Big Ten: Corey Freeman

Wisconsin-Michigan State pregame

October, 22, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- A few notes from warmups as we get set for No. 6 Wisconsin at No. 16 Michigan State.
  • Wisconsin top wide receiver Nick Toon went through warmups and didn't seem limited. Toon missed last week's game against Indiana with a left foot injury and had surgery on the foot during the offseason.
  • Badgers starting defensive tackle Patrick Butrym also warmed up but seemed to be favoring his left ankle, which he injured last week against Indiana. Butrym worked alongside fellow starter Ethan Hemer. Jordan Kohout likely would be the next man in at defensive tackle.
  • As expected, sophomore Denzel Drone worked as the starting defensive end in William Gholston's spot. Corey Freeman likely would be the next man in behind Drone.

Much more to come from Spartan Stadium. Don't forget to chat with us throughout the game.

B1G Friday mailblog

April, 29, 2011
I'll have a full Big Ten NFL draft wrap-up Monday and might sneak it a post or two this weekend as the final rounds take place.

As always, you can contact me here. Now onto your questions.

JZ from Bloomington, Ind., writes: Adam, I really like what I am seeing and hearing from the IU football team this spring. There definitely seems to be change in tone to the overall program. However, I have one concern about Coach Wilson. He seems to have not embraced IU or the fans at all. I have talked to a few fellow fans that have met the coach or had interactions with him around town, and all are less than impressed. He is at best described as gruff, and worst a total... you can guess. His incident at the dorms this winter, compounded with him losing so many coaches so quickly, only adds to my concerns about his character. Wins will help him no matter what, and this town dealt with Bob Knight for a long time. Yet I have always felt this program needs someone personable to coach it. I am curious if you think Coach Wilson needs to be more personable to be an overall success at IU?

Adam Rittenberg: JZ, Bill Lynch was the nicest guy in the world and he went 3-21 in the Big Ten the past three seasons. Having known Kevin for quite some time, he can be a bit of an acquired taste, and he's certainly not a rah-rah guy. But here's what he is: a brutally honest coach who has won at the highest levels. Players will know exactly where they stand with him, and I believe he will win in Bloomington eventually. I understand that appealing to the fan base is important, especially one like Indiana's that needs something to smile about, but Wilson's top priority is the team and turning things around on the field. The assistant coaches leaving was unfortunate, but I'm not sure it's a red flag about Wilson's character. Indiana is a program that needs an edge, and Wilson seems to be providing one.

Lauren from Washington writes: "Can the Big Ten still make these claims after the Jim Tressel mess at Ohio State?" I'm highly dissapointed in this comment/article Adam. Ohio State is ONE school, there are 11 other schools in this confrence! Do not start to lump us all together as "shady" off of what Ohio St. has done. It makes it even worse now that B1G's very own ESPN blogger has started doubting his confrence's character legitimacy?

Adam Rittenberg: Ah, the "Big Ten's very own blogger" argument, my favorite. Or is it the "you're a nerd and never played football" claim? Both get high marks for originality. ... Anyway, here's the deal. Yes, Ohio State is only one school. But it's the Big Ten's most visible program because of its success, and Jim Tressel is the Big Ten's most visible coach other than the iconic Joe Paterno. The fact that Ohio State and Michigan are appearing before the Committee on Infractions in consecutive seasons is significant because these are big-time programs that have largely avoided major NCAA trouble. The moral high ground also applies to off-field incidents, and quite a few Big Ten programs -- Iowa, Penn State, Michigan State -- have endured some rough stretches off the field in recent years. As I stated in the post, the Big Ten still has to have a few more major scandals to catch up to the SEC, but the Ohio State situation certainly damages the Big Ten's reputation.

Adam from Baltimore writes: Hey Adam,You may accuse me of being petty an selfish on this, but I have to say it. You reported the death of Mandich and it is very sad that he passed away so early from a horrific disease. And in no way am I trying to trivialize death or what he accomplished both on and off the field at the collegiate and professional levels. But I had just had to ask how you decide which stories on former players to post on. Lynn Chandnois passed away last week and he was arguably one of the best players in MSU history and yet he got a lunch link. I also realize that the story about Chandnois got picked up by the ESPN general site and I'm not accusing you of bias or anything else, because I know you can't report on every single thing and keeping track of every player ever to have gone through a B1G football program is impossible. But I just had to ask how do you decide which ones to report on?

Adam Rittenberg: Adam, this is a fair question. It honestly comes down to time and timing. There are stretches during days or even weeks when I simply don't have time to do full posts on everything. While I wanted to do more on Lynn Chandnois, a terrific player, I had other assignments that took precedence that day. The news about Mandich broke at night, and I had time to do a full post for the next day. So it's definitely not a slight at Chandnois or Michigan State. I'll try to at least link to every significant story in the Big Ten, but during especially busy times like spring ball and the season, I can't get to everything.

