Big Ten: Alex Daniel

Big Ten mailblog

April, 6, 2010
4/06/10
9:00
AM ET
Mail call.

Colin from NYC writes: So many comments about Izzo Vs Tressel as best the Big Ten coach state that you can't compare coaching in two different sports, so let's take it a step farther. If Izzo and Tressel were to switch jobs, who would do a better job at the helm of the other coaches team? Izzo coaching OSU football and Tressel coaching MSU Basketball.

Adam Rittenberg: Good call, Colin. I'd have to go with Izzo, who admittedly brings a football mentality to the basketball court. There was even talk of Izzo becoming the Spartans' football coach when there was a vacancy there. Heck, when I did a Michigan State football story last summer, I made sure to stop in and talk with Izzo. Tressel's style is much more suited to football than basketball. You need to be flashier, more of a salesman type, to succeed in hoops. The buttoned-up stuff works much better for football teams, which need uniformity and discipline. I just couldn't see Tressel coaching a bunch of future one-and-dones at Ohio State. But maybe he could. It'd be fun to see him try.



Brian from NYC writes: Hate to say it, but listening to the discussion over a 96-team basketball tourney makes me appreciate the BCS just a little bit. Maybe a Plus One could work in some form, but as a Big Ten fan, I pay attention to other BCS conferences more than I ever would if there was a playoff. I can tell you right now, you won't find me watching any regular-season college b-ball in the coming years if everyone will make the dance anyway.

Adam Rittenberg: You bring up some good points here, Brian. I still think the college football regular season would be pretty exciting with a playoff, but I doubt you'd be the only fan who wouldn't pay as much attention to other leagues. One thing to remember with all this talk of NCAA tournament expansion and Big Ten expansion is the changing financial climate of college sports. Costs are going up for everything, and in order to keep all these sports running, leagues need to find new revenue streams. Expanding the basketball tournament or the league membership would potentially solve the problem. Otherwise, some of the non-revenue sports will start paying the price.


KJ from Detroit writes: You do realize that Penn State has two backs that would start for Ohio State and two more beyond them don't you?

Adam Rittenberg: I'll give you Evan Royster, KJ, but Stephfon Green still has a lot to prove, in my opinion. The talent clearly is there, but he needs to be a more consistent factor for the Nittany Lions offense. Green will get most of the reps this spring, as Penn State won't take any chances with Royster, a wise move. As far as "two more beyond them," whom exactly do you mean? Let's see how a healthy Jaamal Berry looks, or whether Jordan Hall takes another step forward. Penn State certainly has the best back between the teams in Royster, but after him it looks pretty even to me.


Kevin from Wilmette, Ill., writes: Thanks for covering NU. Bit of an insider question: I saw last year's spring game, and running back Alex Daniel stole the show. I know he missed all last season with an ankle injury but haven't seen his name mentioned in this year's practices. Is he still around?

Adam Rittenberg: Daniel has been indefinitely suspended for violating team rules and won't be with the squad until Sept. 5, the day after the 2010 opener at Vanderbilt. He definitely made some noise last spring and figured to be a factor this spring after recovering from an ankle injury. Seeing how Northwestern wants to identify a starting running back as soon as possible, I don't see Daniel entering the mix unless the other candidates struggle again. Arby Fields looks like the clear No. 1 right now, but Scott Concannon, Jacob Schmidt and Stephen Simmons are all in the mix as well.


Wilson from Iowa writes: In response to your article about Coach Tressel, I would say if he had say two or more consecutive years where he didn't recruit a 5-star athlete and was able to win the Big Ten championship, then yes he surely should win coach of the year. But when coaches do more with less, doesn't that say something about their abilities. Don't get me wrong, I think Coach Tressel is one of the best and I respect him greatly.
Adam Rittenberg: Whether it's fair or not, you're absolutely right about the Coach of the Year award, Wilson. It always seems to go to the coach who's team overachieved the most. But it's still amazing to think that a guy who has dominated the Big Ten pretty much since his arrival as Ohio State's head coach has never won COY. Let's say Ohio State enters the 2010 season as the favorite (almost a certainty) and wins the league by two games, ahead of a surprising Indiana or Minnesota team. Would Tressel finally win the award, or would it go to Bill Lynch or Tim Brewster?


