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Friday, April 9, 2010
Big Ten Friday mailblog

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

A few folks challenging me today. Bring it.

Brian from Seattle writes: Adam, love the blog. This along with the Big Ten Network helps me feel like I still live in the Midwest. That being said, with all of the reports you had on MSU, not one of them mentioned them moving to a base 3-4 defense. From what I have read, Jones, Gordon, Norman and Gholston will be the 4, with Bullough getting his fair share of playing time as well. How is it that you have all of these stories with these interviews, yet miss out on such an obvious one? The linebackers are the strength to our D and the move to the 3-4 will maximize our talent. Keep up the good(?) work.

Adam Rittenberg: Brian, although Mark Dantonio said Thursday that they're headed toward more 3-4, Michigan State still will use multiple fronts (four-man and three-man). The Spartans have two promising young defensive tackles in Jerel Worthy and Blake Treadwell, and several defensive ends are emerging this spring. Who said Gholston will definitely be the fourth starter at linebacker? He isn't even practicing yet, so let's be patient there. Max Bullough has been impressive, and he certainly looks the part. Will the Spartans be a 3-4 defense in 2010? They're going in that direction, but it won't be an exclusive thing.


Dave from Streamwood, Ill., writes: Wow. Could you possibly show more bias for Iowa?? "And will do so again"? I didn't know you can predict the future, what a fantastic ability! Is it likely Iowa fans will dominate the stadium? Yes, but that's not what you said. How about you report the news and spare us your Big Ten/big school views. No wonder why you got hired at ESPN.

Adam Rittenberg: Dave, first of all, I covered Northern Illinois for three years, and I know how they've grown that football program and the fan base. I'll always be a huge Joe Novak fan, and Jerry Kill was an excellent hire for NIU. That said, I think there's more than enough evidence that Iowa fans will show up in droves for a game in Chicago, especially the season opener. Iowa travels more fans than most Big Ten schools, and Iowa boasts tons and tons of alumni in the Chicago area. The Hawkeyes have a huge presence at road games and bowl games. I don't think it's such a bold prediction to say Iowa will pack Soldier Field for that game.


Sean from Chicago writes: Adam, was wondering if there was any news/buzz about Fitzgerald Trouissant out of Michigan's spring camp. The kid came in highly recruited after an impressive high school career and I know he battled injuries throughout his Freshman year. Was wondering if he has made any headway through the depth at tailback under Rich Rod or if there is any other news on the kid. He went to my high school, and I always wondered why he chose Michigan (other than fan growing up) with all the depth they had coming in with his class and Rich Rod's history for stockpiling the running back position.

Adam Rittenberg: Michigan coaches sound happy with Toussaint, but there's definitely more buzz about Michael Shaw and Michael Cox this spring. The Wolverines also like what they're seeing from burly freshman Stephen Hopkins. Toussaint certainly has opportunities to push Shaw and Cox, but I'd say they will the top two backs coming out of spring. Vincent Smith re-enters the mix this fall, but offensive coordinator Calvin Magee told me he'll need to catch up fast.


Bryce from Dallas writes: If you could help me clarify something Adam, someone said to me that both Purdue and Indiana make more television money as of now than Notre Dame? Is that true or if not true, would it be true with expansion?You can't say that wouldn't be funny that the once mighty Notre Dame make less in TV revenue than its in-state opponents? But in actuality, I imagine some Big 12, ACC and Pac-10 powerhouses may also make less.

Adam Rittenberg: Every Big Ten team makes more from TV revenue ($17-18 million a year) than Notre Dame does from its NBC football contract ($9 million a year). And the Big Ten shares revenue equally among all its teams, so Indiana and Purdue get the same slice as Ohio State and Michigan. How would expansion change this? Well, I would expect the Big Ten would only expand if there was the potential to grow TV revenue even more. Big Ten presidents are only going to share the revenue pie if there's more of it to go around.


Ricky from Placentia, Calif., writes: The word thus far in Spring practice is that Jaamal Berry is the most-explosive tailback for Ohio State, with Saine, Herron, Hall, Martin and Hyde also performing.Do you feel that the coaching staff will play the back that is producing the best or will the staff go towards seniority (meaning Saine and Herron) and overlook performance? The reason I ask, there were times that Jordan Hall looked very good last season, yet he didn't get a lot of carries.

Adam Rittenberg: I'm heading out to Ohio State practice in a few minutes, so I'll have more on the running back situation. But this coaching staff loves its veteran players, and Brandon Saine and Dan Herron certainly have the most experience among the backs. Saine told me today that he's enjoying mentoring the younger guys and singled out Hall and Berry for their play this spring. The coaches like what they saw from Hall last year, but he'll need to really separate himself in practice to take away carries from Saine and Herron. The same holds true for Berry.