Skull Session: Kerry Coombs Bids Adieu to Buckeye Kingdom, Max Wray on Negative Recruiting, and a Quality Control Origin Story

By D.J. Byrnes on February 27, 2018 at 4:59 am
The G.O.A.T. practices for the February 27 2018 Skull Session

Big, big Buckeye weekend on tap this weekend.

From Jason Priestas of Eleven Warriors:

Dan and Kevin will travel to Indianapolis later this week to cover the NFL Combine and the Big Ten women's basketball tournament, respectively.

Meanwhile, 700 miles away, James and Andrew Lind will be at Madison Square Garden covering the Big Ten men's basketball tournament.

Oh, and we'll have coverage of the Big Ten wrestling tournament in East Lansing, too. Although we won't be on site for that one, Andy will be in Cleveland later in March for the NCAA wrestling championships.

Be sure to follow Young Adam Schefter, Kevin, James, Andrew, and Andy on Twitter to stay on top of things. Oh, and be sure to check back here, too.


Word of the Day: Viceroy.

 COOMBS DRINKS FOR FREE... FOREVER. The Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, which I hope to trick my bosses into smuggling me aboard next year's voyage for the #content, raised $3 million for the fight against cancer.

Such is the charity windfall when a fundraiser like Kerry Coombs steps on board.

Coombs, who currently works for the Tennessee Titans, could've spent his time sunbathing on the deck. And while he undoubtedly got some tan on his Popeye arms, he took the chance to toast Buckeye Kingdom one more time.


"The first thing I want to tell all of you is that if I came on the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer before this opportunity (with the Titans) came along, I don't know if I ever would have left," Coombs said. "The people here this week have been so remarkable. Your generosity. The way that you have treated my wife and my kids and myself. The way you feel about Ohio State, it truly inspires you to want to be a better person. And I will forever be grateful for having been a part of Buckeye Nation, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart."

Coombs inspired me to lead a better life, too. That's why I start every day by drinking six sugar-free Red Bulls in the shower. I consider it part of a well-balanced breakfast now, and my productivity has never been higher.

 NOT ALL RECRUITERS. "Everybody negative recruits" is a common college football cliché that I have even repeated on these very pages.

According to five-star OL signee Max Wray, who, unlike me, got recruited out of high school, disagrees with that notion. Everyone used negative recruiting with him—except Alabama and Ohio State.


The Buckeyes planted that seed and then reaffirmed it by the way they conducted themselves during the recruiting process. Wray, a 4-star tackle from Franklin, Tenn., reopened his recruitment in March 2017 after originally committing to Georgia in March 2016. Ohio State offered him three days after he de-committed, and Wray said he was impressed with the way the Buckeyes made everything about their own program instead of other schools.

“Everyone but Ohio State and Alabama,” Wray told Land of 10 about the schools that used negative recruiting. “Everyone is scared of Nick Saban. Everyone. Everyone says, ‘Alabama does this, but we don’t because we’re better.’ It was Alabama this, Alabama that, and Ohio State was the only school that never said a word about Alabama or any other school.”

It's hilarious thinking about six-figure SEC coaches trying to manipulate teenagers into thinking their program is superior to Alabama's despite the lack of College Football Playoff trophies. 

I do find it hard to believe no Buckeye assistant has ever muttered a negative word about Michigan, but Ohio State has only lost The Game three times since the turn of the millennium. Sometimes that's all the smack talk you need.

Also good to see Ohio State take the high road against Alabama. Yeah, you can pro if you play at 'Bama. But you can do that at Ohio State, too. And 'Bama can't compete with OSU's academic profile or alumni network.

Speaking of pleasure on the eyes, always love to watch the Volunteers bungle the recruitment of an in-state blue chipper:

Which school disappointed you the most during the recruiting process?

Wray: Tennessee. They offered like ninth. It was just disappointing because all my friends were going to Tennessee, and I really wanted to play there and it would have been cool. But they would tell people I was unathletic and wasn’t long enough or tall enough. But then when they offered me they told me they liked how athletic I was and I was thinking, ‘Dude, I know what you say about me.’

