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Friday, March 30, 2012
Big Ten Friday mailblog

By Adam Rittenberg

Final Four weekend. If you see a stumbling Bennett on the streets of Louisville on Saturday night, just get out of his way.

Allan Evridge from Seasons Past writes: Hey Adam, love the blog. I just wanted to stop in to remind the Badger faithful and the crestfallen Nittany Lions fans about ME! Russel Wilson gave Bielema arguably his best season, but I gave him his worst. Perhaps Bielema should reconsider his "One QB Recruit" per year rule because talented transfer quarterbacks don't always work out. I would know.

Adam Rittenberg: Wow, didn't expect to hear from you, Allan. Yes, it's good to remind everyone that quarterback transfers don't always work out. There were other reasons the 2008 season went south in Madison, but the Badgers didn't have great QB play by any means. To expect Danny O'Brien to be another Russell Wilson is unrealistic. But O'Brien gives Wisconsin another option -- an option with a lot of FBS game experience -- at a position filled with question marks right now. He fills a need. As I wrote Wednesday, Wisconsin doesn't need O'Brien to be first-team All-Big Ten to win the Leaders division. But the Badgers can't have the quarterback position be a liability.


Freddy Fact Machine from Denver writes: "AIRBHG" is the invention of www.blackheartgoldpants.com. I suggest giving them credit or else the Angry Adam Rittenberg Hating God (AARHG) will give you tennis elbow.

Adam Rittenberg: That was my mistake, Freddy, as we had to rush to get the reaction post out the door. Black Heart Gold Pants is the mastermind behind AIRBHG and many other brilliant tidbits on all things Hawkeyes. It's definitely a must-read blog.


Joe from Mount Prospect, Ill., writes: Miles Osei is making a case to run the illini offense. If not get on the field and run the offense along with Nate. Sure would be nice to see somebody focus on that. The kid is having a more than solid spring and his offseason was fabulous. Coaches constantly comment about his leadership and what a great football player he is. I pray he is given opportunity to compete and it looks like he is.. What have you heard and seen? Kid is making plays all over the place. He is a combination of both quarterbacks. The kid is a football player and time will only tell if he emerges. He should have been the number two last year but was brushed aside. Kid is a fighter and that is what Illini needs. Winners

Adam Rittenberg: Joe, thanks for the information about Osei. Coach Tim Beckman and co-offensive coordinator/QBs coach Chris Beatty mentioned Osei a bit when we visited Tuesday, but they didn't elaborate like you have here. All three quarterbacks are in the mix right now for the Illini, and it sounds like Nathan is definitely in the lead. But last season showed that Illinois needs more weapons to emerge on offense at every position. It'll be interesting to see what role Osei has in the fall.


Jeremiah from Kearney, Neb., writes: Befor spring practice started i was worried about mostly our linebackers and also a little about our corners but after reading more about how players are coming along and the addition of Mohammed Seisay i feel better about that position what is your take on the linebacker position and how you feel it could play out?

Adam Rittenberg: Jeremiah, I shared those same concerns, and I'm excited to visit Lincoln next week to see how the Huskers defense looks. It does sound like the secondary will be OK as Seisay and others join the mix. Bo Pelini and his staff know how to produce top-level defensive backs, and they've added some talent there. Linebacker is a bit more of a question mark as I don't see another Lavonte David on the roster. It'll take more of a collective effort and several players stepping up at that position.


Evan from Arusha, Tanzania, writes: Hello Adam, I saw the chat transcript and I had some thoughts on the question regarding the QB situation at Purdue. I was reading a report saying that even when Marve was playing he was nowhere near 100% and he would have to take the next few days off from practice due to swelling in his knee. However, now he appears to be at or very near 100%. I think with that being said and if he stays healthy he should be able to progress enough to win the starting nod back. I also think it will be interesting to see whether or not Rob Henry fully recovers, because I think he could be used just like Justin Siller last year. I would really enjoy watching both Henry and Marve play at the same time, which has not happened since the Toledo game two years ago.

