Skull Session: The Grinch Phones Home, G.O.A.T. Searches for Xanadu, and Coombs Ecstatic to Join Titans

By D.J. Byrnes on February 9, 2018 at 4:59 am
Isaiah Prince locks up the February 9th 2018 Skull Session.

We begin this Friday, always a blessed day for workers worldwide, with a Super Bowl sermon from Deacon Jenkins.

Oh hell yeah, Deacon! I want to be a world champ. Only reason I got out of bed today.


Word of the Day: Chatoyant.

 OHIO MAN COMES HOME. Some people grow up in dying steel towns one hour north of Columbus, move to the East Coast, and tell their transplant friends from Iowa that they grew up in Columbus.

That's all some need. No matter what tribulations life brings, at least they will always be better than their old friends who stayed home via Facebook.

Other Ohioans realize they goofed in leaving what Americans objectively agree to be the greatest state in the union. Those lucky few pawn their property to the highest bidder and move home.

Alex Grinch, formerly of Washington State, is the latest Ohio Man to return back to the chosen land. His Buckeye roots mattered to Urban Meyer.


"I checked their scores all the time, I checked their statistics, I've been watching film on him," Meyer said. "The minute we offered him the job, he had a handful of job offers right on top of it and obviously, he picked the right one."


"I need high-energy guys in our program," Meyer said. "When you start losing guys like (Cincinnati coach) Luke Fickell and Kerry Coombs, who are energy, energy people, great recruiters, great people, they get their units to perform. He fit that mold."

Meyer added that the Ohio connection for Grinch mattered to him. Grinch is a Grove City native and played his college football at Mount Union.

Every Ohioan nodded after that last paragraph. "That makes sense," every one of us said. "Ohio connections matter."

And they do, as Grinch undoubtedly could've made more money than the $800,000 he'll make this year. No other school is as close to Grove City.

(For those that have never been to Grove City, imagine if Applebee's designed a suburb. It's a majestic place full of magical creatures.)

 FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD, G.O.A.T. Demario McCall is the greatest Buckeye footballer in history. This much is undisputed.

Yet, contrary to popular belief, McCall is still human. Not of an overpowering stature, he needs his health leave a mark on the game.

He also needs a defined role.

From Colin Hass-Hill of The Lantern:

McCall said the coaching staff caught him off guard a few weeks into the season when he was told he would move away from running back to become a full-time slot receiver. That shift required a mindset adjustment because, as McCall said, “Once a tailback, always a tailback.”

“I still had to work on myself becoming a receiver and not a tailback because I had the mindset of ‘I’m a tailback, but I’m going to help the receivers.’ That’s one thing that I had to change,” McCall said after the Cotton Bowl. “Now that I know that I’m a receiver, I had to put more work into jugs, route-running, top ends, just things like that.”

McCall will never be an overpowering blocker, which limits his opportunities as a receiver. He probably won't take snaps from J.K. Dobbins or Mike Weber, either. Parris Campbell will be looking to improve his NFL stock, too.

My summer prognosis for the G.O.A.T. is simple. Stay healthy and hone your receiving skills. His simplest path to playing time may be in the return game for now. And that's fine, because if he shining on special teams bodes well for future playing time.

None of that, however, comes without his health.

 SAY IT AIN'T SO. Urban Meyer said Wednesday that Kerry Coombs leaving "took his breath away," and that he was "shocked" he took the offer, which surmised my reaction.

You can't help but be happy for Coombs, who could win a presidential election in a landslide unseen since Warren G. Harding.

Coombs is not changing his ways, either.


“I feel like I am one of the luckiest men to ever walk the face of the earth,” Coombs said on Wednesday. “I have a wonderful family, I have a beautiful wife, and I coached high school football for 24 years, and now I am sitting here coaching in the NFL.

“So when I get up out of bed in the morning, I am going to tell you – my feet aren’t hitting the ground and they are not going to. I am going to repay the Titans every day with my efforts. I will go as hard as I can and follow the lead of the head coach.”


As he starts in the NFL, Coombs has no plans to change his approach with older, more mature players. On Wednesday, he stopped himself for a second and smiled when he called his new pupils “kids.” He knows they’re men now, many of them fathers.

“I love what I do, and I am passionate about it,” Coombs said. “I enjoy every minute of every day, and I don’t expect that to change. Guys have asked me: In the NFL are you going to coach differently? I don’t intend to coach a bit differently. I have learned that’s me, that’s who I am. And I believe that is what these players want and I think that is what they deserve.”

“So when I get up out of bed in the morning, I am going to tell you – my feet aren’t hitting the ground and they are not going to." Of course Coombs can casually confess to possessing the powers of levitation. That's just how the man rolls floats.

 MAYBE? It's probable Ohio State will one day fire Urban Meyer. I know it sounds ludicrous... but so did the notion of putting Jim Tressel out to pasture and that's how it has gone since the days of Woody Hayes. My diseased Irish brain forces me to prepare for the worst.

Either way, the Buckeyes will one day need to hire a replacement for Meyer... likely around 2258. Could that replacement be Greg Schiano?


This is all speculation, of course, but it makes sense. Meyer, at his signing day press conference on Wednesday, said that the former Rutgers coach has turned down "a dozen" opportunities to leave Columbus and take another job in college football and the NFL. 

He also heaped praise on his defensive coordinator, making it clear that his value to the Big Ten powerhouse goes far beyond that official role. Meyer almost sounded like his agent. 

"He's essential to our program right now," Meyer said. "If he is not my best recruiter, he's certainly right there near the top. He manages so much for me off the field as well as being one of the top defensive coordinators in America. And he's a relationship person that -- he's not one of those coaches that knows his position or that side of the ball and that's it, he knows every one. Because he's been a head coach before."

I wouldn't bet on Schiano. He'll be at his ending place by the time Meyer retires/gets fired. I used to fret Meyer would leave after this year, but with a two-year extension imminent, he's clearly not stressed about life in Columbus.

Still, who will replace him is one of my favorite off-season thought experiments. I thought it'd be Vrabel, but he won't leave if he's successful in the NFL and Ohio State wouldn't hire him if he flamed out.

Luke Fickell would be an obvious choice if (and only if) he slays it at Cincinnati. By the way, he just outrecruited Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, Rutgers, and Northwestern. 

If I had to place a wager, which would be illegal in 49 of 50 states, it would be on Iowa State's Matt Campbell with Alex Grinch being a dark horse to watch now, too.

 GET DUMPED THEN, MICHIGAN. Met a Friend of the Session (code name: Hilliard) at Hinder's Sports Bar & Grill in Hollywood Tipp City, Ohio. Great food and cabernet, as always. 

Hilliard picked up the tab, which I appreciated as it made me feel like a celebrity. My new best friend also did my job by passing this article along, featuring an analysis of what would happen if Ohio and Michigan went to war in 2018.


Winner: Depends on how long the war goes.

Ohio’s vastly superior Air Force would overpower Michigan in a heartbeat, but that’s about all they’ve got going on. Michigan has the means of production and self-sustainability to counter Ohio’s lack of ground and naval capabilities if the war drags on.

*drunk Eagles fan voice* Listen! Michigan popped off in 1836 before walking back from the edge like a drunk bro faded off six Miller Lights trying to hit the eject button on a confrontation he started with a bouncer that now has a felonious glint in his eye.

There would be no sustained campaign. An invasion would be repelled and the Block "O" flag would fly over Detroit City Hall within a fortnight thanks to our infantry's superior air support.

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