Brian from Aliedo, Ill., writes: Adam, Please don't use the 'B1G' moniker. I think it looks stupid and from all the backlash of when it first came out I'm not alone. Hopefully if people don't use and and don't buy into it the Big 10 will change it sooner rather than later.

Adam Rittenberg: Sorry, Brian, as you see above and in the lunch links, the "B1G" will be incorporated into the Big Ten blog. In addition to saving headline space, I think this mark is resonating with a large portion of Big Ten fans. I see it included in many emails every week. It'll also be visible on my new background for videos. While we can and should continue to debate things like Leaders and Legends and the logos, this one seems to be passing muster.

Cory from Nebraska writes: Adam, What is going on with MSU players? I would have thought both players and the coaching staff would have learned something after the residence hall incident but apparently not. As an alum I'm willing to chalk a small lapse in judgement or two to youth but I don't feel like any improvement is being made particularly after this latest incident with Freeman. As an alum I love MSU and want to see the teams in all sports do well but I don't think winning requires the schools reputation and integrity to be compromised and the embarassment these incidents as a whole are beginning to bring. Do you have any insights that might help me feel better about all this?

Adam Rittenberg: Cory, I doubt I can make you or any fan feel better about off-field incidents. You can look at each case individually, and regarding Corey Freeman, while it's unfortunate, he didn't commit capital offenses. Same with Chris L. Rucker last year. You can also look at the program as a whole, and I think there are some valid concerns about off-field incidents and the response from the coaching staff. Whether it's true or not, the larger perception is that Michigan State goes soft on players who make mistakes off the field. This is mainly reinforced by how the Spartans handled Glenn Winston and also Rucker last year. So while the individual cases might not be too bad, they do add up over time.

Vince from San Diego writes: Adam, I heard your Podcast with Ivan and Beano. Great point about vacating all OSU wins sans the Sugar Bowl as the NCAA already knew the players were ineligible. That being said, with the NCAA's NOA letter pointing squarely at Tressel...not OSU, wouldnt it also be illogical to hit the OSU with scholarship reductions and a bowl ban (assuming the "repeat offender" tag isnt used) and make more sense to slap Tress individually with a "show cause" penalty? P.S. I hope the price to keep Tress isnt too high, I went to OSU during the Cooper years!

Adam Rittenberg: You bring up some great points, Vince, and the Committee on Infractions will have to consider whether to hammer Tressel, Ohio State, both or neither when it renders its verdict. I also wonder how the focus on Tressel affects Ohio State as it presents its case before the COI. Do the Buckeyes throw The Vest under the bus? As for the penalties, any truly severe sanction for Tressel directly affects the program, such as a show-cause and recruiting restrictions. The NCAA could come down so hard on Tressel that it forces Ohio State to part ways with him. But after reading the Notice of Allegations, it seems likelier Tressel gets hit harder than Ohio State (scholarship reductions, postseason ban, etc.).

Brandon from Columbus, Neb., writes: Adam, Just a question regarding Ohio State's issues. Is the suspensions for the players final or can the NCAA enact stricter penalties as more and more info comes out? 5 games doesn't seem like enough to drive the point home that players need to be smarter and know right from wrong themselves. The way to fix college football is to let players know there are severe repercussions and get them to help police themselves!

Adam Rittenberg: The players' cases with the NCAA have been resolved, unless new information surfaces. The five-game suspensions were upheld back in March. I'd disagree with you about five games not being enough to drive the point home. Five games is a lot for a college football player, especially seniors trying to impress NFL scouts in their final seasons. And while the players' violations were significant, selling memorabilia items isn't the same as academic fraud, point shaving, etc. Most would agree coach Jim Tressel's mistake -- not coming forward with information about the players despite multiple chances to do so -- is far worse than the players' violations.
Michigan State defensive end Corey Freeman has been suspended for Saturday's spring game after being ticketed Monday for driving on a suspended license and for not disclosing to a police officer that he was carrying a concealed weapon.

Freeman faces a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine for the driving on a suspended license charge, and could face additional fines for the weapons charge. The good news: he has a permit for the weapon.

The junior from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, has been working as a reserve defensive end this spring. He appeared in 11 games last season and recorded six tackles (two tackles for loss).

A team spokesman told the Lansing State Journal that Freeman was suspended for the spring game for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Freeman's citation marks the second off-field incident this spring for Michigan State. Tight end Brian Linthicum and linebacker Max Bullough both were arrested last month in Aspen, Colo., after being involved in a bar fight. Both Linthicum and Bullough received probation and missed the first few spring practices before returning to the field.

