A few Big Ten personnel notes for you following the league's final coaches' teleconference of the season:
Dwayne Beckford's punishment for being ejected from last week's Purdue-Iowa game will be handled by Purdue rather than the Big Ten. Beckford, a junior linebacker who leads the team in tackles with 90, allegedly threw a punch in a skirmish late in Purdue's 31-21 loss to Iowa and was ejected. Boilers coach Danny Hope said Tuesday that the team would announce Beckford's punishment before Saturday's regular-season finale against Indiana. Beckford will miss some playing time, Hope said, but it could be a partial game rather than the whole contest. "We're going to be able to handle that in house," Hope said. Now I'll admit I didn't see the alleged punch, but what makes Beckford's situation different from William Gholston's against Michigan? The Big Ten suspended Gholston, a Michigan State sophomore defensive end, for punching Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan. The league cited a specific bylaw that prohibits "striking or attempting to strike or otherwise physically abusing an official, opposing coach, spectator or athlete." Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown also was suspended one game by the team for throwing a punch. Last I checked, a punch is a punch. Perhaps the Big Ten has been assured Purdue will suspend Beckford for the entire game, but a partial-game suspension handed down by the team could make the league look hypocritical.
Marcus Coker has been Iowa's ball-carrying bell cow this season, leading the Big Ten with 262 carries. Iowa will once again lean on Coker against Nebraska on Friday as the team's running back depth has taken some hits. Mika'il McCall has been suspended for the Nebraska game for an unspecified violation of team rules, coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday. McCall saw his first action since the season opener Saturday against Purdue. The promising freshman had been sidelined with an ankle injury and had been viewed as a medical hardship candidate. But his participation in the Purdue game prevents him from earning a medical hardship. Another reserve running back, Jordan Canzeri, will once again be out with a hamstring injury. So Friday will be The Coker Show once again for Iowa.
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said there's an "outside chance" starting center Peter Konz could return for Saturday's showdown against Penn State. Konz suffered a dislocated left ankle Nov. 12 against Minnesota and was ruled out for 2-4 weeks. But the standout junior, who Bielema calls "a genetic freak," is recovering quickly from the injury, as he has with other ailments in the past. If Konz can't go against the Nittany Lions, Travis Frederick or Ryan Groy will handle the duties at center. Groy started last week against Illinois, but struggled and was replaced by Fredrick.