BW from Atlanta writes: Hello Adam, why is so little information coming out about MSU's spring practice?

Adam Rittenberg: Patience, patience. I'm en route to East Lansing as you read this post, and I'll be covering the Spartans throughout the day. There also hasn't been much media coverage of Spartans football after the basketball team's surprise run to the Final Four. But don't worry, coverage of MSU will pick up fast.
Northwestern has suspended sophomore running back Alex Daniel until Sept. 5 for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Daniel, who came on strong last spring before suffering an ankle injury that kept him out the entire 2009 season, won't be able to participate in team activities until the end of his suspension. The length is important because Daniel had been expected to compete for a starting job at running back, which no one truly nailed down last fall.

Now he'll only be eligible to rejoin the team a day after the season opener at Vanderbilt (Sept. 4). The 6-foot, 195-pound Daniel, a native of Roswell, Ga., doesn't appear on Northwestern's spring roster.

The running back competition this spring features Arby Fields, Scott Concannon, Stephen Simmons and Mike Trumpy. Incoming recruit Adonis Smith will enter the mix this summer.

Simmons started the 2009 season at running back and showed some good signs before battling injuries. Fields and Concannon also had their moments, but the run game was a major weakness for the Wildcats and must get rectified soon. Daniel's situation certainly doesn't help matters.

Northwestern injury report

November, 19, 2009
11/19/09
5:30
PM ET
Northwestern has issued its official injury report for Saturday's home contest against No. 16 Wisconsin (Big Ten Network, 3:30 p.m. ET).

OUT

Despite Smith's continued absence from the starting lineup, this is the healthiest Northwestern has been since the opening weeks of the season. Linebacker Ben Johnson and guard Desmond Taylor, both of whom have started games this season, are off the injury report after missing the last few games. Smith told me Wednesday that he expects to play in Northwestern's bowl game, which is good news for the playmaking senior. Brian Peters once again gets the start in Smith's spot alongside Brad Phillips. Taylor is listed as the backup right guard on this week's depth chart, while Johnson could see some time at linebacker as Northwestern tries to bring down Wisconsin star running back John Clay.

Northwestern injury report

November, 12, 2009
11/12/09
6:09
PM ET
Northwestern has issued its official injury report for Saturday's game at Illinois (ESPN Classic, noon ET).

OUT
  • RB Alex Daniel, ankle (out for season)
  • LB Ben Johnson, leg
  • S Brendan Smith, thumb
  • G Desmond Taylor, shoulder

These are the same four names as last week, which in a sense is good news for a team that has dealt with injuries all season. Backup quarterback Dan Persa doesn't appear on the report despite leaving last week's game against Iowa with an injury to his throwing hand that appeared serious at first. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald said Persa has progressed well this week, and Northwestern might not need him as much since starter Mike Kafka is now two weeks removed from a hamstring injury. Smith's absence hurts in the secondary as Northwestern faces a talented group of Illinois wide receivers, led by Arrelious Benn. The Wildcats need safeties Brad Phillips and Brian Peters to be healthy and effective. The offensive line held up decently last week despite Taylor's absence.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Northwestern has issued its official injury report for Saturday's game at No. 4 Iowa (ESPN, noon ET).

OUT
  • RB Alex Daniel, ankle (out for season)
  • LB Ben Johnson, leg
  • S Brendan Smith, thumb
  • OL Desmond Taylor, shoulder

The big news is here no Mike Kafka. The Wildcats starting quarterback doesn't appear on the report despite leaving last week's loss to Penn State with a pulled left hamstring. Kafka didn't practice a ton this week, but the Big Ten passing leader is expected to give it a go against the Hawkeyes. Both Kafka and head coach Pat Fitzgerald said Monday that Kafka will play. Still, I'd expect backup quarterback Dan Persa to get a decent amount of snaps on Saturday. Kafka's mobility likely will be limited, and Persa can spark the option attack. The other notable absence from the report is cornerback Sherrick McManis, who has battled leg problems. Northwestern will need McManis, its top cover man, against Iowa's talented wide receivers. Smith will be missed in the secondary, and Brian Peters will get the start opposite Brad Phillips. Taylor appeared as a co-starter at right guard on this week's depth chart, but Doug Bartels will get the start.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Northwestern has issued its official injury report for Saturday's game against No. 12 Penn State (ESPN, 4:30 p.m. ET).

