Skull Session: Haskins' One-and-Done Chances, Ward Impresses Browns, and Harbaugh Forsakes Offseason Crown

By D.J. Byrnes on June 19, 2018 at 4:59 am
Parris Campbell stiff-arms the June 19 2018 Skull Session

We're in the thick of the offseason, folks. Not that I'm complaining.


​Word of the Day: Vainglory.

 ONE-AND-DONE? Urban Meyer has put a player into the NFL at every position—even head coach. However, he has yet to see a breakout quarterback in the NFL. (And I don't say that as a slight to Meyer or Cardale Jones. No college consistently produces blue-chip NFL QB talent in this day and age.)

Dwayne Haskins, who already has an arm capable of throwing any pass asked of him, could change that.


The possibility exists that the Dwayne Haskins Era could be a short one, especially if the combination of the redshirt sophomore’s impressive skillsand the Ohio State playbook allow him to put up huge numbers right away as a starter. In all likelihood, Haskins would still receive some feedback that he should return to school for more experience and a second year leading the Buckeyes, and the safe bet is that he will. But how much panic would there be if he left after this season?

Whether it’s through transfer or skipping to the NFL, no program ever wants to lose a talented quarterback. Those guys are simply prized commodities, so it will always sting — and potentially more so for Ohio State after just losing Joe Burrow to LSU after his productive spring camp. 

I'm not worried about the 2019 season if Dwayne Haskins declares. If it transpires, it will be because Haskins owned 2018 and received a first-round NFL grade.

Haskins going in the first round would also eliminate the negative recruiting line of "Meyer can't develop NFL quarterbacks." (For anyone rushing to the comments section to mention Alex Smith, please keep in mind current recruits were five years old when he last played for Meyer at Utah.)

 WARD WORKNG FOR ALMIGHTY BROWNS. Veterans of the Cleveland Browns have seen some shit after winning one game in two seasons, which is a stat I still can't believe is real.

Any first-round draft pick off the street doesn't impress them, as we're only three years removed from starting rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel practicing while high on cocaine.

Thankfully for Browns addicts, Denzel Ward brings a different swagger to the locker room.

From Patrick Maks of (brackets mine):

But what really stood out to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was the rookie cornerback's approach off the field. The fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft, he said, came to work with neither an ego nor sense of entitlement. 

“Both he and [2015 No. 1 overall pick defensive end] Myles [Garrett] — I’ll have to say this, I want to be honest with this – have fit into the locker room faster than most rookies that I’ve had the chance to draft,” Williams said Thursday as Cleveland finished offseason workouts. “I don’t move them up the depth chart without the understanding of how they're fitting in with the other veterans that play on the field.”

Ward — much like Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 who quickly gained the respect of his older teammates — had little difficulty earning similar status. Part of that’s his ability in between the lines and part is how he handles himself in the locker room.

Ward embodies what NFL teams get when they have the sense to draft a Buckeye. It's a mentality embedded in players as soon as they step foot on campus. Survivors of the fire are conditioned to handle NFL life on and off the field.

 HARBS TEMPERS ANTICS. It seems like just yesterday Jim Harbaugh displayed his dad body at a recruiting camp in Alabama and slept with a teenager in a cheap effort to gin hype around the moribund product.

To his credit, the tactics worked. Unfortunately (for him) in three years he has gone 1-5 against Ohio State. Cheap headlines no longer pay the bills in Ann Arbor, and Harbaugh realizes it.

From David Briggs of The Toledo Blade (brackets mine):

Anyone remember the last viral Harbaugh tweet or moment? [...]

The style-over-substance criticism of Harbaugh can be overblown. He is good for college football, and on the whole, good for Michigan. But in this put-up-or-shut-up year, the $7-million-per-year man has made a well-advised retreat from the spotlight, allowing his actions — not distractions — to speak for him.

Harbaugh took stock, then measures this offseason. He canned the celebrity-studded Signing of the Stars showcase. He recruited a difference-making passer (Shea Patterson). He blew up his offensive staff. He hired a new strength coach. He stopped the petty tweets. More than ever, he appears to appreciate the stakes and, yes, the urgency to put up and win the big one.

I said Jim Harbaugh would be the John Cooper of Michigan. That has not come to fruition, as Cooper could at least recruit rosters with elite talent. Going 11-0 before getting steamrolled by Ohio State in Columbus would his best season in Ann Arbor by far.

 KIFFIN BETS ON ANOTHER COACH'S SON. Only one man was lucky enough to spend 25 years learning the schematic advantages of Charlie Weis' offense. That man also happens to be his son, who now works as Lane Kiffin's offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic.


Kiffin sees himself in Weis Jr., with their similar backgrounds, preternaturally gifted minds and love for offense making it easy to mesh. Although hiring a 25-year-old to call plays at Florida Atlantic seems unconventional to outsiders, Kiffin sees nothing out of the ordinary.

"Age is irrelevant. Experience is relevant," Kiffin said. "I can be 50 years old, and if I've only coached for three years, then I've only coached for three years. He was this child coaching prodigy. When everyone else was playing in college, he was coaching. He's coached with Will Muschamp at Florida, at Kansas with his dad, he's coached at Alabama with Nick Saban, and he's coached in Atlanta, and he's coached here. There's a lot of 40-year-olds that will never be able to say that.

"When you sit in his meetings, if you closed your eyes and just listened -- the way he commands a room, the way he commands the players, the other coaches way older than him -- you'd never guess he was 25."

Fair point to Kiffin about the difference between experience and age. I'll withhold judgement until I see the Owls play ball this fall.

 THOSE WMDs. Death of a pig... How authorities tracked down the man they say attacked Akron websites... Two stars will merge in 2022 and explode into red fury... A basketball player-translator's journey to the pros...  Why are so many Florida honeybees dying?

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