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Monday Big Ten chat wrap

3/5/2012

We may be in the midst of March Madness, but there's still plenty of football to talk about. Proof: I just did so for an hour with you guys on my Monday Big Ten chat.

Maybe you were too busy studying your bracketology to notice. If so, here's the full transcript. Along with some choice highlights:

Jack (State College): With 3 strong commitments this past week for PSU and the hopes of one more big one this Friday, What are your thoughts of Coach O'Briens efforts thus far and where do you see PSU's recruiting class stacking up with the likes of Michigan and OSU this year? Obviously winning on the field is the only thing that truly matters, but while games aren't being played you can't do much better than this! Go Lions!

Brian Bennett: Just the fact that people are excited about PSU recruiting is an excellent sign for the program. Let's be honest: there was some concern about how the Sandusky scandal would affect recruiting. But with those three commitments and the possible addition of Breneman on Friday, that's one heck of a start for O'Brien and his staff. It probably doesn't hurt to have a head coach who's more actively involved in recruiting.

Brett (Durham, NC): What incoming freshmen will contribute to Michigan this season right away? Thanks.

Brian Bennett: The guy all our recruiting experts liked to play right away is LB Joe Bolden. I think you could definitely see some freshmen in the OL two-deep, especially Kalis. And then there are some other areas of need where freshmen like DL Ondre Pipkins, TE Devin Funchess and CB Terry Richardson could at least contribute.

Zach (Lincoln): What are your thoughts on Nebraska's new DB coach Terry Joseph? He has worked with BO before so he won't have culture shock with BO?s passion for the game and he seems to have great recruiting tangibles (SEC and New Orleans ties as well as being Tennessee?s recruiting coordinator). He also did a good job scraping together a hurt secondary last year putting up pretty decent numbers along the way.

Brian Bennett: I didn't think Tennessee's secondary was anything special last year, but as you said he had some issues to deal with. His recruiting expertise is intriguing, especially when it comes to working down south. That could be a big help. Pelini knows how to coach DBs as well as anybody, so if he trusts Joseph then we should as well.

Ted (Charlottesville, VA): What needs to happen for Purdue to win the Leaders division?

Brian Bennett: Purdue is an intriguing darkhorse pick in a division full of transition. The Boilers need to find a real identity on both sides of the ball and overall become more disciplined. They've been plagued by bad penalties and turnovers. And they need to make Ross-Ade a tough place for opponents to play, as Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan come into W. Lafayette this season

FFX Lion (DC): Much has been said about how weak the Leaders Division is compared to Legends. Do you agree? And which Leaders team do you think will do best in cross divisional games?

Brian Bennett: There's just far more transition. Penn State, Ohio State and Illinois all have new head coaches, while Wisconsin lost a bunch of its staff and has major questions at QB. All the head coaches return in the Legends. The Leaders teams will still win their share of cross-division games, especially since some of the bigger ones (Wisconsin-Michigan State, Ohio State vs. Nebraska and Michigan) will be on Leaders turf.