Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Big Ten chat wrap: Sept. 5
By Adam Rittenberg
Our first chat of the 2012 season is in the books. Some good questions today.
Miss the fun? No worries, I've got you covered with a complete transcript.
Let's check out those highlights:
Brian from Washington, D.C.: With Hope starting Terbush at QB instead of Mavre, I think we might get blown out again by Notre Dame. Mavre at least gives us a chance - what has Hope seen that makes him think he is the better option especially against a really good def line?
Adam Rittenberg: Brian, you're not alone in this belief. Hope said this week that for starters, TerBush outplayed both Marve and Henry in camp, and it didn't sound that close. Hope also clearly thinks TerBush makes fewer mistakes and gives Purdue a better chance to get out of the gate and not lose momentum right away. To me, his issue with Marve is the turnovers, even though Marve has better skills overall. It'll be interesting to see how Hope uses both players. If TerBush struggles, I think you'll see Marve.
Matt from St. Paul: Your resident Gopher fan on the blog here...was in the stands at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas and couldn't have been more underwhelmed by Minnesota's play or the level of competition (seriously...you, me, Bennett, and eight of our friends would've given UNLV a run for their money...). I know as a Gopher fan, I need to take any non-conference victory on the road that I can..but help me feel better about my squad!
Adam Rittenberg: We should put Bennett at left tackle. That'd be hilarious! ... I understand your disappointment, Matt, and the Gophers certainly didn't play a clean game. Those types of mistakes -- penalties, overthrows -- will cost Minnesota when the competition improves. But I did see improvement from the defense, especially up front, and some life out of the running backs (Kirkwood and Gillum). If MarQueis doesn't make strides, it's hard to see Minnesota winning many more games, but the defense and the RBs provide some nice building blocks.
John from La Jolla, Calif.: With a new regime at PSU, I expected their to be bumps in the road. After watching them play on Saturday I am still optimistic about this team. McGloin missed some wide open receivers and a couple of long passes that could have changed the out come of the game. My question is this, Do you see a change in the strength of PSU. Their defense did not perform up to standard, but the offense looked like they could really move the ball (no 3 and outs). Once the team can get a firm grasp of the playbook, I see the offense carrying the team, what are your thoughts.
Adam Rittenberg: I think Penn State will be a more exciting, dynamic offense under Bill O'Brien. But if that results in the Lions taking significant steps back on defense, the program is in trouble. You can't win many games allowing 500 yards of offense. I was encouraged by the way Penn State moved the ball in the first half, and the lack of long passes didn't bother me as much as the run-pass balance. You have to run the ball more efficiently than PSU did. But the line looked good and so did Robinson and McGloin. It wasn't a game that lacked positives despite the final score. But I still think Penn State has to play great defense, and we didn't see enough of that Saturday.
Mike from Lincoln: Adam should Burkhead sit out against UCLA? I don't they need him to beat the Bruins, and Abdullah, Heard and Cross looked good in the opener and should be able to run the ball very well. Should Burkhead sit out til next week or longer so he's 100% for Wisconsin?
Adam Rittenberg: Mike, I tend to agree. Nebraska is loaded at running back, and Abdullah looks more than capable of being the top guy. I'd also like to see what Cross looks like on a big stage. Really liked him in the recruiting process. Although it's probably unrealistic for Martinez and the pass game to replicate the performance from the Southern Miss game, Nebraska should be able to rush the football well enough without Rex. And you really don't want to take any chances with No. 22.
Ramsey from Livonia, Mich.: Does Alabama crushing Michigan change your long-term outlook on their season? Or did it play out as you expected.
Adam Rittenberg: The game made me more concerned about Michigan's trouble spots -- defensive line, offensive line, receiver -- and the Wolverines' lack of depth. Again, it'll take a bit more time for Brady Hoke to get this roster where he needs it to be. A team lacking depth combined with a tough schedule usually doesn't translate to a ton of wins. While it wouldn't surprise me at all if Michigan matched my prediction of 9-3, I know Bennett's feeling a bit better about his prediction of 8-4.
Thanks again for the questions, and my apologies to those whose questions weren't answered. Let's do it again next week.