Big Ten: Dan Roushar

The true assessment for Michigan State's Jack Allen doesn't come during games but immediately after them.

After the clock expires, Allen, the Spartans' 6-foot-1, 300-pound junior center, heads to midfield with his teammates for the traditional postgame exchange with their opponent. He will look for the defensive players with whom he mashed plastic, metal, skin and bone for three-plus hours. If they approach him with right hands extended, he'll reciprocate.

Deep down, he hopes they look the other way.

[+] EnlargeJack Allen
Mark Cunningham/Getty ImagesCenter Jack Allen brings a wrestling mentality to the Michigan State offensive line.
"If the other guy at the end of the game shakes my hand, I didn't do a good enough job," Allen told "There were a few games where defensive tackles and linebackers didn't want to see me ever again.

"I've done my job when they don't want to go out there any more."

The postgame escape, in Allen's mind, is football's version of tapping out, a term he knows well as a state champion wrestler in high school.

Allen was a three-time all-state wrestler at Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois, winning the Class 3A state title at 285 pounds as a senior. He holds Hindsale Central's record for career wins (143) and had second-place finishes at the state meet as a junior and a sophomore.

The success on the mat has shaped Allen's approach on the field: You’re going to get beat up, but come back tomorrow so you can get beat up a little less. When a guy’s not as good, you’re supposed to beat him bad. You try to pound everybody.

"Just finishing plays," MSU offensive line coach Mark Staten said, "to the last vibration of the whistle."

Allen helped Michigan State finish its best season in decades with Big Ten and Rose Bowl championships in December and January. After starting 12 games as a redshirt freshman at center and left guard, Allen solidified himself at center in 2013, starting the final 12 games for a line that limited sacks (17, tied for third-fewest in the league) and wore down opponents late in games.

He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors (media) and recorded 68 knockdowns.

"He was the bulldozer," Staten said, "the guy that kept things going, brought that bit of nastiness every single play. He cannot stand to lose; it doesn't matter if it's a play, a series or a game.

"As combative as he is with the wrestling, it just suited us."

Allen's approach traces to the mat, where his bloodlines run deep: his father, John, wrestled at Purdue in the early 1980s; uncle Jim Zajicek wrestled and played football at Northwestern and coached Jack at Hinsdale Central; younger brothers Brian and Matt both wrestle. Brian Allen not only has followed his brother's wrestling success, winning the Class 3A 285-pound title as a junior, when he went 48-0, but will play center at MSU. Brian arrived on campus Monday and will live two blocks from Jack. He'll wear No. 65 for the Spartans and occupy the locker next to Jack's (No. 66).

John Allen didn't push his sons toward wrestling. He simply wanted them expending their endless energy in some athletic endeavor, mainly to spell their mother, Leslie. "He wanted to give my mom some time to get away from all the nuts-ness," Jack said. The boys played everything -- basketball, baseball, soccer -- but gravitated toward two: wrestling and football.

"We never played any soft sports," Jack said. "It was always contact."

John Allen, a self-described "wrestling homer," sees parallels between wrestling and football, especially when he watches his eldest son. The emphasis on balance, the importance of the first step and hand position and mental toughness translate between the sports.

"Every time you snap the football," John said, "it's like a wrestling match for the first couple seconds."

Wrestling undoubtedly prepared Jack for Big Ten football, but it wasn't his only driver.

Just 215 pounds as a high school sophomore, Allen didn't find himself on the football radar for major college teams. He wanted to play at a Big Ten school, but for a while, wrestling seemed like his ticket to get there. He didn't start to gain weight until he was a junior, when then-MSU assistant Dan Roushar began targeting him.

"If I had a nickel for every guy who told me he was too small I could buy a lot of coffee," John Allen said. "I was grateful that Coach [Mark] Dantonio gave him a chance, but it came later for him. People kind of passed over him."

Allen's top goal last season was to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors. He came up short. His second goal: to play with a chip on his shoulder and never get pushed around.

Mission accomplished.

"A lot of people didn't believe he could do what he's trying to do," John Allen said. "He plays kind of angry. Sometimes, it's scary."

It's also what Michigan State's offensive line needs.

He's our physicality, he's our mentality and he's our attitude.

-- Michigan State offensive line coach Mark Staten, on center Jack Allen
Dantonio has built the program on an aggressive, stifling defense that consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally. But few Big Ten programs take the next step with an unremarkable offensive line, which MSU had until last year.

"We're going to hit you and keep on hitting you," Spartans tackle Jack Conklin said. "Teams start to give up after you beat them up so many times, and it starts from [Allen]."

MSU returns quarterback Connor Cook, running back Jeremy Langford and almost all of its top offensive skill players from the Rose Bowl team. But the Spartans lose three line starters, including guard Blake Treadwell, a co-captain.

To maintain the standard, Allen needs an even better season. He improved from the neck up this spring, diagnosing safety depth, linebacker alignment and any tells from the down linemen while making all the line calls for MSU.

"We go as he goes, I always tell him," Staten said. "He's our physicality, he's our mentality and he's our attitude."

Allen embraces the increased responsibility.

"I need to have a lot of good days," he said, "to do what we want to do this year."

Good days for Allen consist of two things: Spartans victories and no handshakes afterward.
LOS ANGELES -- Documents have yet to be drafted and pens haven't quiet made their way to paper, but Michigan State fans can feel good about the future of their football coaching staff.

Athletic director Mark Hollis on Monday reiterated that discussions about raises for coach Mark Dantonio and his assistants remain in a very good place. Hollis and Dantonio have had several discussions, and agreements could be finalized shortly after the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO. Dantonio, arguably the nation's top coaching bargain with a salary of $1.96 million this year, will receive a $2 million longevity bonus in January as well as a bump in salary going forward. Dantonio, one of only a few major-conference coaches who doesn't have an agent, has given every indication he will return to MSU for an eighth season (and many more).

"We've verbalized where we want to be with the entire staff, with the coordinators, with the assistant coaches and with Mark," Hollis said. "Those numbers ensure continuity if the choice of the coaches are to remain at Michigan State. We've stepped forward. I get concerned sometimes about where we're going with coaches' salaries as an industry, but at the same time, as a coach, you need to ensure that continuity is in place."