Michigan State's spring game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
Here's the second half of my interview with Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio. For Part I, click here.

Toward the end of last year, you had some defensive linemen emerge, guys like [Jerel] Worthy and [Blake] Treadwell. Who are you excited about up there?

Mark Dantonio: We got two great young players last year in Treadwell and Worthy playing pretty well. They'll only get better, although Worthy's a bit jammed up because of an injury. At defensive end, Tyler Hoover's a guy who will begin to play more and better. He's going into his third year now, he's 6-foot-6, 265, he's an outstanding athlete. Denzel Drone, Corey Freeman, Colin Neely comes back with a lot of time under his belt. And Kevin Pickelman, he's up to 280 pounds now, and he's going to have an outstanding spring. Really, we've got 13 players back on defense with substantial time as a starter at one point in time. And 13 on offense who have started at one point in time. We do have players back, but we have to solidify depth issues.

How about the secondary? You lost a couple guys there, but you have quite a few who have played. How does that unit need to improve?

MD: We have four guys back with plenty of experience. They've all started at one point in time, whether it was [Trenton] Robinson or [Chris L.] Rucker or Marcus Hyde or Johnny Adams. So that gives us a nucleus on which to build. And then guys like Jairus Jones are going to come in and play, and some of our young freshmen, Dana Dixon. We need to get better at the back end. We need to get better as a football team.

When you talk about defense, you talk about points scored, and usually you look at third-down efficiency, how you play in the red zone, and turnovers. When you look at us, we were No. 2 in the conference in sacks [35]. Third-and-long, we were fine, 75-80 percent. But third-and-short and third-and-medium is where we fell down. We didn't play well enough in the red zone, and then we didn't come up with enough turnovers. So that's where it starts to look you in the face statistically. I'm not that concerned with the yards, as long as it doesn't lead to touchdowns. You never know where those yards come from. But you need to get off the field on third down, you need to have turnovers, you need to play well in the red zone, and we'll work to correct that.

Pass defense, it's a total team thing, so you need to be able to transition from the defensive line, from playing the run to stopping the pass, to create a pass rush in a four-man scheme. Our linebackers also have to play better. On the flip side of it, we were 25th in the nation versus the run, and that's something we can build on.

Greg Jones, in talking about why he was coming back, mentioned how he wants to improve in pass coverage. Are there things you can see him doing to be more involved there?

MD: He made a statement for our football team, not just as a player but as a captain, as a team member, being unselfish and coming back here. Everyone always can improve. Certainly I can improve. So when you're in the same place in the same system, you always look for major improvement. Greg's a pass rusher, too. He had 9.5 sacks, so you can't negate that aspect of our defensive football team, but he will become better at the [middle] linebacker, having been full time in there last year. And that's the exciting thing. He provides a catalyst for our defense, and we can play around him.

I wanted to ask you about the offensive line. It's tough when you lose players like Rocco Cironi and Joel Nitchman. How do you see that group shaping up? And also Arthur Ray, how is he progressing? Will he be able to play?

MD: Arthur is able to run, he's able to jog, he's able to do some drills on his own. He's able to, at this point in time, lead a normal life, and that's a tremendous thing for a young man who has been on crutches for the last year and three quarters. His bone is healing. He hopes to play in the near future, within maybe a year. We'll have to petition the Big Ten office for that. We would have room for that at this point, but that's something the doctors have to decide on, and his family. But me, personally, and our entire football staff and team, are thrilled to have Arthur out there every single day, just seeing him walk and catch a ball and run around. He's reconditioning himself to be a football player. Where that takes him? Time will tell. But I can look at him now and say, 'There is a possibility.' So we'll have to make that decision probably next spring at this time.

And then just with the offensive line as a whole, what's your outlook there?

MD: Offensive line and kicker are the two areas where we have to develop the most. We have a kicker with no experience back. [Dan] Conroy kicked one field goal [in 2009], but for the most part, it's been [Brett] Swenson's job for four years. So Kevin Muma and Conroy will compete for that, and it'll be interesting to see how that plays out. Offensive line wise, we have progressed and we have been able to take the past program's offensive linemen and they've been very, very productive for us. Joel Foreman has been the only guy that we've recruited that we've used extensively last year, although D.J. Young is a guy who came on with us. So two guys. But for the most part, Cironi, [Brendon] Moss, Nitchman, they were the last staff's young people.

So it's time now for our guys. Two of our guys have three years in, four others have two years in, and then we have some guys that have one year in. They have to grow up, they have to get experience and that experience has to show in spring, fall camp and then through our first couple games. That will be a work in progress, but I do think we have talent at that position. There's so many moving parts there that they have to understand what to do and do it at a high rate of speed.



Saturday, 10/25