Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Big Ten chat wrap
By Adam Rittenberg
Did you miss today's Big Ten chat? No worries. I'll bail you out again.
Here's the full transcript from our hour-long B1G gab fest. A lot of good questions about what's going on around the league.
Warren W. from Old Forge, Pa.: Who's the toughest player to stop in the Big 10 in your opinion? And why?
Adam Rittenberg: Warren, this is almost always a defensive lineman -- Devon Still in 2011, JJ Watt and Ryan Kerrigan in 2010 -- and I think it will be again this season. Michigan State's William Gholston could fit into this category, as could Ohio State's John Simon and Johnathan Hankins, and Purdue's Kawann Short. Simon will be awfully difficult to contain with a better supporting cast around him.
Joe from Detroit: Adam, I'm a little worried about all the hype for Michigan. Is it too much pressure? I loved last year and Hoke but I feel like the team played over its head. I'd be happy with 8 or 9 wins but everyone is setting that up to be a disappointment.
Adam Rittenberg: Joe, I think you have some good perspective here. While it's natural to get excited about an 11-win season, a dynamic senior quarterback in Denard and certainly better days on the horizon, it's important to be realistic. Michigan's schedule is flat-out brutal, and last year's team overachieved a bit. The Wolverines easily could be a better team in 2012 that has a worse record (9-3, 10-2, etc). It's hard to temper fan excitement, but Brady Hoke does a good job of preventing his players from getting carried away with the hype.
Jason from Columbus: How long until Fickell leaves OSU for his own ship? I am guessing Hope will be done this year at Purdue. Any chance he could wind up there? Or do you think him making a mid-major stop first as a head coach. I think OSU hired a lot of hype (with an arachnoid cyst on his brain), and gave up on a guy in the middle of winning his Big Ten division. Sad.
Adam Rittenberg: Wow, rough chatter about Urban. As for Fickell, I've thought about this subject a lot -- when he leaves, will go go to a mid-major or a major program? I think he's good enough to make the jump immediately to a major-conference team. While he doesn't have any obvious ties to Purdue, he has Midwest/Big Ten roots, which always helps. I'd be surprised if Fickell stays at Ohio State more than two seasons. He'll be in demand for head-coaching vacancies every year. Also, I think Urban brought in Everett Withers with the assumption Fickell will move on soon.
A.J. from Madison: Adam, this is (as far as I know) Bielema's first major off-the-field issue in a while. Do you think he'll be able to lock it down, or will this bar fight stuff continue to be an issue going into September?
Adam Rittenberg: Interesting question, A.J. It should be easier for Bielema to get a handle on things during training camp and the season, when players are more occupied with team activities. The fight took place during the summer, when not much is going on. Bielema addressed it at the start of camp, and it'll be interesting to see what transpires as far as the police investigation. Like you said, Wisconsin hasn't had a lot of major off-field incidents in recent years, but this one is a concern if it's not properly addressed.
Mr. T. from Columbus: Is Taylor Martinez really going to be that improved with his "new" throwing mechanics or has he just been watching the Olympics to get tips from the shot putters?
Adam Rittenberg: Mr. T, talked with Taylor about this subject last week. He said his ankle injury suffered midway through the 2010 season really affected his throwing motion last year. His footwork was a mess, and he's drop his left shoulder and not throw across his body. The ankle is finally healed, and Martinez has a better idea of what he needs to do mechanically. We'll see how it pans out, but I don't think his passing motion will look nearly as bad as it did in 2011.
Thanks again for the questions, and my apologies to those whose submissions weren't selected. No chat next week, but beginning Aug. 22, my chat will take place every Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET. New time, so mark it down.