Big Ten: 2010 Big Ten media days

Video: Indiana WR Terrance Turner

August, 18, 2010

Adam Rittenberg talks with Indiana wide receiver Terrance Turner.

Michigan senior guard Stephen Schilling talks about the strength of the offensive line and what to expect at running back and quarterback this fall.

CHICAGO -- The 2010 Big Ten media days are in the books.

We have all the coverage you need right here in our Day 2 notebook. You can read about all 11 teams as well as items about standouts such as Iowa's Adrian Clayborn, Ohio State's Cameron Heyward, Penn State's Evan Royster, Wisconsin's John Clay and Michigan State's Greg Jones.
CHICAGO -- Last week, Evan Royster found himself sitting on the steps of Penn State's student bookstore in State College as a photographer snapped pictures.

"It was pretty ridiculous," the Nittany Lions senior running back said. "They've got steps that have all the rushing leaders. I think I'm the seventh or eighth guy down."

[+] EnlargeEvan Royster
Randy Litzinger/Icon SMIEvan Royster needs 481 yards to become Penn State's all-time leading rusher.
Eighth, to be exact. Royster has 2,918 career rushing yards entering his senior season at Penn State, but he only needs 481 more to pass Curt Warner for the all-time record.

Barring a snag, Royster will reach the top step before he hangs up his white helmet and black shoes. In anticipation of a more featured role, he added about 15 pounds during the offseason and expects to play at 218 or 219 this fall.

Royster is growing tired of all the talk about his pursuit of the record; he fully grasps what it'll mean.

"It's brought up so much now that I can't stop thinking about it," he said. "I'm not going to lie and say I don't think about it and don't wait it, 'cause I want it. It's something that any person in my position would be setting their goals for."

Royster nearly took himself out of the running by turning pro after the 2009 season. He sent his paperwork to the NFL draft advisory board on time but never received a draft evaluation, even after several follow-up requests.

Eventually, Royster returned to Penn State, where he can gain something more valuable than a paycheck.

"If I get that record, I think that will take me further than any NFL career will," he said. "I'll cherish that way more than playing a couple years in the NFL."

Video: Iowa DT Karl Klug

August, 3, 2010

Iowa defensive tackle Karl Klug talks about dealing with high expectations and playing with a veteran line in 2010.

Video: Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan

August, 3, 2010

Purdue star defensive end Ryan Kerrigan talks about improving against the run and identifies some young players to watch.
When Indiana and Purdue met last year in Bloomington, the only thing on the line -- besides the coveted Old Oaken Bucket, of course -- was pride.

Both teams had been eliminated from bowl contention despite looking more than capable of playing in the postseason at times in 2009.

[+] EnlargeOld Oaken Bucket
AP Photo/Tom StrattmanPurdue raised the Old Oaken Bucket in 2009, beating Indiana 38-21.
Most 2010 preseason projections put both the Hoosiers and Boilers in the lower half of the Big Ten, but it's hardly a stretch to imagine this year's Bucket game having bowl implications for both squads. Indiana went 1-7 in Big Ten play last year but held sizable leads in four of its seven league losses. Purdue went 4-4 in league play, including historic wins against both Ohio State and Michigan, but stayed home for the holidays because of a maddening 1-3 performance in the nonconference slate.

As preseason camp dawns in several days, both the Hoosiers and Boilers know exactly what they must work on to make their Nov. 27 meeting at Ross-Ade Stadium significant. In keeping with the spirit of the rivalry, I give you both Indiana's and Purdue's Bucket lists.


  • Improve on third downs both offensively and defensively. The Hoosiers tied for seventh in the Big Ten in third-down conversions (39.1 percent) and ranked last in the league and 113th nationally in third-down defense (47.5 percent conversions). IU didn't fare much better in stopping fourth downs, allowing 83.3 percent to be converted, which ranked a distant last in the Big Ten.
  • Score in the red zone. Indiana finished 10th in the league and tied for 93rd nationally in red zone offense (77.3 percent, 34 scores on 44 chances). Given the Hoosiers' obvious strength at wide receiver with Tandon Doss, Damarlo Belcher and others, there's no reason why they shouldn't be a lot better here.
What they're saying

  • "There were a couple of those games where it's third-and-4, third-and-5, if we convert and keep the football, it changes the game. On the other side, it's third-and-4 and third-and-5 and we don't get a stop. And therefore we let them, whoever it was, make a play and go down and score and eventually win the game." -- head coach Bill Lynch
  • "Offensively, it's us scoring touchdowns in the red zone. Defensively, it's making stops on third down. It came down to 10, 15 plays you could look at from last season, and that's the difference between 4-8 and 8-4. We're in the right spots, so really, it's just us making plays." -- senior quarterback Ben Chappell

  • Hold onto the football. Turnovers in bunches really hurt the Boilers, especially during their 1-5 start to open the season. Purdue tied for the Big Ten lead and tied for 109th nationally in giveaways with 29. The Boilers coughed up the ball 20 times in their first six games, suffering the five losses by an average of just 6.6 points.
  • Better tackling/stopping the run. Head coach Danny Hope identified tackling as a problem early last season, and Purdue's struggles against the run bear it out. The Boilers have finished last in the Big Ten in rush defense in each of the last two seasons, surrendering 173.4 yards per game and a league-worst 26 rushing touchdowns in 2009.
  • Force more turnovers. Purdue ended up forcing 24 in 2009, but seven of those were interceptions by players no longer on the roster.
What they're saying

