Skull Session: O.C. Clarity, Basketball Roster “Fits Perfectly,” and the Versatile Jaelen Gill

By D.J. Byrnes on January 24, 2018 at 4:59 am
Austin Mack grabs the January 24th 2017 Skull Session

It's No-Work Wednesday, where it's legal to summon the power of Denzel Ward and truck-stick your boss into another dimension if they won't let you leave the office at 10:30 after a hard day's work of reading three emails.

I'd say he'd look awesomer in a Browns jersey, but thanks to their criminal owner and his terrible rebrand, those rags look like they came from a defunct CIFL team. (If you know the CIFL without looking it up—congratulations, you're my new best friend.)


Word of the Day: Bromidic.

 STILL MEYER'S SHOW. When Chip Kelly landed at UCLA, speculation swirled he would bring his former protege, Ryan Day, back to the west coast. That never materialized. Reported interest from Mississippi State for its head coaching job never came to fruition, either.

Mike Vrabel offering Day the reins to an offense helmed by Marcus Mariotta seemed to be an offer he couldn't turn down. But it happened yesterday, when Ohio State announced a promotion from day to "offensive coordinator," who is not to be confused with offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.

From Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch:

As a source close to the situation clarified for The Dispatch, the “coordinator” and “co-coordinator” titles always have been a matter of semantics to Meyer. He is believes in having two coordinators on offense and defense so that there is continuity from one year to the next should one opt to leave. Recent examples were Luke Fickell sharing defensive coordinator duties with Chris Ash and then Greg Schiano, and Tom Herman sharing offensive duties with Ed Warinner.

As our indomitable Dan Hope, whom you should follow on Twitter, said yesterday on the 11W Web Report, Day had a bigger hand in the offense than most people realized last year and was due for an increase in responsibilities anyway.

So I don't think this changes much for the offense. Or I at least need to see results on the field before I start gushing about the offense getting a much needed breeze of new ideas.

This is still Urban Meyer's baby, after all.

 IF THE GLOVE FITS. Ohio State's roster isn't perfect; it'd be nice if Luther Muhammad already matriculated and it had another rotational big. But in the last few years, the roster wasn't perfect either. What's separated this year is the pieces compliment each other.

From Doug Lesmerises of

The roster, said Keita Bates-Diop, that inside-outside scorer, "fits perfectly."

The way the Buckeyes play together is the defining characteristic of the No. 13 team in the nation, one that beat Nebraska 64-59 on Monday night. But playing together isn't as easy if the pieces don't fit together.

In recent years we've seen rosters with too many similar wing players; with two starting point guards who had to play together even though both were ballhandlers, not shooters; with no inside scoring presence so the offense was out of balance.

Maybe Purdue is the only elite team in the Big Ten. Maybe the Buckeyes will get brained by the first high major team they run into in the tournament.

But as Chris Holtmann said, close victories like the one over Nebraska are critical to this team's development. Even if they're not the most talented, enduring that crucible is going to make them a tougher out than a majority of non-Buckeye fans will realize.

 THE HEIR TO HOPALONG? Westerville South's Jaelen Gill is one of the most versatile athletes in OSU's 2018 class, which means he's one of the most versatile athletes in the country. 

Though he has yet to play a snap, he's already drawing comparisons from local media to a Heisman winner from 63 years ago.


The best comparison for Gill may be another of the few local greats, Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, a star running back from Central High School who won the Heisman Trophy in 1955. In addition to his rushing prowess, Cassady was a skilled defensive back, kick returner and passer. Gill is one of the most prized running back prospects in the country, but he possesses those other skills as well, a multifaceted talent. Hopalong also starred for OSU’s baseball team, and pending the all-important approval from Urban Meyer, Gill hopes to spend springtime on the diamond, where last season he excelled for Westerville South as an all-league outfielder and led the team with a .400 batting average.

This comparison rules so much, I would make out with it in front of my girlfriend and rationalize it to myself if she broke up with me. I could have watched Gill highlights for the next three months and not conjured that comparison. It's why sports remain the best. Some people see Reggie Bush. Others a guy nicknamed Hopalong.

But if Gill goes on to star on the gridiron and baseball diamond, we're calling him "Hopalong 2.0" (H20 for short 'cause he runs like water) and that's all there is to that.

He'll start by returning kicks and playing H-Back:

Gill says coach Meyer plans to have him return kicks and play H-back, the hybrid position between running back and wide receiver, recently held by gifted athletes like Curtis Samuel and Jalin Marshall. He’ll join a crowded, talented backfield—experience and speed at H-back in Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill alongside exceptional running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber. But the 6-foot-1-inch, 185-pound Gill is a special talent too, the only Central Ohio player chosen for the upcoming U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He has the rare ability to cut upfield so fluidly, so effortlessly, that defenders are often left swaying in empty space, like Earth’s gravity shifted mid-play.

Here are his highlights, for the uninitiated few still remaining and those looking to delay the start of the work day:

 TIGERS PINCHED. It's a story as old as time. Friends enjoy 1.2 beers together and turn into international jewel thieves capable of elaborate heists. 

Or so they think until they hear the *clink* of handcuffs (not that I know the sobering effect of that sound).


LSUPD arrested students Michael Freetage, Travis Lecompte and Jacob Phillips for simple burglary at Tiger Stadium, according to Media Relations Director Ernie Ballard.

The burglary occurred on Jan. 19 around 3:30 a.m. Freetage was caught inside the stadium with twelve LSU collector's cups, according to the affidavit from East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

The three were identified through camera footage where they were seen on the field, according to the affidavit.

Cups! They really went to the clink and had to tell people they were in there for stealing cups for a team that finished third in its division this year.

"No, man, you don't get it... they were collector's cups!"

 THOSE WMDs. Centipedes eat animals 15 times their size thanks to powerful toxin... Wreck may be America's last slave ship... Nursing home recreates communist East Germany for dementia patients... Lack of affordable housing worries many U.S. mayors

View 106 Comments