Skull Session: FNL Returns, Summer Workouts Critical to Success, and Smith Says It's His Time

By D.J. Byrnes on June 22, 2018 at 4:59 am
Ben Victor points to the July 21 2018 Skull Session

We're taking a page out of new Cavaliers point guard Collin Sexton's book when our boss tries to mean mug us for rolling into the office three hours late:

(Yes, unfortunately that's Ohio State commit Luther Muhammad playing the odious boss' role.)


​Word of the Day: Sortition.

 THE BIG LIGHTS RETURN. It's a far cry from the Buckeyes donning the Scarlet and Gray on a fall Saturday, but football returns to the Horseshoe tonight as top prospects around the country flock to Columbus to participate in Friday Night Lights.

As our Andrew Lind detailed last week, four-star Arizona (by way of Akron) running back Darvon Hubbard has a critical shot to earn an offer.

From Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch:

Ohio State’s “Friday Night Lights” skills camp for aspiring college football players at Ohio Stadium has been moved up a month compared with the previous six years because of a new crunch in the July recruiting calendar, but running back Darvon Hubbard said the attraction is the same.

“We’re in the ‘Horseshoe,’ it feels like it’s a Saturday night,” Hubbard said. “So it’s a pretty cool feeling to be in there.”

He plans to show up Friday night for more than the ambience, though. A four-star 2020 prospect who is an Ohio native now living in Scottsdale, Arizona, he already has scholarship offers from Alabama, Arizona and Auburn, and that’s just among the A’s on his list.

Urban Meyer wants his players to perform when the lights shine the brightest. Let's hope Hubbard has what it takes to answer the bell.

Friday Night Lights kicks off at 7 p.m. in Old Stoneface. (Free admission; $5 parking.) Be sure to follow Andrew Lind, Dan Hope, and Kevin Harrish on Twitter up-to-the-minute updates.

As always, Eleven Warriors will have you covered should a prospect (or 12) commit.

 SUMMER SWOLLSTICE. This is the time of year where Buckeye footballers can only produce bad news via injury or DUI arrest. Thankfully, we haven't had to worry about the football team going on a crime spree.

105,000+ people don't stuff the Shoe to watch players workout in the summer. It's still a critical time for a team with championship ambitions. But don't take my word for it.

From Caroline Rice of

“[The summer] is pretty important because you don’t want to lose any edge that you have,” safety Isaiah Pryor said.

The summer season is the time that will set players apart, having the opportunity to develop from spring workouts until fall camp begins in August. Players will come into fall camp ahead of the game if they continue working in the summer.

But if the players are not working as hard as they should over the summer, the coaches will notice.

“In almost all cases, the guys who have the most successful falls, typically you can circle back and say the leap they made from spring football to fall camp often times is a phenomenal predictor for the success of the football team and them as individuals,” secondary coach Alex Grinch said. “If the same guy in practice 15 is the same guy practice 1 of fall camp, then you got issues.”

Understanding the importance of summer is what separates a good player coasting on talent from an elite player. Some won't understand that until their career passes them by.

Young guys like Pryor understanding the importance of summer work is a good sign indeed.

 SMITH BIDING TIME. I missed this update on Devin Smith a couple weeks ago, and I apologize for that. I know Smith is loved in these parts for his heroics during the 2014 championship run, so I figured I'd share his story of recovering from injury and trying to return to form.

From (brackets mine):

"I'm just taking it day by day, just keeping my faith and knowing my time is coming," [Devin Smith] told NJ Advance Media on Tuesday, after the Jets' fourth organized team activities practice. "It has been tough. There are days where I sit back and ask, 'Why is this happening to me?' I try to just look at the positives and see that I'm still able to play this game and I am getting healthy.

"I'm hoping that the injury bug is gone. It has been frustrating. It's given me some time to reflect a little bit. It made me miss the game a lot more. It made me appreciate the game a lot more. I feel like mentally, I'm a lot stronger in that aspect, because of these setbacks." 

Smith isn't buying the notion that he is destined to be yet another Jets second-round bust. 

"I don't let it bother me," he said. "I know what type of work that I'm putting in. I know what I'm trying to get out of this." 

Smith was a late bloomer in Columbus, too. Hopefully he's retained his speed despite injuries, which is something never guaranteed. I'm not sure he has a spot in the NFL without it.

 COACHES CROSSOVER. It's easy to toss the word "family" around, especially in football.

The truth is families are forged through relationships, which are brought about by spending time with one another. Anything else is propaganda.

Urban Meyer gets it. H switched coaching assignments last night during a team dinner:

I wish we had a machine so we could see what it would look like if Greg Schiano coached quarterbacks for a year. Actually, we probably already got a glimpse of what that would look like when "Touchdown Tim" Beck held the reins to the offense.

 NCAA: I'LL DO IT FOR HALF. Keep this in mind the next time you hear Mark Emmert whine about the specter of expanding player compensation.


NCAA President Mark Emmert’s total compensation grew by nearly $500,000 during the 2016 calendar year to more than $2.4 million, according to the association’s new federal tax return.

Emmert’s base salary of $2,078,075 represented a 42% increase over his base salary for 2015, or just over $615,000.

His retirement and other deferred compensation for 2016 fell by $200,000 compared to the amount reported for him in 2015 and each of the prior four years.

Emmert has to be one of the top five most overpaid people in America. And I say that as someone who is at least No. 3.

 THOSE WMDs. From 1988: Down and out with Art Schlichter, football god turned con man... The trouble with Johnny Depp... The mission to build the ultimate burger bot... Aliens of the deep... Former walk-on Mark Titus talks about his experience with depression.

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