Hollis added that the worst thing that can happen to a program is losing a coach after becoming wrapped up in "short-term thinking." He's completely in line with Dantonio regarding staff continuity.

Dantonio has had only four assistants depart since arriving at Michigan State in 2007 -- two for college head-coaching positions (Dan Enos and Don Treadwell) and one for an NFL coordinator job (Dan Roushar). Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi was a prime candidate for the head-coaching vacancy at Connecticut but intends on staying at MSU. Other assistants like secondary coach Harlon Barnett, quarterbacks coach Brad Salem and linebackers/special teams coach Mike Tressel could be targeted for other jobs.

Michigan State has examined the coaching salary market, both within the Big Ten and nationally, to determine potential raises.

"We're getting down more into the smaller details," Hollis said. "When you get down to it, it's, 'What am I being paid and how safe do I feel being the coach here?' Those are the two pieces we're trying to put together.

"We're very comfortable where the basic components of compensation for our staff are, in order to ensure continuity."

Big Ten Friday mailblog

April, 19, 2013
We'll recap the Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin spring games on Monday. Wishing you a happy and safe weekend. After this week, we need it.

To the emails ...

Andrew from Fremont, Ind., writes: Adam you went to Purdue this spring and after seeing my beloved Boilers my question is: Is 2013 the year the Shillelagh returns to its rightful place in West Lafayette? I realize Notre Dame is coming off a flop in the BCS National Championship, but Purdue put the fear of God in to the Irish last year before falling 17-20. One thing Coach Hope was noted for was playing up the supposedly much better teams, and I really think one criteria for a first successful season for Hazzell could be a win over Notre Dame.

Adam Rittenberg: Andrew, you're right that Purdue and Notre Dame played a very competitive game last year, and the Boilers benefit from getting the Irish at Ross-Ade this fall. But Notre Dame likely will be a heavy favorite, and if Purdue has any hope of the upset, it needs a flawless performance along the line of scrimmage. Notre Dame appears to have a significant edge up front, especially with its defensive line, led by Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt. Purdue's offensive line must be able to match that. The Irish also could be improved offensively this season as quarterback Everett Golson and others boast more experience. From watching Purdue practice, I saw a lot of speed on the field, but size-wise, the Boilers are lacking a bit.

Spencer from Columbus, Ohio, writes: That's great about Sparty's D, but what about their O? All of us here in Columbus can't believe they hired Jim Bollman as the OC!!!! We are moving forward at the speed of light with Urban and Tom Herman and Sparty took a step back to the stone age!

Adam Rittenberg: There's a multitude of questions surrounding Michigan State's offense, and the coordinator changes are among them. While Bollman's hiring was greeted mostly with skepticism, it's important to note that Dave Warner will call the offensive plays. It's fair to ask whether Michigan State has modernized its offense enough, and we'll learn more this fall, but few complained about the Spartans' offensive structure in 2011, when the team won the Legends division and the Outback Bowl. I wouldn't expect that structure to change much under Warner, who worked under Dan Roushar and has been on the staff for years. But Michigan State's coaches also are stressing the quarterback run more, and the need for quarterbacks to improvise when plays break down rather than always waiting for plays to develop. Offensive creativity is a must in today's college football, and Michigan State needs to move more in that direction.

Adam from Chicago writes: Hey adam,I have a question about the three person qb race at iu. I know many believe Tre Roberson is the frontrunner and the best option because of his dual threat ability to run and pass, but I feel that his passing ability is far behind sudfeld's and coffman's. With indiana's up tempo offense and their success last year offensively, I feel that coffman or sudfeld are the better options. your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Adam, you make a good point about the nature of Indiana's offense, and I'll add to it by pointing out the Hoosiers' strength at wide receiver. IU might have the league's top receiving corps this fall with Cody Latimer, Shane Wynn, Kofi Hughes and others. You want to maximize that threat in the offense. Roberson told me this spring that he's still a bit rusty with all the time off and is still looking to find the rhythm as a passer. Remember, Roberson passed the ball well in the season opener last season (26-for-36, 280 yards, TD) after an inconsistent freshman season. The coaches think Roberson can effectively run the offense as a dual-threat quarterback, but if Sudfeld or Coffman separates himself as a passer, I doubt they'll hesitate to use them instead. Sudfeld really seemed to take step forward this spring, and both he and Coffman passed the ball well in the spring game. Kevin Wilson places a premium on completion percentage in his offense.

"Right now, if you had completed 63 percent of your balls last year, you would have been 60th in the country," Wilson told me last summer. "I remember [the target] was 58 percent when I was at [North] Carolina in the '80s, and that would have been in the bottom half of college football. It used to be, you thought two out of three [passes completed] was great. Now it's three out of four. That's where the spread has evolved, too."

Bottom line: Indiana's quarterback needs to be accurate, especially with such a strong receiving corps at his disposal. If Roberson can't meet those standards, he won't be the guy.

Ryan from Madison, Wis., writes: Any word on the status of the non-conference series scheduled between Wisconsin and Maryland in 2020 and 2021? Is there a pretty good chance that the games will just be converted into conference games?

Adam Rittenberg: Yes, the games definitely will become league games, and the dates might be changed based on Big Ten schedules, division alignment, etc. A more pressing example of this is the Penn State-Rutgers series in 2014 and 2015. I've been told these games will be league contests -- almost certainly division games, too -- and even though they're scheduled for mid-September, it's unlikely those dates will be changed.

Jason from Northville, Mich., writes: Do you see any Big Ten players high on the watchlists for national awards?

Adam Rittenberg: Jason, I do. Starting with the Heisman Trophy, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller will enter the season as one of the leading candidates. Other Big Ten players like Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez could work their way into the mix. Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan is one of the top candidates for the Outland Trophy. Other potential award candidates include Penn State receiver Allen Robinson (Biletnikoff), Northwestern running back Venric Mark (Doak Walker), Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien (Lou Groza), Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard for the Jim Thorpe Award, and Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland and Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier for the Butkus Award.

Mike from Papillion, Neb., writes: Why isn't Rex Burkhead getting any love on the draft boards? Even though his knee injury hindered his senior season, I still think he is a solid pick for any team looking for a great player with a variety of skills. He reminds me a lot of Wes Welker, and I think he can be just as successful. He has the work ethic to get a lot better and play for many years if the knee injury doesn't come back.

