Skull Session: Ohio State Becomes #BrandU, Don't Expect Dramatic Increase in Tight End Usage, and Eli Apple Gets a Clean Slate

By D.J. Byrnes on May 22, 2018 at 4:59 am
Branden Bowen sings with the May 22 2018 Skull Session

Folks, it seems Nick Bosa may be good this year. He's definitely on my watch list entering the 2018 season.


Word of the Day: Ineffable.

 THE CUTTING EDGE. Sammy Silverman never meant to be a graphic designer before Urban Meyer made him one of the first such hires in college football

Four years later, Silverman has proved to be much more than a graphics wizard. He is conjuring concepts to keep the local team on the edge of recruiting. His newest brain child is #BrandU that coincidentally started with the failed basketball recruitment of Texas five-star center Myles Turner in 2014.

Welcome to #BrandU.


“Coach Johnson asked what could we do that was different and I told him about what we did for Myles Turner and that we could replicate it for Taron Vincent,” said Silverman. “ We put together a logo and showed him how we could help build his personal brand during his time at Ohio State and how he could leverage that  to add value to his name and make it more memorable.”

With multiple personal brands built and multiple recruiting pitches delivered, Silverman knew it was time to take what he had been doing to the next level. Given the success he had seen with it so far, he knew it could potentially set OSU apart from other programs.

“After I’d been giving these presentations and seeing the overwhelmingly positive results we were getting from the recruits and their families about them, it really made me think about how this could be something that makes us stand out. All big-time football programs nowadays have great facilities, great fanbases, and great stadiums. This was something really unique and really different from what they (players) were used to seeing.”

It seems to be working:

Woody Hayes may not have been able to coach more than three games in 2018. His mantra of "You win with people" will ring true for eternity. Silverman is another chapter in that legendary tome.

 IS THIS THE YEAR? (PROBABLY NOT.) When you cover Ohio State for a couple of years, you learn the offseason has a natural cycle. One mile marker is fans wondering if this is the year the Bucks finally toss the ol' pigskin to the tight end.

It may be. But probably not.


At this point, I’m done proclaiming each upcoming season as the one in which Ohio State uses its tight ends more. I suppose that means I’ll be wrong when it finally does happen, but for now I’m comfortable playing those odds. Furthermore, I especially think there’s reason this season to be skeptical as to how frequently the Buckeyes will use their tight ends as pass-catching targets.

Two-year starter Marcus Baugh is gone, leaving four relatively inexperienced players in the tight ends room. Rashod Berry was the second option behind Baugh in 2017 and has some athleticism, but he’s a converted defensive end. Luke Farrell appears to have taken a big step forward but has caught just 2 passes for 19 yards in his first two seasons. Jake Hausmann, also about to enter his third season, has no catches in his career. The Buckeyes added arguably the best tight end recruit in the country in 2018 by signing Jeremy Ruckert, but he won’t arrive until June.

Not throwing to the tight end won't be a problem as long as the Buckeyes score points. Should they fail to do that, however, it will become a top-three reason for the offense's ineptitude.

Thankfully scoring shouldn't be a problem for this year's team.

 APPLE GRANTED REPRIEVE. Eli Apple suffered from the ominous "sophomore slump" in a 2017 season that saw his personal life leak as tabloid fodder while being suspended for a game and a healthy scratch for four others down the stretch.

Apple surprisingly outlasted his coach and is hoping a new regime will be a recipe for sucess.


"I truly believe in a clean slate," Shurmur said Monday following the Giants' first OTA practice of 2018. "He’s been nothing but professional, he’s been out here competing, he’s been one of the guys that’s been here almost every single day. I haven’t seen anything that somebody might have thought I heard.''

Shortly after Shurmur's comments, Apple addressed the media for the first time. Here are his comments, and takeaways from Monday's press conference:


ELI APPLE: “It's about just putting things behind me, trying to continue to move forward, and go out here and have great energy on the field. I definitely feel it. The coaches have told me. I’m trying to be a better person, better player, and better teammate this year.

I knew the Giants hired a new coach. I did not know they chose Pat Shurmur. As a Browns survivor, I'm sure the Giants' famously rational fanbase will enjoy Shumur showing no hint of human emotion while his team trails by 30 in the third quarter. That man's house could be burning down and he'd look like he was waiting in a Taco Bell drive-thru line.

That said, hopefully Apple can turn it around. He has the talent.

 RIP LARRY CULPEPPER. I am perturbed by feeling sorrow over the termination of a Dr. Pepper pitchman.

Let's hope that trash juice coffeemaker never buys Eleven Warriors. I may need a résumé for the first time in my life.

 ROYAL WEDDING: SLIGHTLY BIGGER THAN CFP FINAL. The Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves this morning because the "Royal" Wedding outdrew the CFP championship.

This abomination wouldn't have occurred had the Buckeyes played. Let George Washington's disappointment be a lesson to the SEC sock puppets on the CFP committee.

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