Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Big Ten mailblog
By Adam Rittenberg
Dave from Marshfield, Wis., writes: Adam, as a PSU alum living in Wisconsin, I have been waiting to see what PSU's move is and according to the blogs and other sites I go to the reports are that PSU will name coach Jan 3, Mike Munchak. DC will be Norwood or Darren Perry and OC Tom Clements from GB Pack staff. OL coach Bruce Mathews. What are you hearing?Thanks
Adam Rittenberg: Dave, are you sure you're not just taking all the candidates mentioned for the head-coaching position and combining them into one super coaching staff? While I could see Clements or maybe Munchak taking the top job, I'd be really surprised if both men end up on Penn State's coaching staff in 2012. The interesting thing will be if any of the current assistants are retained. There are a lot of really good coaches on that staff, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
Bucky from New York writes: Hey Adam! Love the blog! Been reading some disappointing news re the Badgers coaches leaving the program. It looks like Bostad (O-Line and RBs coach) is jumping ship with Chryst to Pitt. Doesn't bode well for the badgers for many reasons but it's college football and it happens. How do you think Bielema responds? Do you think he needs to hire a big name to hopefully not lose any oral recruiting commits? Any potential coaches out there you know of that would be a good fit at UW?
Adam Rittenberg: Wisconsin's recruiting should be OK even with both Chryst and reportedly Bostad departing. The Badgers aren't going to change an offense that has been extremely effective the past three seasons, so recruits don't have to worry about a new system. And from a purely recruiting standpoint, both Chryst and Bostad aren't huge losses. Tight ends coach Joe Rudolph, expected to stay on Wisconsin's staff, would have been the bigger loss there. Rudolph is one of the Big Ten's top recruiters. It will be interesting to see where Bielema looks for position coaches (he said he'll promote from within to fill Chryst's coordinator role). I don't know how many position coaches are "big names," but Bielema made a really good hire last year with linebackers coach Dave Huxtable. Wouldn't surprise me if the new coaches have ties to recruiting-friendly regions like Florida.
Jason from Dallas writes: Purdue fans everywhere feel like we just got a lump of coal in our stockings for Christmas. Hope needed to go, but turns out he gets and extension. Giving the extension right before the holiday and while students are on break, coincidence? I think not. Burke knows we're not happy, that's why he's trying to sneak this by. I understand the whole recruiting aspect, but what will the impact of this extension be next year when Purdue goes 5-7 and finally decides there is no hope in Hope?
Adam Rittenberg: Jason, while I agree the timing of the announcement was a bit curious — Friday afternoon before the Christmas weekend — the extension didn't surprise me because of the recruiting factor. Hope certainly has to prove he can take Purdue to the next level, but three years isn't very much time, especially with all the injuries. Purdue has a golden opportunity in front of it in 2012 with a wide-open Leaders Division. If things fall right, the Boilers could make a run in what looks like a very winnable division. The big question is whether Hope would actually be on the hot seat if Purdue struggles next season. Burke doesn't like to eat contract money, but he's dealing with a program and a fan base that needs a jolt. Despite the extension, 2012 still should be a pivotal season for Hope.
Jackson from Des Moines, Iowa, writes: First of all love the blog, is a daily lunchtime ritual. Being a Hawkeye fan it is a sad time with Norm Parker retiring. Anyone that knows anything about Norm already knows that he is a class act, a defensive genius and and a life coach for these young men that is undeniably irreplaceable. My question: Since Nebraska has hired our d-line coach away, what would you think about Iowa bringing onboard Tom Bradley from Penn St? If he does not get a head coaching job at this point. I wouldn't think he would stay on board if not hired as the PSU head coach. He knows the league and already is versed in the style of defense that Ferentz want to use. Also, could not hurt any recruiting efforts that could be capitalized on due to the issues at PSU. Ferentz made a genius in-league move by hiring UM ex-receivers coach when Rich Rod came in.
Adam Rittenberg: Jackson, terrific thoughts on Norm. He's a class act and will be missed. Glad you brought up the Tom Bradley idea. It makes a lot of sense, as Kirk Ferentz has a lot of respect for the Penn State program and its coaches. Bradley runs a similar defense to Iowa, so there wouldn't be massive adjustments. The main concern for Ferentz would be how long Bradley would want to stay in a coordinator role — he wants to be a head coach after serving in an assistant role for decades. Iowa hasn't had much turnover on its staff, and Ferentz doesn't want to hire a coordinator who will leave after a year. There's also the stigma attached to Joe Paterno assistants, although I would hope schools still would have the guts to hire guys like Bradley and Larry Johnson. They're great coaches and would help a program like Iowa.
Ben from South Jersey writes: A new (still unnamed and this is getting annoying) coach with a fresh look, a lot coming back on defense with quite some depth, a dark horse Heisman candidate in Silas Redd, and a team motivated to prove the whole world wrong about Penn State Football. With the Ohio State bowl ban, and Wisconsin player-coach exit am I completely out of my mind to think my Nittany Lions have a shot at the Leaders Division title and maybe even a shot at a BCS game? Ohio State and Wisconsin at home, and they avoid Michigan and Michigan State.. Tell me I'm crazy.
Adam Rittenberg: You're not crazy, Ben. Penn State undoubtedly will deal with some issues of its own, but as stated earlier, I don't think it will take a great team to win the Leaders division in 2012. Ohio State's situation and Wisconsin's personnel losses make the division race wide open, and there are definitely opportunities for teams like Penn State, Purdue and Illinois. Penn State's schedule certainly works in its favor, as getting both Ohio State and Wisconsin in Happy Valley favors the Lions. The big key will be maintaining the level on defense we've seen this year. But Penn State in no way should be counted out.
Justin from Zanesville, Ohio, writes: Hey Adam love your blogs on the BIG. I am an Ohio State fan and I recently overheard a rumor in regards to Ohio State and their bowl ban for next season. According to a couple of sources including the Cleveland Plain Dealer; Ohio State may pursue traveling to Hawaii after the Michigan game and close to bowl week to play a game. I was wondering is this feasible according to NCAA rules which allows a team to add an extra game to their schedule as long as it is against Hawaii in Hawaii. Also how would this help out with recruits knowing that despite missing a bowl they will get to have a trip to Honolulu late in the year.
Adam Rittenberg: It's a nice idea, Justin, but several issues must be cleared up for it to happen. The biggest one is Hawaii has an open date on the 2012 schedule, but it's in early November, not on the final weekend of the regular season, when South Alabama is scheduled to visit Honolulu. Games always can be moved around, so we'll see. There has been precedent with Alabama in 2002 and 2003. I don't think a Hawaii game would have much of an effect on recruiting. A one-year bowl ban wouldn't hurt Ohio State nearly as much as a two-year ban on the recruiting trail. One question for Buckeyes fans: Would you rather have the coaches on the practice field for the final week or out recruiting for the 2013 season?