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Monday, November 1, 2010
Big Ten Monday news roundup

By Adam Rittenberg

A few news items for you on the first day of November.

MICHIGAN

Despite some wild rumors in the last 24 hours, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez isn't planning any changes on his defensive staff for the final four games.

The Wolverines have allowed 34 points or more in each of their four Big Ten games and rank 106th nationally in total defense, increasing the heat on both Rodriguez and defensive coordinator Greg Robinson. Rodriguez said Monday that he will spend more time in defensive meetings and take on a more hands-on role with fixing a unit in crisis. The head coach started the process in the second half of Saturday's loss to Penn State, as he got after the defense before a critical second-half series.

It's probably too late in the season to truly shake things up, but if things keep going in this direction, you'd think changes are on the way. There was some good news for the defense Monday as defensive tackle Mike Martin is expected to practice this week after sustaining an ankle injury against Penn State.

NORTHWESTERN

Quarterback Dan Persa is expected to start this week at Penn State after suffering a concussion in Saturday's victory against Indiana.

Coach Pat Fitzgerald said Persa went through post-concussion tests Sunday and showed no symptoms. The junior is expected to be full-go for Wednesday's practice, and barring any unforeseen setbacks, he'll make his ninth straight start against Penn State.

Persa, who attended Monday's news conference in Evanston, said he suffered the concussion after taking a blow to the back of his head on a run. He felt a little woozy at first but was fine after the game. The hardest part for Persa might have been the post-concussion tests.

"There were a bunch of questions," he said. "I don't know if I could answer them without a concussion."

WISCONSIN

The Badgers' injury report is mostly favorable following an open week. Coach Bret Bielema said Monday that center Peter Konz and wide receiver Nick Toon will be ready for Saturday's game at Purdue.

Bielema is optimistic about star tight end Lance Kendricks, who sustained an ankle injury on a kickoff return in the Iowa game.

"If I'm betting on him playing, I'd bet he would be out there," Bielema said. "He hasn't been through a full-speed practice yet, but I was very happy where his injury was at."

Wisconsin still isn't sure about backup running back James White, who suffered a sprained knee against Iowa and will be limited for the start of practice. Bielema is hopeful White will be back to full speed by the end of the week.

Montee Ball filled in nicely for White late in the Iowa game, but White is a difference maker for Wisconsin's offense.