Skull Session: Justin Fields' High School Coach Speaks, Michael Thomas Gets Paid, and Tyreke Smith is Cleared to Play

By Kevin Harrish on August 1, 2019 at 4:59 am
Brian Hartline is pointing towards something in today's skull session.

Tonight, there is actual on-field football. The game may not count for anything in the long run, but it will exist. And it will be glorious.


Word of the Day: Prate.

 TALKING JUSTIN FIELDS. The last time Justin Fields played a full football game Matt Dickmann of Harrison High School was the one coaching him.

So while we're all (educatedly) guessing about what Fields is going to look like this season, Dickmann has a pretty solid idea. And also, he randomly happens to be a transplanted Ohioan and a lifelong Buckeye fan. Go figure.

Anyway, Dickmann talked to Ohio State beat legend Tim May – now semi-retired and hopping into the podcasting game with Lettermen Row – about Fields and what he'll bring to the Buckeyes.

The whole interview is worth the listen – if only for a few trademark Tim May chuckles – but here are some highlights for the lazy and the short on time:

  • "You have players that do things well. Well, the thing about Justin is he pretty much does them all well. When it comes to checking the boxes, he just checks all the boxes."
  • "He is going to try to outwork everybody."
  • He said Justin Fields ran a 4.3 laser-timed 40-yard dash at Ohio State in May.
  • They changed their entire offense going into Fields' junior season to RPOs.
  • "The biggest thing with him is how bright he is and the way he picks things up."
  • Dickmann compares Fields' dual-threat game to Kyler Murray.
  • Fields never voiced any frustration to him while he was at Georgia last season, but he could feel that he was probably frustrated. "He didn't come out and say he was frustrated, I think the biggest thing is he just didn't know what the plan was for him. He went up there to compete, and i think he did, I just don't think that – to me – he was going to get the opportunity."
  • Dickmann is from Ohio, grew up an Ohio State fan and even has children currently living in the Hilliard area.
  • "For me, being a Buckeye a fan my whole life, I'm probably more excited than I ever have been. I watch and tape every Ohio State game, and I probably live and die like every Ohio State fan does on the season. For me, it's a little more special. I think the one thing is, I think watching the game I'm going to be a little more on pins and needles knowing he's the quarterback."
  • Justin Fields is very critical of himself and is the sort of guy to want to shoulder the blame for losses, even if they aren't his fault.

I love hearing that Ohio State clocked him at 4.3 in the 40-yard dash, because that means he actually runs about a 4.45, which is still extremely fast for a quarterback of his size.

Then again, Ohio State's times for Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell proved to be off only by a combined six hundredths of a second, so maybe Fields really is that fast.

Either way, I'll take it, especially with that assurance from his coach that he's essentially a football genius and doesn't make mental mistakes.

 $100 MILLION MAN. Michael Thomas has officially reached "I cannot fathom having that much money" territory, and you know what? He's earned every cent.

And judging by how quickly he pumped this banger of a Tweet out there after the news broke, I think he's been ready to count his damn money for quite a while now.

Dude wasn't even a top-1,000 player out of high school, spent a grayshirt season at Fork Union Military Academy, redshirted as a sophomore, and shit-talked his team's entire receiving corps from his couch while a bowl game during said redshirt season.

And now he's the highest-paid receiver of all time.

His career doesn't make any sense at all, and if any one of those things happened to anyone else, it could have derailed a career. But he's come out the other side with $100 million.

Even his practice nemesis can't hate on that.

Really, he got love all around.

And one day, I'll even be able to talk about him without getting an ulcer thinking about how mismanaged he was at Ohio State.

Third team All-Big Ten!

 CLEARED TO PLAY. Hide your quarterbacks, Tyreke Smith is back in action, just in time for fall camp.

We have no idea why he was sidelined in the first place – and you can expect that to be the new norm since Ryan Day has decided not to talk about player injuries – but thanks to Twitter dot com, we knew he had surgery, and now we know he's back.

I know Chase Young is a man-beast and Jonathon Cooper is going to be starting opposite of him this year, but Tyreke Smith is my dark horse to lead the team in sacks this year.

He looked extremely good at the end of last year and he's going to benefit a ton playing opposite of either of those two whenever he comes in.

Years of reading about sports has taught me that I can confidently predict things like that because if I'm wrong, nobody's going to remember. But if (when) I'm right, I get to be totally unruly online.

 LYFTING THE BUCKS. I am absolutely shocked – utterly caught off guard – at news that Ohio State is axing a free safety service for students to ~partner~ with a private third-party, profit-seeking company instead.

That is just not the Ohio State I know!

From Sam Raudins of The Lantern:

Beginning on Aug. 1, Ohio State will offer 10,000 discounted safe night rides per month through the Lyft app with a $5 discount per ride within the designated Columbus campus service area. The partnership aims to increase the number of rides given with shorter wait times, Ohio State spokesman Dan Hedman said.

The Safe Ride program served its purpose in the time that it was functioning, but with the increase in on-campus residents, advances in technology and a limited number of vehicles, Hedman said that the demand exceeded the service capacity. 

He said that in any given month, Safe Ride could offer around 2,000 rides, and Lyft will provide five times that through a medium many students are already familiar with.


With ride costs expected to be around $2 or less per person, the discount for each ride is intended to make Lyft Ride Smart accessible for more students, Hedman said. However, once the 10,000 discounted rides per month is exhausted, rides in the area will return to full price. 

I understand the goal here and it really does sound good to offer "five times as many rides!" but you can see this unraveling already and it hasn't even started. I mean, they're already telling folks to "go by the honor system and to save these rides for when they’re in a really critical situation."

Does "I don't want to walk from Indianola to Morrill Tower" count as a "really critical situation?" Because I promise that's what's going to happen. All 10,000 rides will be used up by the middle of the month, and then people will have no other choice but to pay full price for a Lyft/Uber, or walk.

I foresee most of these discounted rides going to folks who would have/could have paid full price for them anyway, so in the long run, I feel like this just hurts the kids who really need them.

I'm not going to pretend the old system was perfect – there's a reason I never used it in five years – but it was free, and I know enough people who wouldn't have been able to use it if it wasn't.

 GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER. Well, well, well, look who made the trip to Chicago to meet up with his boys.

That's one hell of a group, and in any other circumstance I would say something like "Man, it would be incredible to see them play together one more time," but y'all, that's exactly what they're doing!

Carmen's Crew is taking on last year's TBT runner-up, Eberlein Drive, in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. tonight in Wintrust Arena in Chicago. The game will be broadcast on ESPN and from what I understand, there are plenty of tickets still available.

And uh, probably sign up for this, too:

Get dumped then, Eberlein Drive.

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