OUT
  • T Mike Boyle, back
  • RB Alex Daniel, ankle (out for season)
  • LB Bryce McNaul, leg
QUESTIONABLE
  • CB Sherrick McManis, leg

Northwestern has more banged-up players than the injury report indicates, but Wildcats fans should be encouraged to see only one starter (McManis) possibly missing the game. Safeties Brendan Smith and Brian Peters both likely will play with clubs on their injured hands, but simply getting Smith back on the field after two games could be big for NU. McManis has been one of the Big Ten's better cornerbacks when healthy this season, so his status will loom large as the Wildcats try to slow down Penn State's talented wide receivers. But according to the report, Northwestern will have at least three-fourths of its starting secondary on the field, plus Peters, who basically serves as a fifth starter. Defensive end Corey Wootton, safety Brad Phillips, running back Stephen Simmons, tight end Drake Dunsmore and others are dealing with injuries but aren't listed.

It wouldn't surprise me if a few key contributors are game-time decisions, but this indicates that the Wildcats are slowly getting healthier.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Northwestern has issued its official injury report for Saturday's home game against Indiana (Big Ten Network, noon ET).

OUT
  • OT Mike Boyle, back
  • RB Alex Daniel, ankle (out for season)
  • S Brendan Smith, hand
  • LB Bryce McNaul, leg
QUESTIONABLE
  • S Brad Phillips, shoulder
PROBABLE

The Wildcats could be without both of their starting safeties against Indiana, which boasts a good wide receiving corps. Smith underwent surgery last week on his hand but is expected back at some point this season. Phillips would be a big loss because he makes a ton of plays (three forced fumbles, one interception, one fumble recovery). Brian Peters, considered a third starter at safety, will step into one of the spots. Redshirt freshmen Jared Carpenter and Hunter Bates, the son of former Dallas Cowboys star Bill Bates, would be the next men in line at safety. Given the ongoing struggles in the run game, it's important that Northwestern gets either Schmidt or Simmons, if not both, on the field Saturday. The good news here is no Corey Wootton on the report, though the defensive end has clearly been limited by an ankle injury the last few weeks.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Northwestern has issued its official injury report for Saturday's game at Michigan State (ESPN2, noon ET).

OUT
  • T Mike Boyle, back
  • RB Alex Daniel, ankle (out for season)
  • LB Ben Johnson, leg
  • LB Bryce McNaul, leg
  • S Brendan Smith, hand
  • CB Justan Vaughn, leg
QUESTIONABLE
  • DT Jack DiNardo, shoulder

Injuries to key defensive players have hurt Northwestern all season, and Smith is the latest to go down. The three-year starter injured his hand last week against Miami (Ohio) and did not return. He's not expected to sit out too much time, but his playmaking ability will be missed. Fortunately for the Wildcats, Brian Peters has done an excellent job as the third safety this season and will slide into the starting spot next to Brad Phillips. The losses of Johnson, Vaughn and McNaul thin the depth at linebacker and cornerback, but none of the players are starters. The good news on the report is the absence of starting defensive end Corey Wootton, who missed most of the Miami game with an ankle injury. Wootton, a preseason All-America candidate, is still looking for his first sack this season.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Northwestern has issued its official injury report for Saturday's game against Miami (Ohio).

OUT
  • OT Mike Boyle, back
  • RB Alex Daniel, ankle (out for season)
  • DT Jack DiNardo, shoulder
  • LB Bryce McNaul, leg
DOUBTFUL
  • CB Justan Vaughn, leg
  • LB Ben Johnson, leg

The big news is a name that doesn't appear on the report, running back Stephen Simmons. The junior has missed the last three games with an ankle injury but is expected to return Saturday. He might be a little rusty, but Simmons provides a big boost for a rushing attack that ranks 10th in the Big Ten (121.8 yards per game). He performed very well in the first two games. Northwestern will be a little shorthanded at linebacker if both Johnson and McNaul can't go. Though Johnson lost his starting job to David Arnold, he brings some speed and play-making skills to the linebacker spot. Vaughn is back on the report after being removed last week.

