- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Thanks for waiting patiently for today's Big Ten chat, which took place a little later than normal. Another day of good spring football chatter around the league.
In case you missed out on the fun, here's the full transcript.
Jason from Northville: Adam, you're in East Lansing this week correct? With the exceptions of Worthy, Robinson, and Pickelman departed do you see this defense as good or better than 2011's defense at MSU?
Adam Rittenberg: Brian actually will be in East Lansing, as of tonight. Excited to see what he learns from the Spartans. I'm really excited about the Spartans D. Gholston is a potential national superstar. Bullough and Allen form an excellent 1-2 punch at LB. Adams might be the league's top cover corner. Michigan State is loaded with difference-makers on defense despite losing Worthy, Robinson and Pickelman. And being able to retain coordinator Pat Narduzzi is huge for the Green and White.
Tyler from Austin, Minn.: Hey Adam, Do you see the Huskers as a real title contender? Are we going to see Taylor Martinez air it out more this year? Is Rex going to get more or less carries this year and what are your thoughts about him being a heisman contender?
Adam Rittenberg: I see Nebraska as a Big Ten title contender but not a national title contender. I'd definitely expect more passes from Martinez, particularly during non-league play when Tim Beck can experiment a bit. I also think Rex's workload will go down because of how Abdullah and Green are performing in spring ball. That's not a bad thing for Rex, who was overworked at times last year. I think Rex will need a huge game or two early to really put himself on the Heisman radar. It's a crowded pool right now, and he's not on it (although he deserves to be).
Max from the Wisconsin Cheerleading Squad: Adam, As per your article about the changes in how PSU is going to play D this season, do you think a drastic change is a good idea? The system is pretty tried and true, especially with LJ Sr and Ron VDL still on staff. Don't you think Ted Roof should take the "If it isn't broke don't fix it" approach?
Adam Rittenberg: Good question, Max, and one I thought a lot about while in State College. Although PSU wisely retained Larry Johnson and Ron Vanderlinden as position coaches, you can see that Roof is definitely in charge on the practice field. It'll be important for the defensive backs to get comfortable with the presnap motion, disguising blitzes and coverages and the other elements that go along with a more varied defensive approach. But I don't think things will change too much for the front seven guys, who really serve as Penn State's bread and butter on D.
Joe from New Glarus, Wis.: Whether it's a question in the mailblog, chat, or you guys writing, every time the NC comes up it seems like a different group of teams is mentioned as those likely to dethrone the SEC. Removing OSU and UM, which program(s) has/have the BEST shot at winning it all in the next 5 years? Maybe a ranking system of sorts.
Adam Rittenberg: Joe, I'd go with Wisconsin and then Nebraska. Wisconsin has been right there the past two seasons. It still amazes me how the Badgers managed to lose three games last fall. But the program is inching toward a nationally elite level. Nebraska might not be too far away, either, and the talent level in Lincoln is pretty good. But the Huskers might have to skip a few steps to reach the promised land as they haven't won a league title since 1999.
Austin from Colorado: Who has the best chance for Heisman in the big 10?
Adam Rittenberg: Montee Ball has to be up there as a Heisman finalist from 2011. Denard Robinson is the other name to watch because he's so recognizable nationally. That's a big part of it -- how exciting you are as a player and how recognizable you are nationally. People point out Denard's shortcomings, and there are some. But he's a face that college football fans know about coast to coast. And that matters regarding the Heisman.
Thanks again for your participation, and my apologies to those whose questions weren't answered. Let's do it again next week.