Adam Rittenberg: The knee problems definitely hurt Rex's stock a bit, but so does the position he plays. NFL teams have become increasingly leery of drafting running backs, even those with no injury history, in the early rounds. Burkhead showed in 2011 that he can handle the load as a featured back, but he doesn't appear to project to the NFL in the same way. His versatility is what truly stands out, and while I don't know whether the Wes Welker comparison jives, Burkhead can help a team in a variety of ways. He'll find a home in the NFL, and I wouldn't be surprised one bit if he has a successful pro career. But it's not a shock that he isn't projected as a high draft pick.
Former Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar undoubtedly absorbed the brunt of the criticism for the unit's struggles in 2012.

But starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell wasn't far behind.

Seemingly the perfect successor to Kirk Cousins, both in skill set and personality, Maxwell traveled a bumpy road in his first season at the controls. He finished fourth in the Big Ten in passing (200.5 yards per game) but completed just 52.5 percent of his passes with 13 touchdown strikes and nine interceptions. His quarterback rating of 107.1 didn't rank among the top 100 passers nationally.

[+] EnlargeMichigan State's Andrew Maxwell
Andrew Weber/US PresswireDespite coming off an underwhelming season, Andrew Maxwell enters spring practice as the Spartans' starter.
Although the junior started all 13 games for the Spartans, he was replaced by Connor Cook in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl win against TCU. When Michigan State revamped the offensive staff following Roushar's departure to the New Orleans Saints, a quarterback competition this spring would seem to be a logical step as the unit tries to get back on track.

There will be competition, head coach Mark Dantonio told on Thursday, but Maxwell will enter spring practice, which kicks off Tuesday, as the starter. One other thing: Dantonio remains very much in Maxwell's corner.

"He's our No. 1 quarterback based on his leadership, based on his experience," Dantonio said. "He's a proven commodity in terms of his value as a person. His leadership value, getting us into the right play, knowledge of the system. He needs to just create more when things break down. That's the next step. But he's a great person.

"We're all going to have some storms we've got to beat and work through."

Maxwell will compete with Cook and Tyler O'Connor this spring. Highly touted incoming freshman Damion Terry arrives this summer for preseason camp.

Getting the quarterbacks more help is a priority this spring as Michigan State loses its top two offensive weapons -- running back Le'Veon Bell and tight end Dion Sims -- to the NFL draft. Three players will compete this spring at running back -- Nick Hill, Jeremy Langford and Nick Tompkins -- and Michigan State returns its entire receiving corps, an oft-criticized group in 2012. Dantonio also is excited about the potential of the offensive line, calling it "one of the strengths of our team."

The coach reiterated that while quarterbacks take the brunt of the blame when things don't go well, there are other factors involved.

"Obviously, we need to get better," he said. "But I'll stand beside [Maxwell]."
Is it safe? Is Big Ten coach poaching season over? For the sake of this post, let's hope so.

Although this year's Big Ten coaching carousel didn't include as many riders as last year's, which featured an unprecedented 40 changes in the league, there was a flurry of activity at the end. We saw two coaches -- Jim Bollman and Jim Bridge -- make jumps from one Big Ten school to another (in Bridge's case, he left Illinois the day the Illini opened spring ball for Purdue, where he replaced, you guessed it, Bollman as offensive line coach).

Purdue saw a complete staff overhaul in the transition from Danny Hope to Darrell Hazell, while Wisconsin brought in seven new assistants under new boss Gary Andersen. Illinois coach Tim Beckman survived a disastrous first season in Champaign, but he lost six assistants during the winter months, five of whom left voluntarily. Iowa's stretch of staff stability is over, as Kirk Ferentz hired three new assistants for the second straight year, and Michigan State restructured its staff after losing offensive coordinator Dan Roushar to the NFL's New Orleans Saints. Michigan made its first staff change of the Brady Hoke era after losing defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery to Oklahoma.

Despite the movement around much of the Big Ten, the league also had complete staff continuity at four schools: Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State. Nebraska flipped responsibilities for Barney Cotton and John Garrison, making Cotton the tight ends coach and Garrison the sole offensive line coach. Ohio State added special teams coordinator to the title of cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs.

Minnesota and Northwestern are the only FBS teams without a staff change for the past three seasons.

It seems like the carousel has finally stopped, so let's take a look at the staff changes throughout the league. These changes only include head coaches and full-time assistants.

Here's the rundown (number of new coaches in parentheses):


Who's gone?

Chris Beatty, co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Billy Gonzales, co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers
Luke Butkus, offensive line
Keith Gilmore, defensive line
Steve Clinkscale, cornerbacks

Who's in?

Bill Cubit, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Mike Bellamy, wide receivers
A.J. Ricker, offensive line
Greg Colby, defensive line
Al Seamonson, outside linebackers

Other moves

Hired Ricker after Bridge left for same post at Purdue
Made defensive coordinator Tim Banks secondary coach (had previously coached only safeties)
Split linebacker duties between holdover Mike Ward and new assistant Seamonson
Promoted Bellamy from assistant director of player personnel


Who's gone?

Mike Ekeler, co-defensive coordinator/linebackers
Mark Hagen, defensive tackles/special teams and recruiting coordinator

Who's in?

William Inge, co-defensive coordinator/linebackers
James Patton, special teams and recruiting coordinator/assistant defensive line

IOWA (3)

Who's gone?

Erik Campbell, wide receivers
Lester Erb, running backs/special teams
Darrell Wilson, defensive backs/special teams

Who's in?

Bobby Kennedy, wide receivers
Chris White, running backs/special teams
Jim Reid, assistant linebackers

Other moves

Reid and holdover LeVar Woods will share linebacker duties
D.J. Hernandez, an offensive graduate assistant hired this winter, will work with the tight ends


Who's gone?

Jerry Montgomery, defensive line

Who's in?

Roy Manning, outside linebackers

Other moves

Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison will coach defensive line (head coach Brady Hoke also has responsibilities there)
Manning and Mark Smith will share linebacker duties, as Smith now will handle the inside linebackers


Who's gone?

