Monday, September 16, 2013
Big Ten Monday chat wrap
By Brian Bennett
There was plenty to talk about in the Big Ten Monday chat, and plenty of you wanted to talk. If you missed it, I'll chain you up and force you to cook meth. Just kidding. Here's the full transcript, along with some highlights:
Lee (Chicago): Lost in the chaos that was the ending to Saturday's Badger game was another sound performance from Melvin Gordon. In my mind, he's not only the clear number 1 back, but also Wisconsin's biggest playmaker and should be the focal point of the offense. What else does he need to do to make his case to the coaching staff?
Brian Bennett: Gordon was outstanding and continues to average over 10 yards per carry. What's holding him back is his pass protection. He missed a key block earlier in the game, and down the stretch when Wisconsin needed to throw, the coaches had a lot more confidence in James White. That's usually the last thing to come for young backs, and he'll keep working on it, I'm sure.
Samuel (Iowa City): Brian, we hear all about Jerry Kill seizing during games. Do we know if this happens during practices at all? The negative comments surrounding this issue seem far too hasty unless there are more instances beyond games.
Brian Bennett: Samuel, I haven't heard of instances in practice. If Kill had to be taken to the hospital because of a practice incident, that information would get out. The stress of games appears to be a contributing factor, though we're not doctors and we don't want to presume too much. But not getting through a game as a head coach is a big, big deal, and Kill recognizes that.
Aaron (Leesburg, VA): Biggest concern for Michigan, the defense or Gardner's turnovers?
Brian Bennett: Both are concerns, but I think Gardner will get better at it. He's only eight starts in, so he's going to learn, and other than his admittedly disastrous pick against ND in the end zone, he did a pretty good job with ball security in the most important game. The defense is a bigger issue right now, and that D-line must get better. A Jake Ryan return would help, and I still have faith in Mattison and Hoke to fix things there.
Joe (bronx NY): Help settle an argument with my brother. I think the atmosphere at a noon game against Akron was nowhere in the same universe as the night game against Notre Dame. The players were flat, the coaches were flat, and the fans were flat. I think the Michigan players exhaled and overlooked the Zips. I think they learned their lesson and it won't happen again. My brother thinks there were real issues exposed and the Wolverines may still be a year or two away. Which side do you lean to?
Brian Bennett: I lean toward you, Joe. I know some are ready to panic, but I saw that as a classic letdown game and a blip on the schedule. I could be wrong, but I think Michigan is much better than it looked. National title contender? Probably not, but this is still the Legends favorite in my mind. Now, if the Wolverines struggle in Hartford on Saturday ...
todd (Atl): Weisman is great at pounding the opposition. 30+ carries a game seems too much. Do you think they need to give someone with more speed at chance of taking one to the house.
Brian Bennett: He's got 85 carries in three games, and while Weisman is a hoss, that's an unsustainable pace. But I love how he helps give that entire offense an identity.
Dustin (Nebraska): What are your thoughts on the comments Tommie Frazier made Saturday night?
Brian Bennett: A frustrated former player, and he certainly has an argument there. I'm never thrilled about calling for mass firings, especially two games into the season. But Frazier can express whatever opinion he wants. Pelini should have sidestepped that question better today. He almost did, but all anyone is going to focus on is "We don't need him." Not a good time for that.
Justin (Chicago, IL): Is Nate Sudfeld the best pure passer in the Conference?
Brian Bennett: He might be. He's got a big arm, and that scheme is very quarterback-friendly. He's still young and makes mistakes, but he's putting up some great numbers.