Skull Session: Gene Smith Hasn't Heard From Pac-12, Mookie Cooper Knew He Couldn't Wait to Play, and Seth Towns Isn't Fully Healthy

By Kevin Harrish on January 25, 2021 at 5:10 am
Two fast people in today's skull session.

The bad news is, it's Monday. But the good news is, you're still alive!

Word of the Day: Repute.

 “PURE SPECULATION.” Gene Smith was one of the first names mentioned by the media to potentially replace Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott when his departure was announced last week, but at least so far, it seems there are no real legs to that rumor.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said on Friday that news reports mentioning him as a possible leading candidate to become the Pac-12’s next commissioner were "pure speculation."

“Honored to be mentioned,” Smith wrote in a text message to The Dispatch, “but I have not been contacted by anyone.”

Personally, I would like Gene Smith to die as Ohio State's athletic director – thought I'd settle for having him until retirement.

I know there are still people bitter that he didn't self-impose a bowl ban in 2011, thus costing the 2012 team a chance at a national title as a butterfly effect. But if you really break it down, the only bad thing he's done in over a decade and a half is not have the foresight to know the NCAA would slap Ohio State with an unmerited bowl ban. That means he's had a damn good run.

Under Gene Smith, Ohio State football has reached its golden age after two perfect head coaching hires while the rest of the athletic program flourishes in both breadth and success like no other school in the country. The only athletic program in the nation with more consistent success across all sports is Stanford, and they just had to cut 11 sports.

Gene Smith is the best athletic director in the country. Urban Meyer wasn't lying to you all those times he said it.

 “IT'S OHIO STATE.” Mookie Cooper sure isn't the first highly-touted player to transfer out of Ohio State without ever playing a snap, and realistically, he won't be the last. But by all accounts, it seems to be one of the most drama-free departures I've seen in a while.

Based on how his former coach, Arnold Britt, explains his situation, it seems everyone involved understood the roster situation with no ill-feelings, but Mookie just couldn't wait around.

The Buckeyes would eventually kick off a shortened season and reach the College Football Playoff championship game, but Cooper didn’t crack a loaded rotation at receiver. Late in the year, Cooper realized his path to playing time might take longer than he expected, Britt said, especially with how the Buckeyes only played a small core of wideouts. In OSU’s eight games this past season, only three receivers played more than 300 snaps — and all three would return in 2021, including fellow St. Louis native Jameson Williams.

“I told him, ’It’s Ohio State. Not to knock any other schools, but they had a hell of a recruiting class,’” Britt said. “He could wait until his junior year because none of those guys in the Ohio State (receiver) room deserved to lose a starting spot.”

If Cooper stayed, Britt was concerned Ohio State might ask him to gain weight and move to running back. Otherwise, playing time could be sparse.

“And he hasn’t touched the field in two and a half years,” Britt said. “That’s not gonna sit well.”

Hey, I totally get it. If there's anyone on Earth who shouldn't want to wait two years to play, it's the guy who already hasn't played football in two years.

Godspeed, Mookie. Pull off some upsets for us down there, cool?

 BEST DAMN AUCTION IN THE LAND. I am delighted to inform you that Sloopy Auctions – which I have dubbed The Best Damn Auction in the Land – is back once again with one of the most impressive lineups of one-of-a-kind pieces of Buckeye history that you can have the pleasure of owning.

The winter auction includes (but is certainly not limited to):

  • A football signed by  Les Horvath, Vic Janowicz, Howard Cassady, and Archie Griffin.
  • A few vintage Ohio State vs. Michigan ticket stubs.
  • Some vintage game programs
  • A few pairs of Gold Pants and championship rings.
  • A game-worn helmet.
  • Some signed memorabilia.

The auction's in its final week and ends on Jan. 30, so if there's something you've got your eye on, now's the time to pull the trigger.

Personally, I think the original Across the Field sheet music is damn close to the coolest thing I've ever seen and I might just have to try my hand at snagging that one – with my lovely wife's blessing, of course.

 “HEALTHY HEALTHY.” Seth Towns has reached double figures in four games this season, including this weekend's win over Wisconsin. But he knows he's still nowhere near his potential.

Remember, he got cleared to return a month ago and hadn't played competitive basketball in over 1,000 days before that. The fact that he's already scoring in double figures is nuts. I can't wait to see what he looks like in his final form.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Super Rad!" by The Aquabats!

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. A confused and jealous wife stabs her husband after seeing her younger self in old photos... On finding my sister's remains... Walking is the superior form of exercise... A lawyer is suspended after posting advice on how to make murder look like self-defense... Remembering the night two atomic bombs fell—on North Carolina... The woman who read Hank Aaron's hate mail... Financial incentives to recycle spent electric vehicle batteries are eroding, which could spell environmental disaster...

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