Dan Roushar, offensive coordinator/tight ends
Ted Gill, defensive line

Who's in?

Jim Bollman, co-offensive coordinator/tight ends
Ron Burton, defensive line

Other moves

Promoted quarterbacks coach Dave Warner to co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach. Warner will call plays this fall
Moved running backs coach Brad Salem to quarterbacks
Promoted defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi to assistant head coach


Who's gone?

Ted Roof, defensive coordinator

Who's in?

Anthony Midget, safeties

Other moves

Promoted secondary coach John Butler to defensive coordinator. Butler will continue to coach cornerbacks
Running backs coach Charles London and linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden will oversee special teams, an area Butler previously handled


Who's gone?

Danny Hope, head coach
Gary Nord, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Tim Tibesar, defensive coordinator/linebackers
Greg Burns, defensive backs
Shawn Clark, offensive line
J.B. Gibboney, special teams coordinator
Patrick Higgins, wide receivers
Cornell Jackson, running backs
Donn Landholm, outside linebackers
Kevin Wolthausen, defensive line

Who's in?

Darrell Hazell, head coach
John Shoop, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Greg Hudson, defensive coordinator
Jon Heacock, defensive backs
Jim Bridge, offensive line
Kevin Sherman, wide receivers
Jafar Williams, running backs
Marcus Freeman, linebackers
Rubin Carter, defensive line
Gerad Parker, tight ends/recruiting coordinator

Other moves

Replaced Jim Bollman with Bridge after Bollman left for Michigan State


Who's gone?

Bret Bielema, head coach
Matt Canada, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Chris Ash, defensive coordinator/defensive backs
Zach Azzanni, wide receivers
Andy Buh, linebackers
Eddie Faulkner, tight ends
Bart Miller, offensive line
Charlie Partridge, co-defensive coordinator/defensive line

Who's in?

Gary Andersen, head coach
Andy Ludwig, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Dave Aranda, defensive coordinator/linebackers
Chris Beatty, wide receivers
Bill Busch, secondary
Jeff Genyk, tight ends/special teams coordinator
Chad Kauha'aha'a, defensive line
T.J. Woods, offensive line

Retained from previous staff

Thomas Hammock, assistant head coach/running backs/recruiting coordinator
Ben Strickland, assistant secondary coach

Other moves

Hired Genyk to replace tight ends/special teams Jay Boulware, who left earlier this month for a post at Oklahoma

Big Ten lunchtime links

March, 1, 2013
Hooray for March.
So far, Michigan State hasn't confirmed numerous reports that Jim Bollman will join the Spartans' staff as its offensive coordinator.

But if there was any lingering doubt, Purdue coach Darrell Hazell dispelled that this morning. Speaking to the Lafayette Journal and Courier's Mike Carmin, Hazell confirmed that Bollman -- who had joined the Boilermakers' staff as offensive line coach in January -- is indeed headed to East Lansing.

"Coach Bollman is a great guy," Hazell told Carmin. "I have nothing but high regard for him. Coach [Mark] Dantonio and him have worked together in the past. He had a chance to be a coordinator. I'm happy for him."

Bollman, Dantonio and Hazell were all former assistants at Ohio State under Jim Tressel. Bollman was the Buckeyes' offensive line coach and offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2011. At Michigan State, he would replace Dan Roushar, who left last month to coach running backs with the NFL's New Orleans Saints.

Hazell also told Carmin that he hoped to have a new offensive line coach in place as soon as Monday and that he has already spoken to a couple of candidates.

Big Ten mailblog

February, 19, 2013
Your questions, my answers ...

Matt from Ann Arbor, Mich., writes: The B1G could be in the news quite a bit during the offseason. Will we get the final decisions on division alignment, division names and 9/10 game schedule all at once or will they come out one at a time whenever that specific decision is made? Will this be something decided early in the offseason to have people discussing it all summer or will we have all summer to talk about what we want it to be and get the answer during the season?

Adam Rittenberg: Matt, you definitely won't need to wait until the season. The most pressing topic is the future conference schedule and whether the Big Ten will have nine or 10 games. It impacts nonconference scheduling, and the athletic directors want to get things sorted out as quickly as possible so they can craft their schedules. I think we could have a decision as soon as mid-March -- the ADs meet again during the Big Ten basketball tournament in Chicago -- or shortly thereafter. Division alignment is next on the list, and should come by the end of the spring. The key event is that the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors meets in early June at league headquarters. The Big Ten wants to get most of these issues sorted out by that meeting. Division names is a low priority, as league commissioner Jim Delany told me last week, and the future bowl lineup probably comes after the league schedule and divisions. We should have decisions on all of these topics by the middle of the summer.

AAWolv from Ann Arbor, Mich., writes: Hi Adam, I'm not usually one to get worked up about top 25 lists, but I can't wrap my head around this. In your post-season top 25 rankings, you state that the criteria is based solely on performance in the past year. If that's the case, how do you put Taylor Lewan at number 7? He proved that he was the best or 2nd best tackle in the country by shutting down guys like Jadeveon Clowney. I realize that linemen don't get much love in rankings, but based on his performance and your criterion, I have to disagree with your ranking.

Adam Rittenberg: That's fair, AA, and Brian and I debated a bit about Lewan and certainly could have included him a little higher. I'm glad you point out that the rankings are based on in-season performance rather than NFL potential, as some of your fellow Wolverines fans are pointing out Lewan will be a first-round pick in April. So will Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins, who we have at No. 12. That doesn't matter for these rankings. I realize Lewan made a bunch of All-America teams, but did he have a season like Gabe Carimi in 2010? I don't think he was that good. Michigan's offensive line certainly wan't great, and Lewan, while the group's best member, could have been more dominant at times. Carimi won the Outland Trophy in 2010 and came in at No. 6 in our postseason rankings. So he's comparable to Lewan, who could have been a spot or two higher. Ultimately, I'm comfortable with the guys we have in the top 5, who all made a major impact for their teams in 2012.

Matt from State College, Pa., writes: Do you think the most recent missteps in the Miami investigation gives any validity to the State of PA's lawsuit against the NCAA in relation to PSU's sanctions?

