Big Ten: Adarius Rayner

Offseason to-do list: Indiana

January, 7, 2014
Jan 7
The 2013 college football season sadly is over, and the seemingly interminable offseason is upon us. To get started on the lonely months ahead, we're taking a look at three items each Big Ten team must address before the 2014 season kicks off in August.

We begin with the Indiana Hoosiers.

1. Establishing a culture on defense: Head coach Kevin Wilson talked in broad terms in November when assessing the team's chronic struggles on defense. Talent and scheme play roles in Indiana's results, but Wilson believes the remedy isn't just one area. "I'm going to look really hard at what we're doing in lifting, running, change of direction," he said. "What are we doing with a culture and attitude of our building to play better defense? Then we'll look at personnel and schemes and coaching and all those kind of deals." The Hoosiers need to establish who they want to be on defense or risk continuing to be who they've been for the past 25 years.

2. Bolster the defensive line: The easiest way to fix a defense starts up front, and Indiana must get more from its linemen in 2014. Players such as ends Nick Mangieri and John Laihinen and tackle Darius Latham showed flashes, but Indiana finished 87th nationally in sacks and 93rd in tackles for loss. Enhanced competition will help the group, so the development of young players such as Ralphael Green, Adarius Rayner and David Kenney is critical.

3. Sort out the quarterback spot: Wilson is an excellent quarterbacks coach and has two good options in Tre Roberson and Nate Sudfeld, but another season of flip-flopping might not be the best course for IU. The Hoosiers lose a lot at wide receiver, including early NFL departure Cody Latimer, and might be wise to build the offense more around talented backs Tevin Coleman and D'Angelo Roberts. Sudfeld and Roberson have different skills, and neither truly separated himself for long stretches, but Indiana would be best served if one quarterback established himself as the top guy before the season.

Big Ten weekend recruiting update

January, 31, 2011
The final weekend before national signing day is in the books, and I thought it would be a good idea to recap things as Big Ten squads put the finishing touches on their 2011 recruiting classes.

Things kicked off Friday night as Michigan secured a verbal commitment from offensive lineman Chris Bryant, a very solid prospect. Bryant's pledge adds to the late recruiting momentum Michigan has generated under new coach Brady Hoke.

Here's more recruiting news from around the Big Ten, courtesy of ESPN Recruiting:
  • Indiana secured verbal commitments from three-star offensive linemen Peyton Eckert and Gregory Lewis and defensive lineman Adarius Rayner, who originally committed to Colorado State.
  • Nebraska landed a kicker as it begins life without superstar Alex Henery. The Huskers received a verbal pledge from Mauro Bondi from Boca Raton, Fla. As a senior, Bondi was 7 of 11 on field goals with a long of 44. He also had 45 of 55 kickoffs go for touchbacks and averaged 43.2 yards per punt. Nebraska also added junior college defensive lineman Joseph Carter, who had decommitted from Arizona.
  • Minnesota bolstered its defensive front with a commitment from Texas prospect Michael Amaefula. The Gophers also added defensive back Derrick Wells from Lehigh Acres, Fla.
  • You've got to love long-snappers and Ohio State landed one for its 2011 class as Bryce Haynes gave a pledge to the Buckeyes over Notre Dame, North Carolina and Utah State.

I'll have plenty more on the Big Ten recruiting scene throughout the week.