Skull Session: Mike Weber Excited For More Carries, Examining Ohio State Basketball's Low APR, and D'Angelo Russell Compares Keita Bates-Diop to NBA Star

By D.J. Byrnes on May 24, 2018 at 4:59 am
K.J. Hill tucks the May 24 2018 Skull Session

Cavs in seven.


Word of the Day: Demesne.

 WEBER WANTS THE ROCK. I always figured Mike Weber would be off to the NFL after last season. He showed enough during his time in Columbus to get himself drafted, and I couldn't imagine he would come back to school to split carries with another guy.

But he's back, he's healthy, and he wants the ball.

With J.T. Barrett gone and a less mobile Dwayne Haskins taking over, there should be more carries to go around, even if Weber does have to share them with Dobbins. He knows that, and that's a big reason why he chose to return.


“Yeah. J.T. did a lot of running,” Weber said. “There was a lot of games where he had more carries than both of us combined. But I feel like Coach has a lot more trust into his quarterbacks and we have less of a running quarterback now. We should get the ball a lot more.”

The idea of more carries is what brought Mike Weber back to Ohio State. The allure of a larger role for the Buckeyes is what has been driving him since his decision to return.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for since I got here, to put the team on my back in a game and just be the workhorse. That’s one of my goals. I asked for it, and hopefully I get it this year and I’ll show people what I can do.”

I'll say this now – if it's fourth-and-short next season and I see Haskins alone in the backfield in shotgun, I'm throwing my laptop through the television.

The Buckeyes might have the best running back tandem in the country this season with a true pocket passer at quarterback. If they're not both 1,000-yard rushers by the end of the season something has gone colossally wrong.

 DON'T PANIC. The NCAA released the latest APR scores on Wednesday. I'll give you the good news first: the football team is in great shape, nearing the highest score in program history. The bad news: the basketball team definitely is not.

With a score of 936, the Basketbucks had the lowest multi-year APR score of any program at Ohio State and the lowest score in the Big Ten conference. It's certainly cause for concern, but not necessarily panic just yet.

The Buckeyes are still six points above the 930 mark, where penalties begin, and the future is looking brighter.


This low score now, though, is mostly reflective of the shaky roster situation Chris Holtmann inherited when he took the head coaching job last June.

Eight players have transferred out of the program since the end of the 2015-16 season. That includes the entire 2015 recruiting class of JaQuan Lyle, Austin Grandstaff, Daniel Giddens, A.J. Harris and Mickey Mitchell. David Bell, a member of the 2014 class, transferred last year. Derek Funderburk, a 2016 recruit, was dismissed shortly after Holtmann took over. Braxton Beverly enrolled last summer but then opted to transfer after Thad Matta was fired.


Ohio State wasn't blindsided by this. It was expected, and that the Buckeyes ultimately ended up treading water this year is a good thing. I think there was a small fear that maybe they wouldn't. Holtmann won't be hamstrung by missing out on the NCAA Tournament if his team is good enough to get back there next year, and that's important to keep building off what was accomplished last year.

So it's not great, but it's part of the rebuilding process, and things are headed in the right direction. Ohio State had four players leave the program following last season. Three graduated, and one – Andrew Dakich – will return as a graduate assistant. That will certainly help the number.

 SILK GIVES KBD #TAKES. It's easy to forget, but Keita Bates-Diop and D'Angelo Russell once played together at Ohio State, arriving in Columbus the same year, both as top-30 players in the country. Then, as we know, Silk bolted to the NBA where he's played for the past two seasons.

Given that, if anyone's qualified to make an NBA comparison for KBD, it's the guy who's both played with him and also played against actual NBA All-Stars.

So let's see what he's got:

That's pretty spot on, and it's also the comparison Bates-Diop arrived at himself in October. Let's just hope he doesn't share Kawhi's truancy.

 HOLTMANN EMBRACES CHALLENGE. We all thought the Ohio State basketball team was going to be bad last season, and then it wasn't. This year, we have no idea what to expect, as it will lean heavily on players not yet on campus, but with the way the schedule shakes out, we'll probably find out really quick.

The Buckeyes will face Cincinnati, Creighton, UCLA and a PAC12 opponent – all before Christmas. It's not an easy slate, but Chris Holtmann knows he'll get to see what his team is made of.


"I do like playing a challenging non-conference," he told show host Matt McCoy. "I don’t know that I’ve coached a team that’s this young and inexperienced, so that's going to be a challenge, particularly when you're playing, in the first two weeks of the season, two road contests at two incredible venues, at Cincinnati and at Creighton.

"You're always questioning yourself when you put a schedule together. One, does it give you a chance to have some quality non-conference opponents for your fans and potential non-conference wins. The unique thing with our team this year is that we're so young and we're so new and there are as many unknowns, maybe as any team I’ve ever coached. So how demanding do you want the schedule to be?"

Look, if Holtmann can take a team that was supposed to finish at the bottom of the Big Ten last season and win an NCAA Tournament game, I'm not too concerned with whatever happens this year. He's earned my patience.

 BUCKS GIVE BACK. I always love seeing what football players choose to do with their marginal free time, especially as I day drink on a Wednesday with my biggest plans of the day being a basketball game I'm going to watch on TV.

Austin Mack, Parris Campbell and Jonathon Cooper, meanwhile, visited a local elementary school to provide inspiration and advice to the youths.

To be fair, those children do not want life guidance from a balding 30-year-old blogger with three cats.

 THOSE WMDs. The history of Catholics in Columbus... Blood will tell Part 1... Mongolian reindeer herders fear lost identity... The viral "Odyssey post about Coachella was actually written by a 28-year-old man who catfished his way into the site... A new era of drug kingpins.

View 85 Comments