Adam Rittenberg: Matt, I think Monday's news certainly hurts the credibility of the NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert. If the NCAA had done its own investigation into Penn State, led by now-fired compliance chief Julie Roe Lach, and made missteps along the way, it certainly would have strengthened the state's case. But the NCAA used the Penn State-commissioned Freeh Report as the investigation for the Penn State case. Penn State signed a consent decree to the penalties Emmert imposed. Because the investigative process took place outside the NCAA, I don't think the Miami missteps will help the state's case as much as if they'd taken place within the NCAA.

Debra from Lincoln, Neb., writes: Adam: I find the Nebraska-Michigan rivalry more attractive than Ohio State or Penn State. Considering Penn State as a rival is based on old, old grudges no longer relevant. Ohio State is okay but not feeling the history. Michigan seems a more friendly rivalry. And friendly is better than the bitter kind, like Colorado. Who wants to go there and get your tires slashed if you have a Nebraska license plate? Ugh

Adam Rittenberg: Debra, thanks for sharing your thoughts. While I'm not sure all fans would prefer "friendly" rivalries over the alternative, it's good to know that some do. I know a lot of Nebraska fans want to keep playing Michigan every year. They bring up the 1997 season and the fact that the first two games in the Big Ten have made an impact on the division race. I like the Nebraska-Penn State series because both teams don't have longstanding Big Ten rivalries and, until November, had been the league's most recent additions. Ohio State and Michigan always will have bigger conference rivals than Penn State or Nebraska. I don't think Nebraska and Michigan will be in the same division after the realignment, and I don't expect the teams to have a protected crossover. But the Big Ten would like to have the Huskers and Wolverines play often -- two great brands, good for TV.

Al from Chicago writes: Nice article on Illini branding, but you'll have to show me where Northwestern has seen increased attendance (from their fans - not the visitors)!

Adam Rittenberg: Al, that's a fair point, as visiting fans like those from Nebraska have helped Northwestern's attendance numbers. The Wrigley Field game in 2010 also boosted attendance because it was part of a season-ticket package. But Northwestern's increases since the 2009 season, when it averaged 24,190, to this past season, when it averaged 33,442, can't be solely attributed to visiting fans. Northwestern is responsible for a portion of that increase, and its marketing push certainly has been a factor.

Scott from East Lansing, Mich., writes: Roushar is out as MSU's offensive coordinator. Spartan Nation cheers his departure but should they?

Adam Rittenberg: It's tough to say. Dan Roushar had much better success in 2011 when he had an established quarterback in Kirk Cousins, three good wide receivers and a better offensive line, which he helped mold. He did a nice job as the team's offensive line coach, although MSU needs to take things to another level up front. You can make a case that aside from RB Le'Veon Bell and TE Dion Sims, Roushar simply didn't have the weapons to do what he needed to in 2012. But some of his play-calling, especially in the red zone, left a lot to be desired. Was Roushar the main problem with Michigan State's offense in 2012? Perhaps. But many of us expected more from the players, too. The offensive structure isn't going to change at MSU under the next coordinator, but his play calls will be scrutinized, just as Roushar's were.

Paul from Minneapolis writes: Can you please tell me the racial breakdown of assistant coaches in the Big Ten by school. I got thinking about this as I noticed both of Iowa's latest hirings are white, but I have no idea how diverse any Big Ten school is in thier coaching ranks. Does the Big Ten have a program to promote racial diversity in it's coaching ranks?

Adam Rittenberg: Paul, I addressed this a bit in this story from last February, but the Big Ten has participated in an annual minority coaches' forum, which brings together top minority assistant coaches, athletic directors and administrators to network. The assistants learn what ADs are looking for in interviews and how they can improve their chances of landing head-coaching positions. Five of the 17 Big Ten assistants who attended the event from 2006-10 have become FBS head coaches, including former Ohio State aide Darrell Hazell, now the head man at Purdue. Still, Hazell is only the fourth black head coach in Big Ten history, a low number given the Big Ten's history as the conference of opportunity. As far as staff diversity, every Big Ten team has black assistant coaches and all but two teams have two or three on staff. Not all coaching staffs are complete, so those numbers could go up. One item of note: there are only two black coordinators in the Big Ten in Illinois' Tim Banks and Ohio State's Everett Withers.

James from Pasadena, Md., writes: Adam,I have switched over from the ACC blog to the B1G blog in anticipation of Maryland's move in 2014. I want to say that I have really enjoyed getting more familiar with the Conference through your posts. Having explored some of the message boards for schools around the B1G, I think many B1G fans are sleeping on Rugters and Maryland. At what point do you anticipate incorporating the two new schools in your blog? Will you be waiting until after the 2013 season or do you plan to keep B1G fans updated on the happenings with RU and UMD during the summer/fall this year?

Adam Rittenberg: Welcome, James! I know Big Ten fans are starting to familiarize themselves with both Maryland and Rutgers, and we'll do much more of that as we get closer to the official arrivals of those teams in 2014. We will post Maryland and Rutgers-related content from time to time this season, including updates on how the teams are performing, but they likely won't officially transition to the Big Ten blog until after national signing day 2014 (Feb. 5). That has been the point where we've seen teams move from one blog to another.
Michigan State announced Saturday that offensive coordinator Dan Roushar is leaving to become running backs coach with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. Roushar spent the past two seasons as the Spartans’ offensive chief and has been part of coach Mark Dantonio’s staff since 2005.

Roushar beat out at least two other candidates for the Saints opening. He reunites with Saints head coach Sean Payton, whom he worked with at Illinois in 1996.

“The New Orleans Saints and Michigan State are built on similar models, with a focus on character and people,” Roushar said in a prepared statement. “New Orleans has won a Super Bowl, and over the last five years, the Saints have been one of the winningest organizations in the NFL. I’ve had an opportunity to work for Mark Dantonio -- in my opinion, the best college football coach in America -- for the last eight years, including the last six seasons at Michigan State. Now, I have an opportunity to work for arguably the best coach in the NFL in Sean Payton. Professionally, this is an opportunity I simply couldn’t pass up.”

Roushar added that Michigan State is “poised to have a tremendous year in 2013.” He drew heavy criticism from Spartans fans after the offense struggled in 2012, finishing 95th nationally in total offense and 108th in scoring. The unit performed much better in 2011 with quarterback Kirk Cousins at the helm.

