~*~Marionaire Decree~*~ This is my last Skull Session until March 29. I am absconding to New Orleans.
Familiar faces will return to old roles in my wake. All government names, days of the week, and math must be held to account. Please keep them as honest as you keep me.
Pro Day ICYMI:
- Pro Day recap.
- Dwayne Haskins preparing as if he's the starter.
- Buckeye legend Brady Hoke returned to Columbus.
- Representatives from all 32 NFL teams attended.
- Tate Martell: Special packages will get me on the field without winning the starting job.
- Terrelle Pryor and the New York Jets reportedly agreed to terms.
- Reserve your (or your business’) spot next to the life-size statue of Woody Hayes coming to Newcomerstown!
Word of the Day: Sinecure.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Dwayne Haskins is preparing as if he's the starter, and so am I. For Urban Meyer and Ryan Day, however, that's not smart public policy. It's wiser to breed a culture of competition until forced to put their card on the field against Oregon State.
The Columbus resident with the most interesting perspective on the derby is new co-defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.
Grinch said that from his vantage point all three quarterbacks have had stout practices so far: “They certainly can drive the ball down the field. And we have to make sure we have tight coverage because they can find windows and they can throw guys open, which will be a good thing come fall, not so good (for the defense) in the spring.”
It is up to Day to make the hard evaluation and set the order, sooner or later.
“When we evaluate quarterbacks we are looking at guys who are competitors, guys who are tough, guys who leaders, guys who have great football intelligence, and then also guys who are great decision-makers,” Day said. “You can tell we have different shapes and sizes, but it’s our job as coaches to come up with the right plays to emphasize what they do best.”
Grinch also called Martell a "scary" mobile threat capable of punishing defenses that deploy adequate coverage.
Credit the coaching staff for coordinating the same message. They know players google their names. It wouldn't be spring football without cloak and dagger messaging.
LOOKING FOR A CHANCE. Buckeyes headed for a first-round selection usually headline pro day. And while NFL coaches come to Columbus to cross the T's and dot the I's on Meyer's latest top crop, the platform may offer bigger platforms to players like Erick Smith.
Smith arrived at Ohio State as a four-star safety from the renowned Cleveland Glenville. After flashing early on special teams, he appeared to be the heir apparent to Vonn Bell and Malik Hooker, two players currently cashing NFL checks.
Injuries and a suspension for a second failed weed test derailed those visions. Now, he's hoping a franchise sees enough to take a chance.
“I think I have a chance to get drafted,” Smith said. “It’s just me being realistic. Even, shoot, sixth or seventh, if not be undrafted. If I get on any team, all I need is a chance.”
He had that chance a couple times at Ohio State and never capitalized on it due to situations out of his control and his own actions. But Smith is not worried about that anymore. He’s single-minded on his final chance.
“I work hard for results, but when you don’t get the results you expect by working hard, you still feel some satisfaction because you gave it what you could give it,” Smith said. “And that’s how I would see it. From this point to pro day or the draft, I’m just going to work hard and if it don’t happen, I gave it my all. The next door that closes, another one opens.”
Eleven Warriors reporter LeDan Hope unofficially clocked Smith at a 4.76 in his 40-yard dash. That number won't "wow" franchises, but Smith is right. He'll get a swing at the NFL.
I hope he makes the most of it. I was a big believer from the beginning, and I will be until he retires. (TAKE A FLYER, BROWNIES.)
COLUMBUS SHIFTS INTO YEAST MODE. Columbus passed Cleveland as a city last year. It passed Cleveland as a metro area this year, and Cincinnati's throne is on tilt.
Comparing the cities within their borders, Columbus has long been the bigger city. And last year, the Census Bureau said Franklin County surpassed Cuyahoga County to become the most-populated county in Ohio.
Now, the Columbus metro area, which includes 10 counties within commuting distance of the city, has surpassed that of Cleveland by about 20,000 people. The score: Columbus, 2,078,725 over Cleveland, 2,058,844. The Columbus metro area gained population at a 1.6 percent rate from 2016 to 2017, adding a total of 31,748 people. Cleveland’s metro area shrank during the same time by about half a percentage point, or 1,221 people.
Cincinnati’s metro area, which stretches into northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana, still has about 100,000 more people. We’re No. 2, but gaining steadily.
I love Cleveland. I also love "Over-the-Rhine" and Cincinnati's downtown. But it's foolish to deny Columbus will reign over the state's 3-C cities within a decade.
LIFE COMES AT YOU FAST. Alabama cleared former Volunteer coach Butch Jones for intern duties earlier this week. It's been a thunderous descent for a man who used to drive a $220,000 Mercedes around Tennessee's third largest city.
Just know this... if Eleven Warriors ever pays me a seven-figure severance pay, my honor would never allow me to accept a full-time job at MGoBlog, let alone an internship.
THOSE WMDs. The case died with her... Franklin County Sheriff: Don't believe everything you read online... Bill Cunningham left behind a secret memoir... Five new fossil forests found in Antartica... The mystery house of Clintonville... The long linguistic journey to "Dagnabbit."