  • "If we had done a better job of taking care of the football from a ball-security standpoint, we probably would have been one of the great success stories in college football. ... Ball security on the offensive side, ball disruption on the defensive side, and we need to tackle better for sure." -- head coach Danny Hope
  • "If you look at a couple games last year, like Wisconsin and Minnesota, where we just got ran all over. They didn't need to throw the ball, so they didn't. So we definitely need to turn our attention toward stopping the run more this year." -- senior defensive end Ryan Kerrigan

Ohio State star defensive lineman Cameron Heyward talks about the team's national championship hopes in 2010.
CHICAGO -- The second half of Big Ten media days begins right now, as all 11 head coaches and three players from each team meet for a cram session with reporters. The session lasts from 9-11 a.m. ET.

Not surprisingly, Day 1 brought a lot of off-field news regarding division alignment, future conference schedules, a football championship game and other topics. Today, it's much more about the players and the games.

Some of the questions I'll be exploring:
  • Who's the better defensive lineman: Adrian Clayborn or Cameron Heyward?
  • How are Iowa and Wisconsin handling high expectations?
  • Who has a better receiving corps: Indiana or Michigan State?
  • How are new starting quarterbacks Robert Marve (Purdue) and Dan Persa (Northwestern) settling in?
  • Which defensive back provides the better one-liners: Michigan's Troy Woolfolk or Wisconsin's Jay Valai?

I caught up with several players Monday, but I'm looking to sitting down with these guys in a less formal session.

Here's the list of players. There's one change, as punter Aaron Bates replaced receiver Keith Nichol for Michigan State.

Check back throughout the day for more coverage from media days.
CHICAGO -- It was a very eventful first day of Big Ten media days, as we found out quite a bit more about division alignment, future conference scheduling and a football championship game, not to mention a little too much information about Joe Paterno's health.

We've got all the coverage you want in our Day 1 notebook, including a video of colleague Mark Schlabach and I breaking down the key happenings.

Day 2 brings player and coach interviews, so check back then.

Adam Rittenberg talks with Northwestern defensive lineman Corbin Bryant at Big Ten media days.

Adam Rittenberg talks with Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema at Big Ten media days.
CHICAGO -- Penn State head coach Joe Paterno didn't offer many strong opinions about the Big Ten's big-ticket items on Monday.

He loves the addition of Nebraska, calling it a "real coup," but didn't say if he'd like Penn State to be in the same division as the Huskers. He's glad he doesn't have to determine divisions and will leave it up to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and his staff.

What about further Big Ten expansion?

"I think we ought to leave that in the hands of Jim and the people who are going around talking to different people," he said.

But if the league decides to expand, Paterno added, it should be in one direction only -- East. Paterno continued to advocate for more Eastern schools in the Big Ten, which would not benefit Penn State but the entire league.

He didn't mention specific schools but has talked in the past about Rutgers, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

"I'd like to see some teams from the East," Paterno said. "When you see the Pac-10 comes in and has this [media] party in New York, you start to realize that the East, there may be some things that we can get in the Big Ten from our association with more than one piece and school that could help out."
CHICAGO -- Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez wrapped up his media session earlier today, and I've got a few quick nuggets for you.
  • The quarterback competition remains "wide open," but Rodriguez thinks the picture could clear up during the first few weeks of training camp. He's open to playing both Denard Robinson and Tate Forcier, and mentioned true freshman Devin Gardner several times as a No. 3 option. Robinson can move to another position if he's not a factor for the top quarterback job -- he certainly is right now -- but Forcier solely will remain at quarterback, Rodriguez said.
  • Rodriguez will fly to Seattle on Aug. 13 to appear before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions. Michigan usually has its first two-a-day practice session scheduled for the following day, but it will be moved from Aug. 14 to Aug. 15. So Rodriguez won't miss any practice time. "I will keep it from being a distraction," Rodriguez said.
  • Not surprisingly, Rodriguez was asked a lot about division alignment in the Big Ten and where Michigan and Ohio State should fall. His position: the Ohio State game must be played; he's not overly concerned about when it's played; the possibility of playing the Buckeyes twice in a season could be really exciting for the fans.
  • When Mark Moundros approached Rodriguez about trying his hand at linebacker, the coach was reluctant. After all, Moundros is Michigan's starting fullback. But Rodriguez eventually relented and Moundros will compete for the starting middle linebacker spot in camp.
CHICAGO -- Wisconsin has been here before.

In 2007 and again in 2008, the Badgers entered the season amid high expectations, only to stumble to varying degrees. After a 10-3 season and a Champs Sports Bowl championship in 2009, Wisconsin knows the bar needs to be raised this season.

Not surprisingly, the Badgers were selected No. 3 in the Big Ten preseason poll Monday. They could enter the season ranked in the top 10 and certainly the top 15.

Fifth-year head coach Bret Bielema isn't going to spend much time talking about the past when his team opens preseason camp next week. But he won't avoid the topic completely, either.

"I do like the fact that the majority of our players went through the scars of that season in addition to myself and several of my coaches," he said. "We'll make note of any mistakes made that year, but the 2010 season is based on individuals in that room."

Bielema is enjoying the fact that for the first time in his coaching career, he sees a senior class where every player has started games for the Badgers.

"It’s very unusual," Bielema said, "to have that many guys who have played a significant role.”