Skull Session: CJ Stroud Would Come to Compete, Remembering Northwestern's Creative Offense, and Justin Fields' Reaction to Georgia's Loss

By Kevin Harrish on October 16, 2019 at 4:59 am
Kevin Wilson is coaching them up in today's Skull Session.

I know someone ready for Friday...


Word of the Day: Lugubrious.

 COMING TO COMPETE. The Buckeyes are looking to add another quarterback to the 2020 class, and it's looking more and more like CJ Stroud might be that guy.

He hasn't pulled the trigger yet, but if he does, he'll be all Buckeye and ain't at all concerned about having to compete for the starting spot in a few years, even with both Jack Miller and Kyle McCord already committed.

From Stephen Means of

“It doesn’t matter,” Stroud said. “I’ve done my matter where you go, you’re going to have to compete whether they’re in the same class or not.”


Stroud is rated as the nation’s No. 133 overall player and No. 4 pro-style quarterback. His high school coach Mark Verti has compared his playing style to that of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

“He does a little bit of everything well,” Verti told “He’s a very accurate passer, he throws the ball far, he can throw on line. He usually audibles how I would audible. He’s a smart player.”

The two just so happened to share a quarterback trainer in Quincy Avery, who accompanied Stroud on his unofficial visit. The Buckeyes have already taken two quarterbacks who have worked with Avery in Justin Fields and Dwayne Haskins.

“On the field, I play like a Deshaun Watson and Justin Fields as well,” Stroud said. “I definitely look up to both of those guys as an inspiration to me. Off the field, I try to be like a Drew Brees because that dude is crazy. I love his mindset.”


“If I make a decision to go to a school, I’m invested in that school 110 percent,” Stroud said. “The portal is something that’s been developed and is good for certain players in certain situations. But no matter where I go, I’m going to be 110 percent committed and ready to ball out. I have no intent to use the portal unless I truly need to.”

I'm extremely down with an incoming quarterback having player comparisons to Ohio State's current Heisman contender and the guy who put up over 300 yards of total offense and three touchdowns against one of the best Buckeye defenses I've ever seen.

Also, I'm still not exactly sure what Quincy Avery does, but there appears to be an extremely strong positive correlation between his relationship with a high school player and their success at the next level. Even just Deshaun Watson, Dwayne Haskins, and Justin Fields is enough to have me convinced. If he's anointing Stroud, I guess I'm all in then.

I cannot express how glad I am that we have one more season of Fields, as he defends his eventual Heisman Trophy and national title, but I'd be lying if I told you I haven't at least thought about #QBGeddon 2021.

 THROWBACK WEDNESDAY. If you've watched even a minute of Northwestern's vain attempts to orchestrate some semblance of an offense this season, you're going to have a hard time believing this – there was a time not too long ago when the Wildcats had one of the most ingenious offenses in the country.

And it was all thanks to current Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson (and his ability to steal from Rich Rodriguez).

From my good pal Bill Landis of The Athletic ($):

“The offense I ran as a player in the ’80s was the offense we ran in the ’90s,” (Kevin) Wilson said. “It was Earle Bruce, the old fashioned Big Ten I-formation: toss sweep, fullback belly, iso, power, counter, bootleg and power pass. If you ever went to one-back it was on third down, the quarterback was still under center and you basically did three-step quick passes. We go to Miami and it took us a long time to be good there, but we were gonna run the ball, we were not gonna turn the ball over, play good defense and play good in the kicking game. We go to Northwestern. We’re gonna do that same thing. We’re gonna play Big Ten football. We were God awful. We were anemic, and it was bad, but it was still what Coach wanted to do.”


He studied Clemson intently before bringing his findings to (Randy) Walker. (Rich) Rodriguez’ offense was cutting edge, but also vastly different from what Walker was used to. Clemson was running the quarterback a lot, playing with tempo out of the shotgun and spreading teams out with multiple receivers. But, they were running the ball. That was enough for Walker. They met with Rodriguez at a clinic in Chicago that winter, and then visited with him for three days at Clemson during spring practice. Walker and his staff entered their own spring practice that April armed with a radical idea to try Rodriguez’ offense in the Big Ten.


That 2000 Northwestern team went from one of the worst offenses in college football the previous season to averaging 38.6 points per game while ranking No. 8 in the country in rushing (257 yards per game), No. 51 in passing (218 yards per game) and No. 3 in total offense. It finished the season 8-4, including three wins by one possession, and earned a share of the Big Ten title.

"We were God awful. We were anemic, and it was bad, but it was still what Coach wanted to do.”

Shit, that sounds really familiar!

Out of 130 FBS teams, Northwestern's offense currently ranks 128th in points per game (14.4), 125th in yards gained per game (292.8) and dead-ass last in yards per play (3.95). That 1999 offense wasn't good, adjusted for the times, this year's squad makes it look like the basketball on turf.

I'd like to think Patty Fitz will respond to the offensive dumpster fire the same way Kevin Wilson and Randy Walker did, but he won't. I'm sure he'll find a way to blame it on smartphones and social media and roll out the same offense next season.

Anyway, the whole piece is one of my favorite reads in a long time (shoutout to Bill) and if you're a subscriber, it's absolutely worth your time.

It's hilarious that Northwestern helped popularize these ingenious concepts that Ohio State is going to use to shred them with in their home stadium on a Friday night 20 years later while their own offense is as bland and anemic as it's ever been.

It's someone inventing a machine gun, teaching someone else to use it, and then fighting them two decades later using a musket and a pocket knife.

 OH, HE SAW IT. Ohio State's bye week came at an extremely convenient time for a particular former Georgia quarterback to take a peak at how his former team is faring without him.

Totally unrelated aside: Jake Fromm threw three times as many interceptions in that game as Justin Fields has thrown all season.

By the end of this season, I think I might have to write Kirby Smart a personal thank you letter for gifting us a guy who already looks like one of the best quarterbacks in program history in favor of Peach State Andy Dalton.

 NOT THIS SHIT AGAIN. Either the Buckeyes are getting drubbed or some demons are getting exorcised on Friday night, cause Northwestern's breaking out the black uniforms for a blackout crowd in prime time.

I foolishly thought we were going to avoid this bullshit this year after Nebraska punted their chance at a blackout, but I was wrong.

I'm not sure what this says about me, but I'm infinitely more afraid of Northwestern because of the color uniform they're choosing to wear than I am afraid of literally anything about their actual team.

Congrats, Northwestern. You have my attention.

 REAL QUARTERBACKS OF DC. With Dwayne Haskins on the Washington Redskins and Cardale Jones now with the XFL's DC Defenders, it seems DC is the place to be for former Buckeye quarterbacks.

All we're missing is J.T. Barrett on the Washington Valor AFL team and then your boy might be moving to DC to become a full-time former Ohio State quarterbacks beat writer.

Honestly, if all three of them share a house, we could have one hell of a reality show on our hands. The Real Quarterbacks of DC has a nice ring to it.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. Former NASA scientist says they found life on Mars in the 1970s... A Dutch family was found after nine years of "waiting for the end of time" in a basement... Living life in two-year increments... Three women are accused of running elder fight club among dementia patients... Inside the hunt for the man known as "Asia’s El Chapo"... Billy Reilly worked in counterterrorism for the FBI, penetrating radical groups online with false identities – then he disappeared... Malware that spits cash out of ATMs has spread across the world...

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