defensive end is the person he is, start with Irene Lawrence.

She instilled toughness in him. She taught him the virtues of selflessness. And from her, he inherited, well, his mouth.

Grandmothers can talk that shit, man. People think I talk a lot of trash—and I do—but I think I got those genes from Grandma Krider. Nobody keeps it as "100" as grandmas.

 DAMN YOU, JAMES FRANKLIN. Folks... it's with a heavy heart that I report I respect the Nittany Lions. James Franklin still repulses me, but I can't find any bad feelings in my heart for  Sober Johnny Manziel, Saquon Barkley, and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.

In fact, I would probably drink 20 beers with Moorhead, who did the impossible and made the Penn State offense fun again.

From Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated:

Davidson co-offensive coordinator Tim Zetts (Fordham running backs coach, 2011-14):Where the Junk Corner was, was actually my meeting room. One of the freshman running backs, Chase Edmonds, asked me, “What is all this stuff?” You got so immune to it, I didn’t even know what to tell him.

The ladder was the first thing. Joe likes to goof around. There was a ladder in the hall for like a week outside our staff room that wasn’t moving. So Joe brought it inside and put it in the corner. As time went on, there was a broken weight bench he rolled in there. Then someone put a stop sign in there. Traffic cones. It was kind of crazy. The school moved the student weight room right next to us, and people would bring boomboxes and play loud music. There was a squash court next to us, and you’d have grade school kids from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. screaming the whole time. It was pure chaos. The best part was the maintenance people would knock and say, “Hey, excuse me, can we use the ladder?” Joe would say, “Sure, just make sure you bring it back.”

I don’t think there’s anybody who can do more with less than Joe. That’s him. His big thing was, “It doesn’t matter.” That ended up being the mindset of our players. They were numb to it.

Penn State is beatable—especially on the road. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz sealed up the Big Ten 2017 Coach of the Year Award by almost proving that Saturday night in Kinnick.

That matchup between Saquon Barkley and the Ohio State defensive line should have scouts from every NFL team in attendance—except for the Browns and Bengals, who will undoubtedly be planning Super Bowl parades instead.

Seriously, Penn State's offense is fun to watch. Somebody needs to go to jail over this, and I need a shower.

 MICHIGAN BEAT PURDUE. Woke up Sunday to witness Michigan fans thumping their chests on Twitter about beating a 2-1 Purdue team. 

The Boilermakers did their best to pull the upset, but their depth just isn't there yet. Plus, the game changed when Wilton Speight left with an injury. 

Former Houston quarterback John O'Korn saved Michigan's day.

From Marionaire Kyle Rowland of The Toledo Blade:

In a heavy dose of irony, the coach who sat O’Korn at Houston, which led to his transfer to Michigan, is Tony Levine, Purdue’s co-offensive coordinator. He was on the sideline Saturday and, following O’Korn’s touchdown pass, the quarterback let out a series of screams toward the Purdue bench.

“I probably shouldn’t have done that,” O’Korn said. “Coach Harbaugh talked me down. I was pretty emotional, but I’m human. Anytime you get to go out and beat your former coach whose decision it was to bench you in the first place, it’s going to be an emotional night.”

When O’Korn was asked if his full-throated roars were in Levine’s general direction, he humorously said, with a smile, “Probably his exact direction.”

Michigan's offense is more dangerous with O'Korn, the inaccurate quarterback with serviceable mobility, as opposed to Speight, the inaccurate quarterback with no mobility. 

Let's hope Speight gets healthy soon, but I expect Harbaugh to sit on that information as if its America's nuclear codes.

In the meantime, Purdue wide receiver Gregory Phillips please come accept your grotesque crown of Crying Jordan memes. 

Well, not always, Devin. Not always.

always and forever, bum juice

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