Northwestern injury report

October, 1, 2009
10/01/09
3:10
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Northwestern has released its injury report for Saturday's game at Purdue (Big Ten Network, noon ET).

OUT
QUESTIONABLE
  • Defensive tackle Jack DiNardo, shoulder

Simmons' continued absence really hurts a rushing attack that hasn't looked the same since he hurt his ankle in Week 2 against Eastern Michigan. True freshman running back Arby Fields has shown bursts of promise, but the coaching staff seems to be more comfortable with sophomore Jacob Schmidt. Cornerback Justan Vaughn is off the injury report, which bolsters the secondary, while getting DiNardo on the field could be big for a struggling defensive line. Linebacker has been another spot plagued by injuries, and McNaul has struggled to stay healthy for much of his career.

Northwestern injury report

September, 24, 2009
9/24/09
5:14
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Northwestern has released its injury report for Saturday's game against Minnesota (Big Ten Network, noon ET).

OUT
  • Offensive tackle Mike Boyle, back
  • Running back Alex Daniel, ankle (out for season)
  • Running back Stephen Simmons, ankle
  • Cornerback Justan Vaughn, leg

Cornerback Sherrick McManis and middle linebacker Nate Williams are both off the injury report, which is excellent news for a Northwestern's defense that got shredded last week at Syracuse. McManis likely will be assigned to Minnesota star wide receiver Eric Decker on Saturday, while Williams should help a linebacking corps that didn't tackle well at all against the Orange.

Simmons' absence for the second straight week will sting, as Arby Fields and Jacob Schmidt likely will share most of the carries. The big question: Do the coaches really trust Fields, who has shown playmaking ability but makes some mistakes as well? Reserve running back Jeravin Matthews also is off the injury report, which adds more speed to the offense.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Northwestern has issued its injury report for Saturday's road game against Syracuse (ESPN360, 7 p.m. ET).

OUT
QUESTIONABLE
The big name here is Simmons, who has performed very well as Northwestern's starter in the first two games (150 rush yards, 2 TDs). The junior likely sustained the injury on his second touchdown run against Eastern Michigan. If he can't go, true freshman Arby Fields likely would get the start.

Head coach Pat Fitzgerald said Wednesday that McManis is probable, and the Wildcats need him on the field to cover Syracuse standout receiver Mike Williams. Northwestern really missed McManis last week.

Matthews can be a playmaker as a runner and a receiver, so his presence would be big for the offense.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Northwestern released its injury report for Saturday's opener against Towson.

OUT
  • LB David Arnold, leg
  • CB Mike Bolden, leg
  • RB Alex Daniel, ankle (season)
  • DT Adam Hahn, foot
QUESTIONABLE
  • DT Jack DiNardo, knee

Hahn is the only projected starter from the group, and both he and Bolden, a second-stringer, are expected to return at some point. Daniel's injury hurts the depth at running back a bit, and Northwestern looks a little thin at defensive tackle for the opener.

Big Ten mailbag

May, 26, 2009
5/26/09
3:49
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

A week's worth of mail to sift through today ...

Vincent from Westerville, Ohio, writes: Hi Adam, do you think that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney is unfairly criticized or attacked? It seems like every time there's a topic, it's his comments that get pointed out (already realizing he may be the most powerful commissioner in the NCAA). And why is it always the Big Ten that has to expand? No one is asking the Pac-10, Big 12 or SEC to expand, and the Pac-10 doesn't have a championship game either.

Adam Rittenberg: I think to a certain extent, you're right. Delany is often the target for criticism, and it's because to many folks, he represents the old guard in college football, the traditionalists who are resistant to change the game. But you hit on a great point about Delany being powerful. Whether fans want to acknowledge it or not, Delany holds tremendous power with the NCAA and throughout college sports. If his opinion didn't hold so much weight, there wouldn't be as much criticism toward him. As for expansion in other leagues, the Big 12 and SEC already satisfy the championship-game crowd, and the Pac-10 plays a true round robin and extends its regular season until the first weekend of December, unlike the Big Ten. There's less to criticize with those leagues.