Adam Rittenberg: Evan, you could be right about Marve, who has dealt with injuries throughout his entire career at Purdue. Coach Danny Hope has repeatedly said he wants to have at least two quarterbacks ready, and he'll have at least three with legitimate experience entering 2012 in Marve, Henry and Caleb TerBush. Henry certainly can help Purdue at other spots than quarterback, but keep in mind he would have been the starter last season if not for the ACL. He had had a terrific offseason and had the support of his teammates as a co-captain. This is one of the more intriguing QB competitions you'll find because of the injury history. It will be interesting to see how it plays out this fall.


Jon from Colorado writes: So during the chat you said you would give credit to one of the best beat writers in the Big Ten if the O'Brien to Wisconsin report was true, then you wrote two articles and failed to give any credit and only linked to ESPN stories? Kinda dropped the ball there didn't you? Guess the chatter was right and it is only news if ESPN reports it huh? Where's the love for the local media that really breaks the stories?

Adam Rittenberg: Reading really is a skill, John. I suggest you brush up a bit.
Yeah, but we never credit anyone for the work they do. It's not like we have a post every day around lunchtime that includes the best stories from around the league.


Rob from Morristown, N.J., writes: Adam, in your B1G chat today you answered a question that Wisconsin needed O'Brien more than PSU, but PSU fans would disagree. I am a PSU alum and huge fan and I would disagree that "PSU fans would disagree" (as a blanket statement). While having another seasoned QB added to the mix may have helped a puzzled mess that is the PSU QB situation, I do not understand why NO ONE thinks that Matt McGloin can manage the offense, while PSU's running game and defense can win like they did last year. McGloin gets no credit because he is a "former" walk-on. From what we have seen out of Bolden, he just does not cut it in D-I football, but McGloin has shown he is capable. And now that PSU has a REAL QB coach and a head coach that knows how to tutor QBs, (not a QB coach who is the head coaches son and former back-up college QB), I honestly see good things possible from a well coached Matt McGloin, he has the arm, isn't afraid to stay in the pocket, can sense a pass rush and commands the huddle with confidence, and he has two years of quality experience (same as O'Brien).

Adam Rittenberg: Rob, you could be correct about McGloin. We'll just have to see. He certainly has experience and has turned in some impressive performances, particularly in his two starts against Northwestern. I have little doubt Bill O'Brien will upgrade the quarterback position in 2012, no matter who walks out there first -- and I think it'll be McGloin. That said, Danny O'Brien would have been a nice addition, just to give Penn State one more option under center. Bolden has to make significant strides in my view, and Penn State doesn't really know what it has in Paul Jones.


Michael from Los Feliz, Calif., writes: Adam, I'm a big fan of the blog, and a longtime resident of Minneapolis who recently moved to the left coast. I have been writing to you for the last 3 years asking you to check out the Gophers in spring ball. This year I cannot go as I'm no longer in that part of the world. Please watch the Gophers in spring ball. Minnesota has some interesting storylines, practices have been reported to be crisp and intriguing, and the Gophers could easily be the feel good team of the Big Ten this year (led by magnetic senior leader MarQueis Gray at QB).Barney Stinson would jump at the opportunity to rock out in Dinkytown, and so should you.

Adam Rittenberg: Michael, I definitely remember your notes. Unfortunately, I won't be in Minneapolis this spring but hope to make it this fall for a game. Where we go in spring is somewhat out of our hands and depends on a lot of factors. If we had an unlimited budget, we'd be going everywhere. But both Brian and I will keep tabs on Minnesota from afar and will talk to players and coaches throughout the spring. I'm really interested in running back James Gillum, the juco transfer, who has drawn some good marks so far. It'll also be interesting to see who steps up on defense, particularly up front and in the secondary. This could be a big year for Troy Stoudermire at cornerback.