“Dan Roushar has been a loyal and dedicated assistant for the last eight years, including the past six seasons at Michigan State,” Dantonio said in a prepared statement. “He’s a great teacher and a tireless recruiter. Dan certainly played a critical role in helping build a solid foundation here at Michigan State. We’re grateful for the effort and energy he’s invested in our program.”

Dantonio promoted Roushar from offensive line coach to coordinator after Don Treadwell left to take the top job at Miami (Ohio). It’ll be interesting to see if Dantonio once again looks within the staff or outside the program. Michigan State is expected to maintain a pro-style philosophy on offense.
Michigan State fans unloaded on offensive coordinator Dan Roushar for much of last season, criticizing him for the Spartans' struggles to move the ball and score points.

Perhaps the Spartan backers who want Roushar out will get their wish.

The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reports Roushar will interview for the New Orleans Saints running backs coach position. The Saints are expected to move running backs coach Bret Ingalls to offensive line.

Former Kansas State coach Ron Prince and Maurice Carthon, a longtime NFL assistant, also are in the mix for the running back spot, according to the Times-Picayune.

A member of Mark Dantonio's coaching staffs since 2005, Roushar mentored Michigan State's offensive line from 2007-10 before being promoted to offensive coordinator the past two seasons. He worked alongside Saints head coach Sean Payton at Illinois in 1996.

Michigan State finished 95th nationally in total offense and 108th in scoring in 2012 after putting up much better numbers in Roushar's first season as coordinator (2011).

Big Ten chat wrap: Jan. 9

January, 9, 2013
The Big Ten chat returned to its normal day but at an earlier time. Those who showed up came with some good questions and comments.

Did you miss the fun? No worries. I've got you covered with the complete chat transcript.

Some highlights:
Geoffrey from Crestline Park: True or False? With the demographic/population changes that have occurred across the midwest, the Big Ten will NEVER be able to compete with the SEC in football.

Adam Rittenberg: False. Never say never. It comes down to strategy and resources. Big Ten coaches have to devote more time and energy to recruiting the types of players we see in the SEC. You just have to. And the Big Ten remains on par with the SEC from a revenue standpoint. It needs to pay coaches competitive salaries to keep them in the Big Ten. Coaching continuity is huge, and we haven't seen much of it in the Big Ten lately.

Abullah from NYC: How much longer will Husker fans give Pelini? They ran Solich off, and he was arguably more successful.

Adam Rittenberg: It's a tricky situation, Abullah. Pelini wins nine or 10 games every year, but his teams fall flat in big games and can't win championships. The 2013 season could be pivotal as Nebraska has a new AD in Shawn Eichorst who didn't hire Pelini. Will Pelini take that next step forward and solidify his future in Lincoln, or will the Huskers, despite a soft schedule, take a step back? We could see a change in that situation, although it would have to be a major step back. The other thing to watch is whether Pelini leaves Nebraska for another job. His name has been out there a lot in recent years.

Dan from Sparta: MSU state's O came into the year with a lot of question marks due to departures, it seems odd that there seem to be even more after the season they just had. The O can't get worse, I hope, can it?

Adam Rittenberg: Dan, the offense definitely is a major concern with both Bell and Sims gone. I do think the line will be better, especially if Dan Roushar takes a more active role in coaching the linemen again (yes, I know Spartans fans can't stand Roushar as a play-caller, but the guy can coach O-line). It really comes down to the quarterbacks and the receivers. Michigan State should be able to run the ball decently, but it needs a lot more from a passing game that provided so little for most of the season.

Tom from Columbus, Ohio: I read your crystal clear article and while I agree that the B1G needs to be represented and win in the National title but I also think that we as a conference have fallen so much that we need to focus on baby steps. And those steps being consecutive seasons where we have good early non-conference wins and winning bowl seasons with 2 Rose Bowl wins. I guess I am interested on your reasoning? I think at times we are getting ahead of ourselves, sure my Buckeyes have a shot at getting to the National Title but if they get there they better win. Because we all know how that goes when OSU has a flop in the big game....

Adam Rittenberg: Good point, Tom. Taking steps is important, but the entire sport is shaped by the national title game. The SEC for the most part had a so-so bowl season. But Alabama's win in the title game continues the narrative about the SEC being the nation's best league, period. I agree the Big Ten needs to start winning Rose Bowls, recording better regular-season non-league wins and competing better in the biggest bowl games. But as someone well versed in how leagues are perceived, I can assure you the Big Ten will only get respect when one of its teams raises the crystal football. Ohio State still looks like the Big Ten's best hope.

Ed from Cleveland: Interested to hear your take on recruiting? I know as an overall conference never fare as well as the SEC and have to develop the players brought in. How do we get more recruits excited about B1G football. I am in my mid-20's and remember being the premier conference. However, recruits coming in have only heard the B1G bashing that has been going on in the media the past 8 years or so. I know there are a lot of factors that sway recruits one way or another but how the perception that we are a weak conference hurts us.

Adam Rittenberg: Ed, some good points here. The Big Ten bashing puts the responsibility on Big Ten coaches to educate these recruits about their programs, the league and the opportunities it presents. The Big Ten is still a great place to play college football. The facilities are top notch, the academics are top notch, the TV exposure remains unmatched, etc. There are some good selling points for these coaches when they hit the recruiting trail, but when you're recruiting athletes from the south and southeast who only hear about the greatness of the SEC, it can be a hard sell.

Thanks for all of your questions. If yours didn't make the rundown, be sure to try again next week.

Spartans QB picture gets interesting

December, 31, 2012
Though Andrew Maxwell had his ups and downs this season, and probably more of the latter, we assumed he would still go into 2013 as Michigan State's starting quarterback. On early Sunday morning (Eastern and Central time) we learned again that it's always dangerous to make assumptions.

When the Spartans trailed TCU 16-14 with a little more than two minutes left in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Saturday night, redshirt freshman Connor Cook trotted onto the field for the game-deciding drive, not Maxwell. The move paid off for Mark Dantonio and his staff, as Cook led the team on an eight-play, 45-yard drive that led to Dan Conroy's winning 47-yard field goal with 1:01 left.

