Skull Session: Olave, Wilson, Munford and Garrett Earn Accolades, Ohio State's Strength of Schedule Ain't Elite, Holtmann Brings Pros Back to C-Bus

By Chris Lauderback on June 29, 2021 at 4:59 am

You're almost there.

The run of Skull Session side pieces comes to a close today with your's truly at the controls as Kevin's triumphant return lurks in the shadows like Smokey behind the bushes in Friday

 PFF PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN SQUAD BULLISH ON BUCKEYES. It's Watch List SZN and beyond the various individual award lists, the preseason All-American squads are coming in hot. Pro Football Focus joined the fray yesterday with a group featuring four Buckeyes on the first team

Thayer Munford at left tackle, wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, and defensive tackle Haskell Garrett all made the first team grade while Tyreke Smith earned an honorable mention as an edge rusher. 

This in particular seems like a solid endorsement for Olave's inclusion:

Olave has generated a step or more of separation on over 87% of his targets since 2019, the highest rate in the country. Against single coverage over the past two seasons, he has racked up 15 receptions of 15-plus yards in which he had more than a couple of steps of separation, trailing only Alabama's DeVonta Smith for the most in the FBS (19) and was five more than the next-best Power Five receiver. 

Wilson posted the eighth-best separation rate according to PFF while Munford earned a 91.8 grade a season ago, the highest among returning tackles, thanks in part to allowing only three quarterback pressures in 264 pass blocking snaps (none resulting in hits or sacks). Seems good. Meanwhile, Garrett's 88.9 pass rush grade is also No. 1 among returning power five players and was second-best in 2020, trailing only Alabama's Christian Barmore. 

Those four are no-brainers but Smith's inclusion as an honorable mention is an interesting one. Obviously the physical traits are there though the production has yet to match the hype. Who is your surprise player that could earn an honorable mention or better accolade once the dust settles on the 2021 season? I think I'll go with Nicholas Petit-Frere. 

 HOLTMANN ORGANIZES HOMECOMING. While much of the last few weeks on the Ohio State hoops front have centered on whether Duane Washington and/or E.J. Liddell will turn pro, yesterday brought images of Chris Holtmann's program bringing back greats to work with the existing roster. 

There's undeniably a ton of professional talent in that picture for the current guys to learn from. Notably, D'Angelo Russell, Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner, KBD, Jae'Sean Tate, William Buckets and Aaron Craft, among others, were on hand to take part in alumni practice week. 

Yeah, you see Liddell in the pic but you don't see Washington. With Duane at the NBA Combine last Thursday through Sunday, his absence isn't a surprise regardless of his intentions. It's great to see Liddell in Columbus working with the current and former players but be careful reading too much into his participation. Sure, it's fantastic he was there but it doesn't guarantee he's back. 

If I had to bet on it, after Duane performed well at the combine, I'd say Washington's gone and E.J.'s back but to coin a recruiting phrase used all too often, it's 50/50, time will tell. Hell, just two weeks ago, I had DW returning. 

Focusing on dudes we 100% know will be in the fold, sign me up for The Villain helping Malaki Branham refine his craft. 

And Meechie taking notes from DAR ain't bad either. 

 NCAA + NIL = LOL. Yesterday was notable in Ohio as Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order permitting college athletes in the state to profit from their name, image and likeness effective July 1. 

DeWine's order comes after typical political dipshittery turned a bill with singular focus and bipartisan support into something else entirely that would still take 90 days before going into effect. Let's please not debate the amendment added to the original bill and instead clown on the NCAA for its super-helpful recommendation from the Division I council that would adopt an interim policy halting amateurism rules related to NIL. Once the Division I Board of Directors adopts the recommendation tomorrow, these groundbreaking guidelines would go into effect: 

  • College athletes can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities are responsible for determining whether those activities are consistent with state law. 
  • Student-athletes who attend a school in a state without a NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness.
  • College athletes can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.
  • Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.
  • With the NIL interim policy, schools and conferences may choose to adopt their own policies.

Uh, no shit. Thanks so much for your help after at least two years of feigning interest in doing something (while accomplishing nothing) only because states starting draft up their own legislation in response to your ongoing apathy, incompetence and arrogance. Well done. 

 ON SCHEDULE. Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports took a stab at ranking each Big Ten team's strength of schedule and finally, we have a league stat in which Ohio State ranks near the bottom. 

First off, lol at wildly overhyped Scott Frost needing a big season after a 12-20 mark over his first three years in Lincoln with a trio of 5th-place finishes in the elite Big Ten West. Desperate to reach the SIX-WIN BARRIER, Frost will have to do it against the Big Ten's toughest schedule. Buffalo won't be a gimme in game three, a trip to Oklahoma follows, and Nebraska's last three conference games come against Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa, among other problematic league tilts. 

Near the bottom of the stack, Ohio State clocks in at No. 13. 

Remember earlier when I said that Rutgers' SOS is helped out by not having to play Rutgers? Well, it works the opposite way for Ohio State, which does not get to include Ohio State on its schedule. Still, the Buckeyes might have the most attractive non-conference game in the conference (I lean toward Wisconsin-Notre Dame) with Oregon, but Tulsa and Akron won't pose much of a threat. In the conference, the Buckeyes get a pretty favorable draw from the West with Minnesota, Nebraska and Purdue. Also, the road schedule isn't easy, but it's not nearly as tricky as what a lot of other Big Ten teams are facing. Honestly, if not for the Oregon game, this schedule probably would've finished 14th.

Simply being Ohio State is a huge reason the schedule seems so easy. I think Minnesota will be decent (plus that's a roadie) although Nebraska and Purdue are layups from the west. Oregon is the best non-conference matchup in the league (Wisconsin-Notre Dame = nope) and the trip to Bloomington could be a test. 

 NON-PHISH SONG OF THE DAY. Teddy Pendergrass belts out "Turn Off The Lights." Try not to get pregnant.

 PHISH SONG(S) OF THE DAY. Mikes>Piper>Crosseyed>Weekapaug scorcher in Nashville during Summer Tour 2015. The Weekapaug is particularly grimy and otherwise filthy dirty.  

 PEBBLES AND MARBLES. Suburban Decay: The Story of Polaris Amphitheater... Over half of Michigan's current 2022 recruits are three-stars ranked outside 247's top-500... The most and least happy countries in the world... Lllllllike a glove... Gwen Goldman realizes her Yankees bat girl dream 60 years later... Iowa Man has a bit of a rage issue after his McDonald's order is jacked up. 

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