Sunday, August 10, 2008
Big Ten Sunday: Madison is hopping
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
MADISON, Wis. -- Less than three weeks remain until the opening games in the Big Ten. Exciting times.
Not surprisingly, things were hoppin' around here last night. There are about 1,000 weddings going on in town, and just as many pub crawls. Sights seen: several guys wearing "I [heart] beer shirts," one with a "my party shirt" shirt, one guy with a Viking hat complete with the horns, an Aaron Rodgers jersey and no Brett Favre jerseys. There was a concert down at Memorial Union Terrace on Saturday afternoon, and when one of the performers announced he was from Michigan, he got booed. Love it. I was also tempted to buy a "Jump Around" T-shirt from the Wisconsin bookstore, a tribute to the pre-fourth-quarter tradition at Camp Randall Stadium.
Wisconsin media day begins at 2:30 p.m. with coach Bret Bielema, followed by assistant coaches and players from 3-4 p.m. I'll check back afterward.
Onto the links:
- A full report on Camp Rantoul from the Champaign News-Gazette's Bob Asmussen. Illinois offensive lineman Eric Block is a versatile asset for the team, while linebacker Martez Wilson responds to my Big Ten linebacker rankings.
- Illinois also lost defensive tackle Sirod Williams, a projected starter, to a knee injury.
- Missed this one from a few days ago. Iowa's new wide receivers coach is already a hit with the players, even though he came from Michigan, Susan Harman writes in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
- Forget about the quarterback murkiness at Indiana. With James Hardy gone, the Hoosiers need a top-line wide receiver, Terry Hutchens writes in The Indianapolis Star. Ray Fisher and two-sport star Andrew Means are the top candidates.
- Carlos Brown took snaps at quarterback during Michigan's first preseason practice, and he continues to do so. But the former high school QB makes it clear: he's a running back, Mark Snyder writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- Rich Rodriguez's spread offense is already giving Charlie Weis headaches at Notre Dame, Eric Lacy writes in The Detroit News.
- Michigan State's Ryan Allison finally has found his place at linebacker, a position that allows him to let out his "crazy side," Shannon Shelton writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- After a standout freshman season, Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones is emerging as a team leader, Joe Rexrode writes in the Lansing State Journal.
- Northwestern has lost starting superback Drake Dunsmore for the season with a torn ACL. Dunsmore, a tight end-fullback hybrid, would have been a big help in the downfield passing game, but at least he'll be able to redshirt after playing last fall as a true freshman. The good news for the Wildcats is starting running back Tyrell Sutton returned to practice Saturday.
- Beanie Wells might be bluffing, but he says Ohio State's offense won't look much different this year, even with that Pryor guy in the mix, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- Then again, Buckeyes quarterback Todd Boeckman admitted the team might add the pistol offense -- popularized by Nevada coach Chris Ault -- into the scheme this fall, Doug Lesmerises writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- An excellent piece from The Altoona Mirror's Cory Giger, who explores the history of black quarterbacks at Penn State and some of the stereotypes Daryll Clark could face this fall.
- Clark seems like the right man to lead Penn State's offense this fall, Eric Collins writes in The (Carlisle) Sentinel.
- I still think Penn State's group of senior wide receivers have a lot to prove this fall, but they certainly have some impressive numbers, Dave Seamon writes in Citizens Voice.
- Purdue opens training camp today, and the Boilermakers are eager to prove the predictions wrong, Tom Kubat writes in The (Lafayette, Ind.) Journal and Courier.
- The Capital Times' Jim Polzin answers some key questions following Wisconsin's scrimmage at Camp Randall Stadium.