[+] EnlargeConnor Cook
Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY SportsMichigan State sophomore quarterback Connor Cook is locked in an intense battle with incumbent starter Andrew Maxwell.
"We had to go with a guy that had moved us a little bit," Dantonio told reporters afterward. "Maybe more importantly, we felt like he could scramble a little better than Andrew. We needed to get in field goal position. So that's the way we went.”

It was a bit surprising to see Cook come in for a series during the first half, since he had not thrown a pass since the Central Michigan game in Week 2, when he tossed a pick six. But getting the youngster a little bit of work to prepare him for next year made sense.

What was more surprising was that the offense moved much better with Cook in the game. He guided the team on a 90-yard scoring drive for Michigan State's first touchdown of the game in the third quarter -- the longest postseason scoring drive in program history. Though Le'Veon Bell provided much of the yardage on that march, Cook connected with Aaron Burbridge for a 15-yard touchdown pass.

Maxwell went just 6-for-15 for 28 yards, or one fewer passing yard than Bell managed on a trick play out of the Wildcat. Cook's numbers weren't great, either (4-for-11, 47 yards), but the offense did seem to find a spark with him in there.

Maxwell, who sat for three years behind Kirk Cousins, looked to be making some progress during the middle of the season. But he completed only 43 percent of his passes in his final four games, with four interceptions. He had several passes bounce off the hands of defenders in the bowl game. You have to wonder if the season-long struggles of his offensive line and the inability of his receivers to consistently catch the ball caused damage to Maxwell's confidence, but his decision-making also raised questions.

There is little doubt, however, that a full-fledged quarterback competition, if not controversy, will dominate the Spartans' offseason conversation. Redshirt freshman Tyler O’Connor and 2013 commit Damion Terry -- an intriguing option because he's a dual-threat guy -- will try to get into the mix as well. Dantonio had hinted at some changes to the offense at the end of the regular season, and offensive coordinator Dan Roushar hinted at more quarterback runs. Cook looked far more comfortable moving outside the pocket against TCU than Maxwell did.

Backup quarterbacks are always the most popular guy on campus, and it remains to be seen if Cook can perform at a consistently high level. But at the very least, Michigan State will have much more competition at the position than it did last offseason, and that should only help all the contenders for the job.

Maxwell will be the incumbent but probably won't be the favorite among fans. It's imperative that the Spartans find someone to lead a respectable passing game, because even with Bell likely bolting for the NFL, the vast majority of the offense returns. The defense should remain one of the best in the Big Ten. Michigan State's schedule should allow it to contend for a Legends Division title, but only if the offense -- which even in the bowl win punted on its first eight possessions -- improves exponentially.

We had assumed all along it would be Maxwell's job to lead that improvement project as a senior. Now, all we're sure about is that Michigan State's quarterback situation is a lot more interesting.

MSU keys in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

December, 29, 2012
Three keys for Michigan State in tonight's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl matchup against TCU:

1. Balancing act: It has been the Le'Veon Bell show all season for Michigan State's offense, to the tune of a nation-leading 350 carries. The junior running back will be ready to be a workhorse again in what could be his final game in a Spartans uniform. But Michigan State needs to find other dimensions against a talented TCU defense to avoid the results we saw throughout the regular season. Junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell and his receivers have had more than a month to prepare and find the chemistry they had only in stretches this fall. It also would be nice to see offensive coordinator Dan Roushar open up the playbook a bit as the Spartans try to attack a TCU defense more vulnerable to the pass (52nd nationally) than the run (10th nationally). The Spartans really need more of a balanced offense to win this game.

2. Contain Boykin: This isn't a great TCU offense -- 60th in points per game and 63rd in yards per game -- but the Spartans have to pay close attention to quarterback Trevone Boykin. The freshman had some predictable ups and downs after taking over for Casey Pachall in early October, but he had some very big performances (Baylor, Texas Tech) and limited mistakes after his first three starts. Michigan State can't let Boykin get comfortable and needs a strong performance from its defensive front seven. Junior end William Gholston had a breakout game in last year's bowl win over Georgia (five tackles for loss, two sacks). After a somewhat disappointing season, can Gholston replicate his last postseason performance?

3. Special attention: The kicking game likely looms large in a game featuring two strong defenses and two inconsistent offenses. Michigan State likely has to win on special teams to emerge from the desert with a victory. Place-kicker Dan Conroy converted a Big Ten-leading 22 field goals this season, but he also had more misses (nine) and more attempts (31) than any other kicker in the league. Several of those misses really stung in close losses, so the Spartans likely need a flawless performance from Conroy against TCU. Michigan State also must limit Skye Dawson, who ranks 27th nationally in punt returns (10 yards per return) and 61st in kick returns (22.5 ypr) but has some trouble fielding kicks cleanly.

MSU seeks redemption, momentum in bowl

December, 20, 2012
Michigan State's 6-6 season was a big disappointment for a team that many, including the Spartans themselves, thought was ready to win a Big Ten title.

Painfully close losses and poor offensive execution were a constant theme in 2012. Next season could bring better things, as the majority of the offense returns and the schedule is manageable. But quarterback Andrew Maxwell isn't ready to look that far forward.

"I told the team the other day, 'We don't have to wait 'til next year to try and turn it around,'" Maxwell told "'We can come out fast and play mistake-free football and be the team we always thought we could be on the 29th.'"

[+] EnlargeMichigan State Spartans quarterback Andrew Maxwell
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIREQuarterback Andrew Maxwell said he's hopeful that the Michigan State offense can make strides during bowl workouts.
That's Dec. 29th, when Michigan State will face TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. While a win there won't erase all the bad memories from this season, it would allow the Spartans to take a more positive note into 2013.

"We've only got nine seniors ... so we're a young football team, and it gives us an opportunity to sort of move forward in 2013," head coach Mark Dantonio said Thursday. "We're going to live on this game for the next eight months, there's no question about that."

And there's little question that the best way for Michigan State to improve its narrative from this season is to improve a very shaky passing game. That as much as any other factor is why the Spartans fielded a top-five defense yet finished .500.

The extra 15 bowl practices could help, especially for the team's still young receivers.

