Skull Session: Dwayne Haskins and Parris Campbell Dynamic Duo, Stan Drayton and Tony Alford Akron Speculation, and the Start of Bowl Season

By Kevin Harrish on December 15, 2018 at 4:59 am
Duane Washington is going to lead the Buckeyes today.

I can't guarantee you the Basketbucks game against Bucknell will be anything close to interesting today, but I can tell you that Chris Holtmann is an absolute delight at the podium.

I don't think the guy knows how to be miserable. He's just constantly enjoying everything.

We should all be more like Chris Holtmann.


Word of the Day: Tautology.

 DYNAMIC DUO. Ohio State was blessed with the best passing quarterback in program history at the same time a gifted game-breaker was in his final year of eligibility.

That combination contributed to one of the most electric offenses in Ohio State history, and ESPN took notice, ranking both Dwayne Haskins and Parris Campbell in their postseason top-50 players list.



Key stat: Big Ten-record 47 touchdown passes

Haskins broke the Big Ten single-season touchdown pass record that was set by Drew Brees and was named the conference's quarterback of the year and offensive player of the year. He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy after throwing for 4,580 yards and 47 touchdowns with only eight interceptions.



Key stat: 992 receiving yards and 11 TDs

Campbell was a reliable outlet for quarterback Dwayne Haskins throughout the season, averaging 12.5 yards per reception. The senior had 992 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, which is tied for the most receiving scores on the team. Campbell's most productive game of the season came against rival Michigan, when he caught six passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns in the 62-39 win.

There's a decidedly non-impossible chance that Dwayne Haskins surpasses the 5,000 and 50 touchdown marks this season in the same game Parris Campbell becomes the first Buckeye receiver with a 1,000-yard season since 2002.

That's one hell of a dynamic duo.

 ALFORD TO AKRON? A one-time Ohio State running backs coach could be the next head coach at Akron, it's just a matter of which one.

Football Scoop is tossing out both Stan Drayton and Tony Alford – the former and current Buckeye running backs coach – as guys who could potentially lead the Zips.


Another coach that has drawn interest from Akron, according to sources, is Texas associate head coach/run game coordinator/running backs coach Stan Drayton. Drayton is a Cleveland native who spent 2011-14 as an assistant at Ohio State. Money could be a factor here; Drayton makes $525,000, while Akron paid Bowden only $412,500. However, Drayton’s ultimate goal is to become a head coach, and sometimes in life the heart wants what the heart wants.

In that same vein, another name that makes sense is Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford. An Akron native, Alford has coached running backs at Mount Union, Kent State, Notre Dame and, since Drayton’s departure, at Ohio State for the past four years.

I think the most striking thing about that is that Alford has been at Ohio State for four years, because that's close to an eternity in coaching years, but that Mike Weber commitment controversy feels like yesterday.

I'd like to see either guy get a shot at the gig. I've had very few qualms with Ohio State's running back play under Urban Meyer.

Hey, remember when Meyer didn't use running backs?

 NFL QUARTERBACKS IN BOWL GAMES. You can tell we're running dry on happenings to milk for #content because someone over at The Worldwide Leader ranked every single quarterback starting in a bowl game – folks, there are 40 bowl games, do the math – by their NFL prospects.

From Steve Palazzolo of

Haskins revitalized the Ohio State passing game with an NFL arm and accuracy. He was outstanding from a clean pocket (135.2 passer rating, fourth in the FBS), which is a good sign for NFL performance, though he must improve his work under pressure, where his PFF grade dropped from 91.5 to 60.5 this season.

Haskins is third on the list behind Clemson's Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 and Oregon's Justin Herbert at No. 2. Herbert makes sense, since he's regularly listed above Haskins in draft boards, but I think we should pump the brakes a tad on Lawrence.

Putting a true freshman who's started about 75 percent of a single season ahead of a dude who would be a top-10 pick tomorrow is bold. Lawrence looks solid right now, but folks were also ready to give Tua Tagovailoa the Heisman Trophy in September.

The rest of the list is pretty entertaining as well. Shea Patterson is No. 19, two spots below Clayton Thorson, and Joe Burrow checks in at at 42.

 BOWL GAME PICKS. Folks, we got ourselves some bowl games today. On a normal Saturday, this is where I'd give you my five favorite picks of the day – and you would promptly head to your favorite online sportsbook and play the opposite – but seeing as how there are only five games today, it looks like I'm just going to pick each game against the spread.

And if you haven't joined our Bowl Mania group for a chance to win a $75 Eleven Warriors Dry Goods voucher, hop on it before today's games start.

UL-Lafayette +3.5 against Tulane

I think the Ragin' Cajuns win this one on the field, and this is going to be a fun game. Both offenses are pretty fun and explosive this season, but the Cajuns got to where they are while also playing Appalachian State twice as well as Mississippi State and Alabama. That's a recipe for making your team look worse than it really is on paper. I'm taking the Cajuns, and I'll gladly take three points too.

North Texas +7.5 against Utah State

Again, I like the underdog on the field here. I know, I know – this is the Utah State team that was unrealistically magnificent against the spread all season, but that was back when they had coaches. Matt Wells is out to Texas Tech, and he took both coordinators and six assistants with him. That aside, North Texas is a legitimately good team with a strong defense. The Mean Green absolutely railed Arkansas earlier this year and lost just three games, all by one score. I probably would have taken +7.5 if there was no coaching turmoil, but now I think that pushes them to winning straight up. That said, I'll still take 7.5 points.

Arizona State +6 against Fresno State

This may come as a shock to you based on my last two picks, but I think the underdog is going to win this game! Folks have been fading Herm all season, but not I. I like Fresno State and think it's a good team, but the Sun Devils have played a much, much more difficult schedule and survived it with wins over Michigan State, Utah and USC and narrow losses to Washington, Stanford and Oregon. Even though star receiver N'Keal Harry won't be playing, I think the Fighting Herms get this one done behind their strong defense. Watch for former Buckeye defensive end Darius Slade to make some plays.

Georgia Southern -3 against Eastern Michigan

Finally, I'm taking a favorite to win – and cover. First off, fading the MAC in bowl season is generally a good play. Current MAC teams are just 32-50, and more than half of those wins are from Toledo and Miami, who have a combined 17-7 bowl record. That aside, I think Georgia State is the better, more consistent team, and Eastern Michigan got absolutely dominated by Army's triple option earlier in the season. I think Georgia Southern wins this by more than a touchdown.

Appalachian State -6.5 against Middle Tennessee State

I love Appalachian State this season. They're a complete team, ranked in the top-50 in S&P+ in both defense and offense, but lean a little bit more on their defense. And it's worked – the Mountaineers are 10-2 with one loss coming narrowly to Penn State after they shut down that high-powered offense the entire first half and the other without starting quarterback Zac Thomas. I think Appy State wins this game comfortably by multiple scores.

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