Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Big Ten Morning Briefing: Buckeyes stiff-arm criticism
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Three more Big Ten teams have quarterbacks as we wind toward the openers, which are only four days away. Here's what's happening around the league.
- The quarterback picture is clearing up around the league, Teddy Greenstein writes in the Chicago Tribune.
- Illinois running back Daniel Dufrene no longer needs to be patient after winning the starting job, Terry Bannon writes in the Chicago Tribune. Limiting turnovers will be critical for the Illini after they were way too generous against Mizzou last year, Lindsey Willhite writes in the Daily Herald. The Tigers will be playing without senior linebacker Van Alexander.
- In case you missed it, Indiana's Kellen Lewis is back at starting quarterback, LaMond Pope writes in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Indiana looks for more from its running backs this fall, Doug Wilson writes in the Bloomington Herald Times (subscription required). The Indianapolis Star's Terry Hutchens weighs in on a busy day in Bloomington.
- Two quarterbacks will play for Iowa on Saturday, but the dispersal of snaps is not yet known, Marc Morehouse writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. The prospect of limited playing time likely led running back Nate Guillory to transfer from Iowa. Linebacker Brian Smith nearly ended up as a Hawkeye before switching to Notre Dame, Michael Rothstein writes in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
- Rich Rodriguez has ushered in change at Michigan, though he remains somewhat of a mystery man, Bob Wojnowski writes in The Detroit News. Wolverines starting middle linebacker Obi Ezeh is speaking from experience, John Heuser writes in The Ann Arbor News.
- Michigan State's depth chart contained few surprises, though starting running back Javon Ringer could be used on kick returns, Joe Rexrode writes in the Lansing State Journal. Mark Dantonio talks about championships in East Lansing, making him the right fit for Michigan State, Rick Shepich writes in the Livingston Daily.
- The eligibility status of heralded freshman quarterback MarQueis Gray dominated the discussion Tuesday at Minnesota, Marcus Fuller writes in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. No one doubts the talent of Tim Brewster's first recruiting class, but the Gophers' incoming freshmen could struggle academically, Dennis Brackin writes in the Star Tribune.
"Minnesota's freshman class had the lowest [entrance exam] scores among the eight Big Ten programs that complied with the request, and the scores were significantly lower than for the recruiting classes in the final years of Glen Mason, who coached the Gophers from 1997 to 2006."
- Northwestern's offense won't look too different under new coordinator Mick McCall, Jim O'Donnell writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. Also, running back Tyrell Sutton laughed off the notion that he was the first person fellow Akron native LeBron James called after winning Olympic gold. Syracuse is keeping its starting tailback a mystery for Saturday's game in Evanston, Donnie Webb writes in The Post-Standard.
- Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins understands the national criticism but has bad news for everyone regarding the BCS title game, Doug Lesmerises writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Sorry America. But we're trying to get there." With loads of returning starters and a star freshman quarterback in the mix, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel doesn't have much to worry about, Bob Hunter writes in The Columbus Dispatch. The Buckeyes enter somewhat of a no-win situation Saturday against Youngstown State, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- Penn State's new starting quarterback, Daryll Clark, can thank Jay Paterno for helping his cause with JoePa, Bernard Fernandez writes in the Philadelphia Daily News. Plenty more from JoePa, who says he doesn't care about the all-time coaching wins record. Paterno might deserve the top spot in the end because Penn State doesn't count wins against opponents who forfeited. The coach also wants to see more fire from star defensive end Maurice Evans, Rich Scarcella writes in the Reading Eagle.
- Joe Tiller's legacy as an offensive innovator in the Big Ten is undeniable, Stacy Clardie writes in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
- Wisconsin star tight end Travis Beckum knows better than to rush a hamstring i
njury, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Low-maintenance guard Andy Kemp is a favorite Wisconsin's coaches. Former Badgers star Ron Dayne is still clinging to NFL dreams, Mike Lucas writes in The Capital times.