Butch Jones, everybody! He got a raw deal at Tennessee. My only hope is Michigan replaces Jim Harbaugh with America's Greatest Middle-Aged Flat Top when Harbaugh falls to 0-4 this fall.

 THE RELENTLESS SHUFFLE. The 2018 full-time coaching staff is set, yet the shuffling of part-time assistants never sleeps. Urban Meyer reportedly added one yesterday, who ironically worked as a Buckeye graduate assistant before departing with Everett Withers.


We are told Texas State co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Parker Fleming will return to the Ohio State staff. Fleming previously worked with the offense and special teams at Ohio State before leaving in 2014 to be the wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator at James Madison.

Flemming's rise has been a long time coming. He was a sophomore in college when he first seriously pondered the profession.

From an in Sept. 2017 entitled, "Assistant coach leading the way for offense."

“I was a sophomore in college when I really thought about coaching,” Fleming said. “I had a coach that was really good, came in and saw things the way I did. Saw what it means to families, to young men, to different people everywhere and he just shared his light and his vision and I really appreciated that. He kind of let me take over a little of that mentality in college.”


“My first job right out of college, I was at Decatur High School. That was my high school. I went back and coached the quarterbacks there,” Fleming said. “I ran the JV team too. It was a lot of fun and good experience too because I got to be up on Friday night, but on Thursdays or Saturdays, depending on the schedule, I got to run my own team. That was a lot of fun and coach gave me a lot of freedom to do my own thing. It was a really good start to what I wanted to do.”

After only a year at the high school level, Fleming was able to move up to college, adding one year at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio before getting his coaching break.

“I caught a good break when I got a graduate assistant position at Ohio State,” Fleming said. “I got a really good opportunity. Being a graduate assistant at Ohio State, the timing was just perfect and I got to work with a bunch of really great guys, like Coach (Zak) Kuhr when he was at Ohio State. That is one of the main reasons we’ve taken this path together.”

From Georgia to Bexley... talk about a culture shock.

Still, easy to see what Meyer likes in this guy. Now let's hope he's a future offensive genius that offers a behind-the-scenes breeze of creativity. 

 BAD NEWS, VOLS. There aren't many recruits I lament losing for more than roughly five seconds. Former Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk is one. (HELLO, CLEVELAND, ANYBODY HOME?)

 Current Tennessee tackle Trey Smith is another.

Unfortunately for Smith, an undisclosed medical issue could end his football career before it could truly take off.


Tennessee star offensive lineman Trey Smith will miss at least a portion of spring practice — and possibly longer — while dealing with a medical issue, a source close to the program told GoVols247 on Saturday night.

Smith, a Freshman All-American last season, is continuing to seek medical evaluation, and any timetable on his potential return would be speculation at this point, according to the source.

Always hate to see that. 

 ALWAYS LOVE TO SEE THAT, THOUGH. Great news, everybody. Two of the biggest lizard people in the reptile club that is the NFL — commissioner Rodger Godell and Cowboys "owner" Jerry Jones — are still feuding, and it's about to get spicy.


With the support of many N.F.L. owners, Commissioner Roger Goodell is prepared to escalate his public feud with Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys and long one of the most influential people in the league, by fining him millions of dollars for his efforts to derail negotiations to renew Goodell’s contract and for his outspoken defense of a star player who was suspended, according to five league officials with direct knowledge of the situation.

The punishment will be issued in the coming weeks by Goodell, who will declare that Jones’s actions were detrimental to the league, which rarely shows such acute signs of acrimony among owners and the commissioner’s office. Goodell has been reluctant to be seen as exacting retribution for the way Jones tried to sabotage his contract talks, but he was urged to bring the penalties by several owners who believed that Jones had crossed an unspoken boundary by threatening his colleagues.

I don't give a damn what AP Style our journalistic mores say. It's hilarious the Times puts the periods in NFL.

Not as hilarious as Goodell and Jones waging a public feud to the detriment of the league, but funny nonetheless. I hope Goodell fines Jones roughly eleventy billion dollars.

 THOSE WMDs. The Waste Management Open in Phoenix is golf's most democratic and obscene event... I sent an innocent man to prison... Good luck avoiding vomit on the sidewalks of downtown Indianapolis... The South Asian man sliding into your DMs hopes of "Fraandship."

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