Big Ten: Chris Norwell
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
I'm back in Chicago, so these links are served cold.
- As he prepares to fully take ownership of the offense, Ohio State freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor wasn't hearing the "moral victory" talk Monday night, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
"'It's not good enough,' he said. 'We needed to win that game. We did hang with them, and we should have had them.'
In no uncertain terms, Pryor is setting the tone for next season, which will be his first full year as the starter."
- The members of Illinois' 2007 Rose Bowl team are rallying around former defensive tackle Chris Norwell, who was diagnosed with cancer in October, Terry Bannon writes in the Chicago Tribune.
- Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi wasn't shocked to see two coordinators resign, Kent Youngblood writes in the Star Tribune. Major Applewhite and Chuck Long are among the possible replacements for the Gophers.
- The Big Ten has been in denial about its bowl failures for most of this decade, Tom Oates writes in the Wisconsin State Journal.
"It has been slow to accept the fact it is down, down, down. That's fitting because Big Ten teams have been slow to react to the changes in college football, especially the trend toward fast-paced, speed-based offenses."
- Iowa recruiting coordinator/linebackers coach Eric Johnson could be headed to Alabama, The Gazette's Marc Morehouse writes in his blog.
- Quarterback Tate Forcier and five other early enrollees at Michigan begin classes today, Mark Snyder writes in the Detroit Free Press.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
I didn't get a chance to have the regular Friday mailbag, so here are a few items before the early kickoffs.
Andy from Grand Rapids, Mich., writes: Michigan has a very capable running back in Sam McGuffie who I think will be the future of the position. However, we have seen Brandon Minor break several large runs this year and Carlos Brown has also exhibited great speed. Why is Rich Rod not giving our veteran running backs a little better look out there? Do you think he should be working them into the slot position, direct snaps, etc...? It seems like a bit of a waste of talent. Thanks!
Adam Rittenberg: Rodriguez saw last week the benefit of having multiple running backs in the game. Junior Kevin Grady provided a big lift in short-yardage situations, and Minor had the big touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Brown won't be available today with a sprained foot, but Minor, Grady and Michael Shaw should see time alongside McGuffie. You're absolutely right. Michigan needs its veteran running backs in the game, even if McGuffie is the future. Both Brown and Minor have value, and they both should be used more as the season progresses.
Brian from Baltimore writes: How arrogant is Beanie Wells that he could even think for a minute that he can win the Heisman? Even in the games he's played in, he hasn't posted Heisman worthy numbers.
Adam Rittenberg: Wells might come off that way, but I see it as confidence more than anything, which is never bad. He wants to carry the load for this team, and quite frankly, Ohio State needed someone to step up after the first few games. It will be nearly impossible for Wells to even be in the Heisman discussion, but he still believes he's one of the best players int the country, and more important, so do his teammates. Beanie Wells is the best leader on that team, not the seniors.
Bob from Parts Unknown writes: Adam As you cover the Big 10 - doesnt the completion percentage of Brian Hoyer depend on the receivers helping catch balls in the game. I have watched all the games and certainly there are incomplete passes....but also too many drops from a young receiving corps - something the media all questioned going into the season. So isn't Hoyer overall performance a bit better than his stats show.
Adam Rittenberg: Dropped passes are definitely a factor for Michigan State and several other teams (Wisconsin), but it would take an awful lot of drops to put the completion percentage at 46.5 percent. To his credit, Hoyer hasn't made a lot of mistakes, just two interceptions in 157 pass attempts, but I just can't see Michigan State making a serious run at the Big Ten title without its quarterback completing better than 50 percent of his passes. Hoyer manages a game very well, but he's got to make more plays. Mark Dell and B.J. Cunningham are solid receivers and should be used more.