Skull Session: Team-First Prince, Smith Moves to Protect Athletes, and Meyer Defines Leadership

By D.J. Byrnes on July 5, 2018 at 4:59 am
Demario McCall stretches for the July 5 2018 Skull Session

That sound you're hearing is Ohio's enemies quaking in their adult diapers about Big Nut and Little Nut rendezvousing on Independence Day.

The new generation calls this BDE. The old school calls it nut juice:

No wonder Chestnut gargled fifty pounds of processed meat in record time. The alternative was disappointing Big Nut, which is a mistake mortal men do not get to make twice.


​Word of the Day: Cavil.

 THE PRINCE THAT WAS TEAM-FIRST. It seems like just yesterday Isaiah Prince suffered a nightmare in Happy Valley. A lot can change in two years. 

Prince seemed destined to move to left tackle after another solid campaign in 2017. With the ascension of Thayer Munford, however, Prince will likely stay on the right in 2018. Though he had his eyes on the blind side, he will do whatever is best for the team.


Studrawa admitted that Prince was eager to be the Buckeyes’ left tackle this season, but he was even more eager to be a part of the best offensive line possible.

Prince’s time at left tackle may have to wait a bit longer than expected, but if it results in the Buckeyes having a more cohesive unit this season, then that is all that really matters to him.

“Oh, he is [eager],” Studrawa said. “Isaiah wants to be the best – that’s the most beautiful thing about him. He learned that from Jamarco and he wants to be the best and he doesn’t care where he’s playing. ‘Coach, I want to be the best. I want to be the best I can possibly be and here’s my weaknesses in the spring. Let’s go attack these and get these done.’ And we did.”

I love everything about Prince. This year should provide the perfect springboard into the NFL and will serve as another warning — much like that time Buffalo's unheralded Khalil Mack shredded Taylor Decker— not to judge a lineman off one bad game.

 SMITH EYES GAMBLING WAVE. The Supreme Court recently granted states the ability to decide the legality of sports gambling. It has yet to come to Ohio and Gene Smith is already moving to safeguard athletes.

Smith and other Big Ten athletic directors recently asked the NCAA to create a national weekly injury report. His efforts won't stop there.


“It concerns me,” Smith said. “It concerns me from the point of view of the athlete — making sure we protect people. My biggest concern is educating, educating, educating, and then putting in firewalls to protect them.” 

He said the most vulnerable players are young players who may be immature and haven’t fully bought into the team’s culture. 

“We know gambling exists now,” Smith said. “We’re not naive. But as it becomes more transparent and prevalent, our kids are going to be more susceptible to people trying to influence them to do things. How do we protect them from making a bad decision?” 

Offer an everyday person $10K to fix a game. If they're going to do it, they'll do it for 10 stacks. Don't ask me how I know—it's true.

Given that match-fixing is rampant in soccer, it's naive to think it doesn't happen in the richest country in the history of the world. One way colleges could curb the threat would be to cut players a slice of the financial pie. Since that likely won't happen, let's hope education is enough to ward off greed, the basest of human instincts.

 MEYER ON LEADERSHIP. Urban Meyer spoke to the Ohio State coaches clinic in April, which is perhaps his most natural setting. Comfortability has a unique way of producing candor, and Meyer spoke on how his definition of leadership evolved over the years.


Meyer shared his definition of leadership – “I’ve had many opportunities to be around some of the best leaders arguably in the world. Our definition of leadership used to be – and this is something we taught our players – is the job of a leader is to set an example and demand all live up to it. That’s how shallow it used to be.

“Obviously, that’s not what it is now. The number one responsibility of a leader is to earn trust, establish clear standards and equip and inspire to meet those standards. The number one part of being a great leader is to earn trust.

“The number two thing is your job. As a leader, you have a very clear job and that is to inspire, motivate and discipline. Notice the bottom part of that says “not negotiate.” That has to be very clear. I’ve seen good coaches – even at our level – make mistakes by negotiating with players.

“This came to me today, the ultimate responsibility of a coach – and this comes to you from a parent who has had three children go through the recruiting process – it is to inspire, motivate and equip the player to maximize him or her in these four characteristics – mental performance, your physical performance, your character growth and then your spiritual growth.

“You must have a systematic approach to all of this.”

Sounds like a leader who learned the power of delegation. That's welcomed information considering Meyer's old habits of micromanaging. Nobody likes a micromanager. Trust people to do the job you hired them to do. Easier to type than execute, though.

 SHOE COBBLING. Suites pay the athletic department bills, and more are on their way in the 2019 season:

Hey, if folks want to pay exorbitant prices for an atmosphere that could be easily replicated in most living rooms—let them.

 BROWNIES ON THE MARCH. Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward is one of the highest-rated rookies on the upcoming Madden '19.

  1. Roquan Smith, MLB, Chicago Bears - 81 OVR
  2. Bradley Chubb, DE, Denver Broncos - 80 OVR
  3. Derwin James, SS, Los Angeles Chargers - 80 OVR
  4. Denzel Ward, CB, Cleveland Browns - 80 OVR
  5. Vita Vea, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 79 OVR

The Almighty Browns should be rated a 90+ overall. As someone who hasn't played as anyone other than the Browns, it's been a long time coming.

 THOSE WMDs. Barcelona dismisses report president paid for player's illegal liver... 16 historically interesting details of the Ohio Statehouse... What you need to know about changes to Ohio licenses... 1930s Shanghai: A dope smuggler's paradise... The incredible Buddha Boy.

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