Skull Session: Mickey Marotti Workouts Loom After Months at Home, the 2019 Team Was One of the Best Losers, and 60 Players Remained on Campus

By Kevin Harrish on May 27, 2020 at 4:59 am
The weight room is coming in today's skull session.

Folks, I'm happy to announce that we're a month away from the wedding and she still hasn't called it off, against all odds.

Song of the Day: "Waves" by Kanye West.

Word of the Day: Temerarious.

 COACH MICK LOOMS. With the quarantine eliminating all organized workouts, the players have been left pretty much on their own to stay in football shape for the past two months.

They've had workout plans, though there's been nobody holding their hands to make them stick by it. But if they haven't, Mickey Marotti's gonna find out real quick...

In two weeks, Gant will pull out of his driveway bound for Columbus, almost like leaving home as a freshman all over again. Ohio State has targeted June 8 as the day players can return to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on a voluntary basis. Coaches returned with limited access last Monday.

The palatial football facility will provide players with a safe, familiar, and structured environment to work out. While the atmosphere will be different — temperatures will be taken and players will be given symptom assessments — the state-of-the-art equipment and booming voice of Mickey Marotti will be a welcome sound.

Ten players will be permitted to work out at one time, with the occupied area undergoing a thorough cleaning after the players leave. Then the second group of players will enter. Only 50 players would work out per day.

“I think it'll kill me because it’s an Ohio State workout,” Gant said. “But I don't think it'll kill me as much because I've been doing everything right and doing all my workouts. Trying to replicate an Ohio State workout is tough.”


“Everybody is in some sort of shape, but football shape is different,” Gant said.

A typical day includes a 10 a.m. Zoom football meeting, online school work, eating, and working out. You don’t become an Ohio State football player without a strong internal dedication, so being disciplined to eat correctly and work out hasn’t been an issue for Gant.

A live look at Coach Mick welcoming the players back into the Woody:

He ready.

I feel for those players. I've tried my best to stay in shape with various home workouts, but two months later I get winded checking the mail.

HOWEVER, at the end of all of this, I don't have to face a man paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to scream at my lard ass while I pick up heavy things and put them down, nor will I be participating in activities where armored gladiators attempt to physically harm me while I sprint intermittently for three hours.

I sincerely hope the players have been lifting their dirt jugs and doing their gutter pull ups, cause their post-quarantine activities are significantly more demanding than mine.

 LIKE THEY NEVER LEFT. We've been talking and conjecturing for months about when athletes could safely return to campus, but Gene Smith (and his glorious quarantine beard) let us in on a little secret – about half the football team never even left.

This really isn't a big deal one way or another, cause I'm sure they were plenty safe and well cared for. I was just under the impression we were in the midst of a mass migration back to Columbus, and it seems the migration is actually half the size.

 THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY. As fondly as I remember each of Ohio State's national titles, I'm even more haunted by the ones that should have been.

And throughout Buckeye football history, there are plenty, but two teams cracked ESPN's list of the best teams that failed to win a national title – including one very fresh wound.

7. 1973 Ohio State (10-0-1)

Here's what we remember about the 1973 Buckeyes: the tie. Woody Hayes' squad drew 10-10 with Bo Schembechler's Michigan, and because both teams finished with the same conference record, Big Ten ADs voted on whom to send to the Rose Bowl. Because of some combination of injury (Wolverines QB Dennis Franklin broke his collarbone in the final minutes) and Michigan resentment (a theory forever espoused by Schembechler), they chose the Buckeyes.

Here's what we sometimes forget: This might have been Hayes' best team. Archie Griffin rushed for 1,577 yards, and a defense driven by linebacker Randy Gradishar and end Van DeCree held opponents under six points per game. The Buckeyes pummeled USC 42-21 in the Rose Bowl, too. The tie in Ann Arbor dropped Ohio State from the No. 1 spot in the AP poll, however, and assured the Buckeyes a spot on this list instead.


5. 2019 Ohio State (13-1)

Ryan Day's first Ohio State squad is remembered mostly for its final game, a brilliant, somewhat controversial 29-23 loss to Clemson in the CFP semifinals. Between that and LSU's late-season brilliance, that could lead us to forget how incredible this team was.

During a 13-0 regular season, Ohio State played eight teams that would finish with eight-plus wins, and the Buckeyes averaged a 49-13 outcome. Only two opponents stayed within 24 points, none within single digits. J.K. Dobbins rushed for 2,000 yards; Justin Fields threw 41 touchdown passes (with only three INTs); guard Wyatt Davis was a consensus All-American; and a Buckeyes defense with three 2020 first-round picks was first in the nation in sacks, tackles for loss and passer rating allowed. Day's Ohio State tenure started by fielding maybe the best Ohio State team. The only way to top that is by winning the title.

Look on the bright side – at least the 2015 team wasn't on the list!

 MUTANT. When Zach Harrison taught me that a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end can anchor a 4x100 relay and Moss hapless high school cornerbacks as a receiver, I was pretty damn sure I would never be more impressed by a high school athlete.

I might have been proven wrong already, because J.T. Tuimoloau is a damn lab experiment.

And he's also 100 percent crystal balled to Ohio State, meaning there's a chance we get to see him and Harrison on the same defensive line. RIP in peace, Big Ten.​

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