Skull Session: What Bucks Want in a Safety, Haskins' Demeanor Changes, and Mount Union the Cradle of Coaches

By D.J. Byrnes on June 28, 2018 at 4:59 am
Silver Bullets swarm the June 28 2018 Skull Session

My good idea that will never happen: A college football tournament every four years featuring state teams, with coaches and players bound to the state from which they graduated high school.


​Word of the Day: Four-flusher.

 WHAT THE BUCKEYES WANT IN A SAFETY. Though Ohio State hasn't produced as many NFL safeties as cornerbacks, it still credits the likes of Malik Hooker and Vonn Bell.

Greg Schiano did not recruit either player, yet he knows what he wants in a safety.


“You have to be able to play both man-to-man and be a great zone player,” Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano explained. “The prototype was obviously Malik. He was able to do both of those things and was phenomenal at the zone part, just as good as I’ve been around. So you look for that in guys.”

Hooker was able to cover more ground than the vast majority of safeties in college or professional football. If the Buckeyes can stack their roster with safeties like him, they would be ecstatic on a weekly basis.

And while that is essentially impossible both scientifically and mathematically, that doesn’t stop the OSU coaches from looking for those characteristics.

This is the year of Jordan Fuller. I was surprised last year when he didn't immediately distance himself from Erick Smith, but he solidified his play down the stretch. His breakout season could go a long way in helping recruit other athletes like freshman Josh Proctor to come play the position.

 THE DWAYNE TRAIN MATURITY. As you might remember, Dwayne Haskins strolled into the Big House with the calculated demeanor of a seasoned mafia hitman.

This year, however, he will have to make more than a couple of throws to take his team to the promised land. Those around him say another maturation of an already mature guy is underway in the form of a more chiseled demeanor and a more vocal leadership style.


"He's got a different demeanor," Austin Mack said. "He's had to grow up real quick. Being the quarterback at Ohio State is a big job for him, and you can see him trying to make those improvements, being more vocal. It's cool seeing that growth from him."

"Dwayne is one of the more mature guys that you can ever come across," quarterback trainer Quincy Avery told "I see him being more vocal, but it's not something that hasn't been there. It's just maturity."

"He's super accurate," Avery said. "The thing we've been working on is throwing different types of balls, more touch. He's always been super accurate with a ton of arm strength. Now it's finding out when to use that strength, and when you don't. His mindset and ability to throw is as high as anybody I've seen in college, and I've worked with a lot of guys. His ceiling is as high as it could be."

Trainers are never going to say there is no hope for their clients. Otherwise why continue to pay them?

I'm still loving Avery's mention of Haskins' touch. That's one thing Cardale Jones never mastered in Columbus and still eludes him in the NFL, despite his ability to bust a banker with his right arm. It's a critical skill for a quarterback, and why not every strong-armed yokel can take the reins of an offense.

 PURPLE RAIDER POWER. I respect Mount Union as much as I can for a guy that has never attended one of their games and only watches highlights of their championship contests.

However, there's no denying the Purple Raider dominance, which was surmised earlier this year in a tweet:

The school produces coaches, too. Iowa State's Matt Campbell and Toledo's Jason Candle, with coordinators like Alex Grinch and Wake Forest's Jay Sawvel, all the way down to position coaches like Michigan's Ed Warinner (still doesn't feel right to type) and the Indianapolis Colts' Nick Sirianni.

That lineage traces back to the godfather of Purple Raider football.

From Adam Rittenberg of

The honest answer is, in fact, Larry Kehres. He coached Mount Union from 1986 to 2012 and now serves as the school's athletic director. He won 11 NCAA titles and 23 conference titles, posted 21 undefeated regular seasons, collected eight national coach of the year awards and has the highest win percentage (.929) in college football history. He'll never say it, but his former players turned coaches are unanimous.

None of this happens without Kehres.

"He's the reason," said Washington & Jefferson coach Mike Sirianni, a former Mount Union wide receiver. "He's the reason this all started."

You could get pretty good odds on Alex Grinch succeeding Urban Meyer if gambling were legal in Ohio. If that happens, let's just pray it's not part of a plot by Kehres to topple the Bucks and install the Purple Raiders as Ohio's premiere college football team.

 THINK YOUR JOB IS BAD? At least you don't have to find a way to hype that time 3,000 New Jerseyites watched a Rutgers running back break a 60-yarder against Purdue 

The Scarlet Knights won but only scored 14 points against the vaunted Purdue defense. I figured they would have scored more than that considering one of their players had a rocket on his back.

 MICHIGAN MAN DRAMA. Last week Chris Webber accepted Jim Harbaugh's invite to return to the campus that can't hang any banners affiliated with his former basketball teams and serve as an honorary football captain.

Webber went on The Dan Patrick Show yesterday and expressed a desire to reunite with former Fab Five teammates Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson.

There appears to be some animosity between Rose and Webber, which has to put Michigan coach John Beilein in an awkward position.


Webber said he still talks often with Howard and Jackson but hasn't spoken with Rose, whom he has a "private beef" with and has been "trolled" by, in a long time.

"You can not be cool with one person and still be cool with other guys," Webber said. "The guys are my boys and when you're brothers, you're going to get into it and you'll get back together." 

On Monday's ESPN show "Get Up," Rose said he was thrilled to hear Webber accepted Harbaugh's offer and was going back to Ann Arbor because his disconnect from Michigan "put a ceiling on the acknowledgement of the Fab Five and on (coach) Steve Fisher."

However, Rose added he wasn't surprised by the news and called it a "calculated" move in Webber's bid to help his case for Hall of Fame candidacy. Webber was one of 13 finalists for the induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year, but didn't make the cut.

"When your enemies are airing 20-year-old grievances and trolling each other in public, do not interrupt them."
  - Jim "Sun Tzu" Tressel.

 THOSE WMDs. The Jackie Robinson of rodeo... Farmers in America are killing themselves in staggering numbers... The dark side of the orgasmic meditation company... Man who died at ballpark was installing his beer invention... Pirates of the South Atlantic.

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