Skull Session: Ryan Shazier and Vince Williams' Friendship, Botched Eddie George Painting, and Nick Bosa is a Freak

By Kevin Harrish on July 13, 2018 at 4:59 am
Kendall Sheffield

D.J. is still away, but my sources tell me he's still alive and will return to deliver your Saturday Skull Session. In the meantime, you're stuck with me once again.


Word of the Day: Expropriate

 UNLIKELY BROTHERHOOD. Football is a game that thrives on competition, but sometimes that competition fosters longstanding friendships, as was the case with former Buckeye Ryan Shazier and his Steelers teammate Vince Williams.

When Shazier arrived in Pittsburgh, it was assumed he would take Williams' spot in the lineup. Instead, bonded through fierce competition, the two became as close as brothers. And when Shazier went down with a terrifying injury last season, Williams was the first to be by his side.

From Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report:

The Mack linebacker, playing Cover 3, sets his sights on the wide receiver catching the ball over the middle. He closes in and hits the wide receiver's torso with his helmet. The wide receiver bounces off the tackle attempt. The Buck linebacker is there to finish him off.

The Mack linebacker stays on the ground. Trainers rush out. As the medical staff tends to him, it becomes apparent he cannot move his legs. Paul Brown Stadium is hushed. The Buck linebacker takes a knee. They strap the Mack linebacker to a spinal board and carry him to a cart. As the cart drives into the tunnel, the Mack linebacker puts his hands over his eyes.

On the next play, the call comes to the Buck linebacker from the sideline, but he is too dazed to take it in and relay it to the rest of the defenders. He is overcome because there is an affection between him and the Mack linebacker—one that usually has no place on a football field.

This is the story of a friendship. It's an unlikely friendship that has transcended football, has transcended tragic circumstance.

Through the rehab, Williams has never left his side. He's seen Shazier take some of his first steps after the injury, predicted Shazier's draft day announcement of the Steelers' pick, and continues to compete with him – just in the bowling alley instead.

"I'm not going to let your handicap ass beat me," Williams is quoted as saying in the story. "Save those sad stories."

The entire piece is worth the read.

 HAPPY 78TH, EDDIE GEORGE. I'm generally not one to dog on artists, especially when I would struggle to complete a paint-by-numbers with a colored pencil, but for someone allegedly regarded as "one of America's most notable portrait artists," this is an absolute disaster.

The portrait looks like Eddie George, but 25 years in the future after he's finished his second presidential term. Except based on how Eddie looks at age 44, it's honestly difficult to imagine him ever looking as old as he looks in that painting.

The best part is present-day Eddie's face, smirking as if he knows damn well what the Internet is about to say about this.

 BOSA A FREAK, ALSO. So first thing's first, I was wrong.

Yesterday, I told you all about Parris Campbell making Bruce Feldman's annual list of physical freaks. Feldman also wrote that one more Buckeye made the list, and I did some classic internet speculating.

My first guess was Kendall Sheffied, the fastest guy on the roster who Damon Arnette says "looks like an action figure." My next guess was the guy who literally looks like, and is nicknamed The Predator. The third was rated as the best athlete in the 2017 recruiting class.

Turn's out, the answer was actually even more obvious than any of those. The other Feldman Freak is simply the best player in college football. Who would have thought?

From Bruce Feldman of The Athletic ($):

“He’s the best combination of speed and power that I can remember,” Urban Meyer told me this April, as his mind ran through a littany of first-round talent he’s coached both at Ohio State and Florida before he came to Percy Harvin. “Nicky’s close to that.”

Folks inside the program gush about Bosa’s flexibility. Buckeyes veteran defensive line coach Larry Johnson also raves when talking about Bosa’s athleticism. “He has great hips. Can really bend. Great bender,” Johnson told The Athletic. “Joey could really bend; Nick can probably get even lower. He also does a great job with his hands. He can really get to your hands. It’s eye-hands coordination. He can get a guy’s hands like crazy — ‘Wow, how’d you get that hand?!’ ”

Forgive me for not considering Nick Bosa's ability to bend when pondering Ohio State's most freakish athletes. It will not happen again.

 FORMER TIGHT END LIKES TIGHT ENDS. This may shock you, but a former Buckeye tight end thinks quite highly of tight ends in Ohio State's offense, and expects them to play a vital role in the offense going forward – possibly even in the passing game!

From Jake Stoneburner of Lettermen Row:

Baugh is no longer around at Ohio State, but the playbook will largely be the same no matter who is lined up in that spot where I once caught 13 touchdowns during my collegiate career. So the focus will be on some plays and areas where tight ends can thrive, setting the stage for somebody like Luke Farrell or Rashod Berry or maybe potential impact freshman Jeremy Ruckert to rack up some catches and scores this fall.

Even when tight ends don’t have the football in their hands, they are certainly still valued in this system for the physical blocking that is provided to spring the rushing attack. Whether it was me, Jeff Heuerman, Nick Vannett or Baugh, Ohio State doesn’t put tight ends on the field who can’t contribute by opening up some holes for others.

That last line is particularly interesting, because if that's the case, then it would mean Jeremey Ruckert won't be a integral part of the offense as a tight end until he proves himself as a blocker. But I still think there's a chance he's too talented of a receiving threat to keep off the field.

In general, the tight end position is fascinating to me this offseason because I genuinely have no idea how it will take shape. You've got an entire unit full of unproven players with no established veterans. It's going to be fun.

 IT'S REAL NOW. I'll be honest, all throughout the Joe Burrow transfer saga, I never imagined what he would actually look like in another jersey. But today, we get our first look.

It looks extremely wrong, but also, I oddly like it?

If nothing else, Burrow's transfer has given me one more reason to become invested in a game played by college students at noon on a Saturday and has given Nick Saban one more thing to worry about. He's a hero in my book.

 THOSE WMDs. Apple's new MacBook Pro could cost more than $6,500... Video shows woman snatching, bagging birds at U.S. park... Uber continues to work on self-driving car technology... Mexico earthquake leads to discovery of an ancient temple...

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