Skull Session: Maryland a “Nice Challenge,” Big Play Ben Victor, and Negative Linebacker Aggression

By D.J. Byrnes on October 3, 2017 at 4:59 am
Ben Victor mosses a dude for the October 3rd 2017 Skull Session


Word of the Day: Pusillanimous.

 FINALLY, A GAME. The second worst part about the loss to Oklahoma was the level of competition in the next three games.

Maryland is a different breed, despite opening as 31-point underdogs to the local team. Unlike Rutgers, which only opened as 27½-point underdogs, Maryland dumped Texas and finally knocked my nemesis P.J. Fleck off his high horse last week.

Yeah, the Terrapins are down to QB3. As we all love to remember, it's bad business to count out teams led by third-string QBs.


Army, UNLV and Rutgers are hardly on Ohio State’s talent level, so Meyer tempered his optimism. Asked about the Buckeyes’ passing game, which has put up big numbers the last three games, he replied, “We’re optimistic and pleased, but we’re also realistic.”

This week’s game against Maryland should pose more of a test. The Terrapins (3-1) have lost their top two quarterbacks, but they built on their season-opening win over Texas with a victory at Minnesota last week.

“This will be a nice challenge,” Meyer said.

These next two games are perfect lead ups to the showdown with Penn State, which sets up PSU hosting Michigan the week prior and Ohio State coming off an open week.

 RUN THAT PLAY AGAIN. My third favorite play against Rutgers, behind the both G.O.A.T. touchdown trots, was Ben Victor sending Scarlet Knight DB Damon Hayes back to elementary school:

Textbook Mossing

Sure, it took place during a 35-0 game. But plays like that build confidence for young players.


The second was a 23-yard touchdown on a jump ball to the front corner of the end zone, when the 6-foot-4 Victor had no trouble beating 6-1 corner Damon Hayes. Barrett had a pass rusher bearing down on him but got the ball out and let Victor make another play.

"I trust my QB and I'm very confident in J.T." Victor said. "I trust he's going to get it there and I've got to go make a play for him."

They should take a shot to Victor from that range every time. If Barrett throws it like that, not many defensive backs in American will be able to defend against that.

 TEAMS TARGETING AGGRESSIVENESS. I expected the linebackers to play lights out this season, despite a reshuffling of positions. It hasn't been like that, though. Teams are targeting the linebackers' aggressiveness.

Point in case: Jerome Baker.

From Kyle Morgan of

It has been my theory that Baker in particular is keying too much on making a big play and seems to “float” or drift out of position when diagnosing a play, causing him to miss a run fit, which leads to a big gain.

While play speed and instincts are important traits in any position group, it appears as though opposing teams are scheming around this deficiency in discipline shown by the Ohio State defense.

Baker can clean this stuff up, and he will. 

 AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE. I try not to text while driving, and I'm pretty good at it. But I'm not going to say I've never done it.

It's terrible habit.

From Nick Jackson of's interview with 10TV host Dom Tiberi, who lost his daughter to a distracted driving accident.

Dom had an uneasy feeling that night after Maria left. He sat in what he called his “worry chair” which faces the pictures on the wall of his precious children; it’s a chair every parent has.

At 2:27 AM, Dom heard the doorbell ring five times and his life would never be the same. 

“I looked out the side window and saw 7 policemen standing on my porch. As I opened the door I knew something was wrong. I saw the Chief of Dublin police, a friend of mine, Heinz von Eckartsberg.

I remember Heinz asking me, “Dom, does Maria drive a red car?” I said yes. He then said the words that no parent ever wants to hear. “Dom, I don’t know how to tell you this, but Maria was involved in a horrible accident and she did not survive."

You can donate to the Maria Tiberi Foundation by clicking HERE.

 ROCKY TOP CHIP? Volunteer fans are so desperate they'd vote to replace Butch Jones with a stale bag of chips (and they wouldn't be wrong to do so). But ppparently Chip Kelly is the hot name in Knoxville:

Can't wait for Chip to use Tennessee as leverage to pry more millions from Texas A&M. Going to be a page out of what Tom Herman's agent did to LSU last year, only way more hilarious.

 THOSE WMDs. Tom Petty's real-life nightmares... Couple stole $1.2 million from Amazon... The mind of John McPhee... 1,250 miles and no GPS... What if roads could de-ice themselves?

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