Charles from Linden, Mich., writes: How does Norm Parker continue to put top defenses on the field, no matter how many guys he loses each year, no matter where he is (Michigan State, Vanderbilt or Iowa) his success doesn't waiver, Is this a question of system over talent and how come more DC's can't be as consistant.

Adam Rittenberg: Parker's success stems from an unwavering belief in his system. Many defensive coordinators are tempted to shake things up these days, especially with the rise of the spread offense, but Parker sticks to what he has run over the years. Opponents know exactly what they're getting from Iowa's defense, and they still have a tough time moving the ball. Iowa also is always very technically sound on defense, and polished techniques and fundamentals always make the scheme less essential.


Jason from Illinois writes: Adam, I happened to see the Big East blogger did its conference workout warriors are we going to see anything like that from you for the Big Ten? How was Martez Wilson, Matt Mayberry and Brandon Graham not on the original list by the way?

Adam Rittenberg: The Workout Warriors stems from a piece my colleague Bruce Feldman does every year at this time. This year's story did not include any players from the Big Ten, although Feldman did include Martez Wilson and Brandon Graham in the "just missed the cut" section. Since the Big Ten didn't make the rundown, I wrote instead about Wisconsin's strength program under new coach Ben Herbert. There certainly are some exceptional weight-room guys in the Big Ten, and I'd certainly include the three names you mention.


Chad from Parts Unknown writes: My question revolves around the depth Michigan State has at QB, with Cousins and Nichol going head to head for the starting job and Andrew Maxwell coming in the fall, how do you see this position working out over the mext few years and will the you see Maxwell or Cousins transfer if Nichol is named the starter.

Adam Rittenberg: It's a very interesting question, Chad. Kirk Cousins doesn't seem like the type of guy who would transfer if he didn't win the job. He's got other plans academically, and I'm sure he would still get some playing time even if Keith Nichol was the starter. As for Maxwell, he'll almost certainly redshirt this season, so I don't think you need to worry about a transfer scenario with him until a few years down the line.


Mike from Evanston, Ill., writes: Adam, Thanks for keeping Northwestern so well represented in your blog. One Wildcat who you have given a lot of hype has been sophomore Jeravin Matthews, the converted WR/special teams player who is now in the Cats' system as a RB. Im excited about Matthews potential out of the backfield, but I really question his ability to carry the load in the conference season due to his size (5'11'', 170). Simmons, who has seemed to assume the role of #1 back heading into the summer, is also a undersized at 5'8', 175. What do you think about the possibility of Alex Daniel or Mike Trumpy, the incoming freshman, assuming the role of featured back in '09? Daniel was a pleasant surprise in the spring game, and Trumpy seems to have gotten significant praise coming out of high school. Do you think Matthews could be better used as a secondary back who could also line up at receiver in the Cats no-huddle spread?

Adam Rittenberg: You bring up some excellent points, Mike, and size is a concern with both Simmons and Matthews. You would think that after seeing bigger backs like Jason Wright and Noah Herron perform well in this offense, Northwestern would be signing more big backs. I haven't seen enough of Daniel or Trumpy to brand them a serious candidate to start, but expect to see a larger rotation than normal at running back. Northwestern's best between-the-tackles runner might actually be quarterback Mike Kafka, so it's more important to have a guy who can pass protect and catch the ball out of the backfield. To me, Matthews is the perfect fit.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Northwestern's post-spring depth chart is out, and there aren't too many revelations.

Senior Mike Kafka remains the top quarterback and junior Stephen Simmons the top running back. Sophomore Jeravin Matthews and redshirt freshman Alex Daniel are competing for the No. 2 running back spot, though I could see either player claiming the top job at some point.

The only significant change is senior wide receiver Zeke Markshausen moving into a starting job at inside receiver ahead of Charles Brown. Northwestern boasts good depth at superback (tight end/fullback), with Josh Rooks still the starter ahead of both Drake Dunsmore and Brendan Mitchell.

Position battles to watch include right tackle (Kurt Mattes or Desmond Taylor) and defensive tackle (Adam Hahn or Marshall Thomas or Jack DiNardo). The starting linebacker corps appears set, though Northwestern might want to take a look at Matthews as a kickoff return man alongside Simmons and Sherrick McManis.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

BIG TEN SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12