Skull Session: Redshirt Rule Should Boom D-Line, the Return of Dante Booker, and Maryland's 12% Chance

By D.J. Byrnes on July 18, 2018 at 4:59 am
Terry McLaurin ducks and doges on the July 18 2018 Skull Session

What my enemies say is true. I will step away from Eleven Warriors on Friday to pursue the salt throne of the 80th Ohio House District. Do not cry for me, Columbus. The King's Hand, Kevin Harrish, will watch over our amber fields of grain through the harvest.

This is not the time or place for politics or purple prose. Let's forge forth to the weekly worker holiday of Friday.


​Word of the Day: Esoteric.

 EVEN MORE DEPTH? Ohio State was going to have an elite defensive line before the NCAA relaxed redshirt-regulations. Larry Johnson can now deploy four-star beasts like Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday in support of guys like Nick Bosa, Chase Young, and Jonathon Cooper.

That's all bad news for opposing defensive coordinators.

From Austin Ward of

The Buckeyes may discover during training camp or within that four-game window that Tyreke Smith is physically ready and too talented to keep on the shelf this season. In which case, for a team that likes to keep snap totals low for the starters in order to keep fresh bodies on the field, the need to play Smith now would outweigh the value of redshirt that might not keep him in the program after three years anyway.

The same goes for another 4-star prospect in Tyler Friday, who showed up on campus with a 6-foot-3, 262-pound frame that may already be up to the grind in the Big Ten trenches. But if he’s not ready, or if Javontae Jean-Baptiste needs more time to develop after initially projecting as a linebacker by the recruiting services, then Ohio State can find that out on the field without risking anything. That’s critical, because the Buckeyes have to manage the future of the roster while simultaneously squeezing all it can out of the limited time it has left with Bosa along with the expectation that Young will be gone after the 2019 season.

If Ohio State can afford it, the ideal scenario probably includes two of those three getting experience but keeping the extra year of eligibility in reserve. 

Condolences to the future human resource consultants at Rutgers and Indiana who will be tasked with blocking the likes of Smith, Friday, and Javontae Jean-Baptiste in the fourth quarter of a Buckeye blowout. That trio will dash many NFL dreams.

 RETURN OF THE BOOK? Dante Booker seemed destined for greatness until he sprained his MCL against Bowling Green in the 2016 bloodbath and Jerome Baker supplanted him.

Baker is now on an NFL roster. Booker is still fighting for rotational minutes in Columbus.

From Tony Gerdeman of

“There was a report a little while ago that was a false report, but right now, Dante Booker is 100 percent in our plans,” Davis said. “He had some bad shoulders and he got them fixed and it’s a great thing, it’s a positive. He’s got some time in the system, so the reps, although they hurt, he’ll be fine when we’re ready to go and we’re excited about Dante.”

As a junior in 2016, Booker won the job at Will, but was lost almost immediately to injury. Last season, he won the job at Sam, but again eventually succumbed to injury.

Now will be his third attempt at winning a job and staying healthy. He has missed reps in both the fall and spring, but being around for five years now, he’s not exactly unsure of his assignments.

Coaches say they'll involve Booker this year, which is exactly what coaches say about players like him during the summer. He'll need to be healthy to earn a crack at the field, and even then I'm not sure it will be enough. It's still great depth to have, regardless.

 TERP UPSET ALERT? Ohio State faces Maryland in College Park after a trip to East Lansing but before hosting Michigan.

Is that trap music!?!?

From Tim Bielik of

Week before the OSU game: Ohio State will be the final home game of the season for Maryland. The Terrapins will be at Indiana in Week 11, and then travel to Penn State after hosting the Buckeyes.

The Terrapins' final two games are the toughest stretch of the schedule. Despite playing in the East, Maryland's tough games are spread out, with a trip to Michigan coming after its bye week. The Terrapins do start the season against Texas, and have cross-over games with Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

This is also Ohio State's last road game before hosting Michigan to end the season.

Chance to beat Ohio State: 12 percent. That's a pretty high percentage for a team that went 4-8 a year ago. But the Maryland team that ended the season was much worse than team that started it and beat Texas in Week 1. DJ Durkin's team went through four quarterbacks due to injuries to his top two. That led to the massive tailspin that derailed a step their season.

It would be at least 12% under normal circumstances, except Urban Meyer dominating his former assistants is one of the safest bets in sports.

The chance of Maryland beating Ohio State is 0%, which makes me thankful. I'd be a lot more worried about that game otherwise—especially if the Buckeyes were coming off a hard-fought victory in East Lansing (is there any other kind?).

 MICHIGAN: NOT GREAT ON THE ROAD. Speaking of Michigan going on the road, Harbaugh will have to reverse recent Wolverine trends if he's going to avoid the ominous hot seat.

Michigan goes 1-2 in those games (sorry 'boutcha, Notre Dame) and drops one at home. So it is written; so it is done.

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