“[This year] was a learning experience,” receiver Keith Mumphery told “We had to learn to stay positive, no matter the situation. We can prove that we’re playmakers and we can make the tough catches and we can all come through when we need it.”

Extra work can only help Maxwell, too, after a rocky first year as the team's starting quarterback. The redshirt junior didn't get to ease into his bowl preparation this month. The Spartans have spent a lot of time practicing starters vs. starters, meaning Maxwell has to face his own team's ferocious defense. If that weren't enough, Dantonio made the quarterbacks live in practice, allowing them to get hit for the first time since the preseason.

"When you do that against a defense like ours, that's game speed," Maxwell said.

Dantonio hinted at offensive changes near the end of the regular season, and offensive coordinator Dan Roushar told reporters Thursday that he has experimented some with more quarterback runs. He wouldn't commit to using them in the game against TCU, however.

"Whether we're good enough right now to go execute on a high level in a gamelike situation, I think that will be determined by how we continue to practice down in Arizona," he said. "But ... you're looking at a couple of our young quarterbacks and feeling like all of a sudden there's another dimension with us being able to spread the field, make them play coverage, and then add the element of being able to run the quarterback."

Asking Maxwell to run a lot against the Horned Frogs' fast defense might not be the answer to Michigan State's offensive problems. A better solution might be just building better chemistry between him and the receivers so they can connect on the plays that eluded them throughout the season. It's questionable whether that can happen in a month, but at least Maxwell now has 12 games under his belt as the starter.

"I think I'm a different player than I was in Week 1," he said. "The biggest thing I learned this year was just being in those situations that you really can't duplicate in practice. Like when we're at Wisconsin, and we haven't scored all day and we have to drive for a touchdown at the end of the game to tie it.

"You can't simulate that in practice or in camp. So it was important for me to get in those situations, and there some times where we weren't successful, like against Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Iowa. Those are things that for me personally I can learn from, and the next time they arise, I'll be better suited and more equipped for."

The Spartans hope they aren't simply waiting 'til next year to see that improvement on the field.
Paying top dollar for assistant coaches has become an issue in the Big Ten lately. Bret Bielema cited his inability to pay and retain assistants at Wisconsin as a major reason why he left for Arkansas. Purdue made a bigger commitment to its overall staff salary when it hired Darrell Hazell to replace Danny Hope.

How do the Big Ten teams stack up when it comes to salaries for assistants? Luckily, USA Today has just compiled a database looking at what every FBS program pays its staffs. The study found that the average major college football assistant now makes $200,000 per year, a number that is on the rise. According to USA Today, pay for assistants rose 10 percent from last year and is up 29 percent from 2009, the latter of which is higher than the increase in salary for head coaches during that time period.

Here is what Big Ten teams spent on their staffs in 2012, not including the head coach (Note: Because Northwestern and Penn State are not subject to the same state open-records laws as other schools, their information was not available):
  • Ohio State: $3.29 million
  • Michigan: $2.93 million
  • Illinois: $2.3 million
  • Michigan State $2.2 million
  • Nebraska: $2.15 million
  • Iowa: $2.1 million
  • Minnesota: $2.1 million
  • Indiana: $2 million
  • Wisconsin $1.77 million
  • Purdue: $1.61 million

As you can see, Wisconsin was near the bottom of the pack in the Big Ten. Purdue has given Hazell a pool of $2.1 million for assistant coaches, which would put the Boilermakers right about the average for league schools. Ohio State and Michigan are the two richest schools and have not surprisingly made the biggest commitment to salaries. When you add in Urban Meyer's salary, the Buckeyes are paying nearly $7.6 million per year in football salaries. You get what you pay for, I guess, as Ohio State went 12-0.

While the Big Ten's median salary pool for assistants was just over $2 million in 2012, the median in the SEC was around $2.5 million. According to USA Today, the SEC paid its assistants an average of $315,000, the most in the nation. The Big 12 was second at just under $290,000.

LSU is spending more than $4 million on assistants, while Alabama is doling out more than $3.8 million on assistants. Auburn ($3.77 million), Tennessee ($2.98 million), Florida ($2.89 million), Georgia ($2.77 million) and Texas A&M ($2.68 million) also far outspent most Big Ten schools, while Arkansas ($2.56 million in 2012) is making a larger commitment to assistant pay under Bielema.

Finally, here's a look at the top-paid coordinators in the Big Ten among the 10 schools whose information was available via public records:
  • Luke Fickell, co-defensive coordinator, Ohio State: $761,000
  • Greg Mattison, defensive coordinator, Michigan: $758,900
  • Al Borges, offensive coordinator, Michigan: $658,300
  • Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator, Michigan State: $501,700
  • Tom Herman, offensive coordinator, Ohio State: $456,000
  • Everett Withers, co-defensive coordinator, Ohio State: $456,000
  • Tim Banks, defensive coordinator, Illinois: $400,000
  • Chris Beatty, co-offensive coordinator, Illinois: $400,000
  • Billy Gonzales, co-offensive coordinator, Illinois: $400,000
  • Tim Beck, offensive coordinator, Nebraska: $372,300
  • Tracy Claeys, defensive coordinator, Minnesota: $340,000
  • Matt Limegrover, offensive coordinator, Minnesota: $335,000
  • Greg Davis, offensive coordinator, Iowa: $325,000
  • Dan Roushar, offensive coordinator, Michigan State: $307,000
  • Mike Ekeler, co-defensive coordinator, Indiana: $306,600
  • Doug Mallory, co-defensive coordinator, Indiana: $306,600
  • Phil Parker, defensive coordinator, Iowa: $301,500
  • John Papuchis, defensive coordinator, Nebraska: $300,000
  • Gary Nord, offensive coordinator, Purdue: $275,000
  • Chris Ash, defensive coordinator, Wisconsin: $267,050
  • Matt Canada, offensive coordinator, Wisconsin: $265,000
  • Seth Littrell, offensive coordinator, Indiana: $255,500
  • Tim Tibesar, defensive coordinator, Purdue: $250,000

Fickell, Borges and Mattison are three of 18 assistants nationwide who earned at least $600,000 in 2012, according to the study. There were 14 assistants paid that much last season and nine in 2010. Ohio State offensive line coach Ed Warinner is the highest paid position coach in the league, at a salary of $357,800.