Big Ten: Griffen Dahlstrom
- Penn State is still Penn State, and excitement is building for the 2012 team, Dan Wetzel writes. Bill O'Brien's agent says the Penn State coach isn't looking to leave. Lions DT Jordan Hill has stepped up his game in Big Ten play.
- Neither team is going bowling, but both Penn State and Ohio State have a lot at stake Saturday, David Jones writes.
- Ohio State's comeback against Purdue was actually months in the making, Bill Livingston writes. The Buckeyes have to find ways to keep their starting quarterback in the game.
- Michigan's Elliott Mealer and Paul Bunyan -- separated at birth? The Wolverines prepare for the Sea of Red in Lincoln. Brady Hoke is coy about why his starting quarterback was on the field for a kickoff return against MSU.
- Personnel changes are coming to Nebraska's special teams units. It's likely Nebraska will rest RB Rex Burkhead against Michigan.
- Northwestern's passing attack has disappeared this season. The Wildcats missed a nice branding opportunity last Saturday. If Northwestern wants to make any type of run in the Legends Division, it needs to win Saturday.
- Illinois coach Tim Beckman will look to the juco ranks to address the team's depth problems. Illini standout LB Jonathan Brown is getting healthy again.
- Wisconsin's offense hopes to "barge" in on its competition. Badgers coach Bret Bielema is ticked that LB Mike Taylor isn't a Butkus Award semifinalist.
- After winning 11 games in each of the past two season, Michigan State isn't even guaranteed a bowl game this year.
- Indiana LB Griffen Dahlstrom masters the mental approach to the game (subscription required).
- Iowa could use a dual-threat quarterback right now, Pat Harty writes. The latest on the Hawkeyes' depth chart entering the Northwestern game.
- Some Purdue notes after the Ohio State loss.
- Minnesota LB Mike Rallis and many of his teammates will shave their heads for a good cause.
- Tom Dienhart has his latest Big Ten bowl projections.
Who doesn't love a good name? And there are some very strong candidates around the Big Ten this season.
The only criteria, besides having an awesome name, is a player must be on a Big Ten roster entering the 2011 season. Incoming freshmen are eligible. Names that could have a football connotation help your cause.
Let's do this ...
Coach: Jerry Kill, Minnesota
QB: Moses Alipate, Minnesota
RB: Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michigan
RB: Mika'il McCall, Iowa
FB: Jared Crank, Purdue
OL: Fou Fonoti, Michigan State
OL: Jack De Boef, Purdue
OL: Rocko Khoury, Michigan
OL: Seung Hoon Choi, Nebraska
OL: Riki Kodanko, Wisconsin
WR: Fritz Rock, Illinois
WR: Xzavian Brandon, Minnesota
WR: Tariq Tongue, Penn State
WR: Nick Toon, Wisconsin
TE: Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State
DL: DeJazz Woods, Illlinois
DL: Kyle Baublitz, Penn State
DL: Wisdom Onyegbule, Illinois
DL: Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
LB: Storm Klein, Ohio State
LB: Coddye Ring-Noonan, Wisconsin
LB: Kaulana Judd, Purdue
DB: Miami Thomas, Illinois
DB: John Lowdermilk, Iowa
DB: Peniel Jean, Wisconsin
DB: Shady Salamon, Minnesota
P: Alex Butterworth, Penn State
K: Carson Wiggs, Purdue
- Zepheniah Grimes, LB, Illinois
- Griffen Dahlstrom, LB, Indiana
- Curenski Gilleylen, WR, Nebraska
- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
- Caleb TerBush, QB, Purdue
- Takudzwa Kubvoruno, WR, Michigan State
- Dakota Getz, LB, Iowa
- Darius Millines, WR, Illinois
- Dusty Kiel, QB, Indiana
- Chi Chi Ariguzo, LB, Northwestern
- DeOn'tae Pannell, OL, Penn State
- Khairi Fortt, LB, Penn State
- Sahr Ngekia, TE, Minnesota
- Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
- Silas Redd, RB, Penn State
- Nick Stoner, DB, Indiana (nod to Adam's hometown of Berkeley, Calif.)
- Marlandez Harris, DL, Indiana
- Logan Link, DB, Purdue
- Stone Pinckney, LB, Northwestern
You were so close in so many games last year. Is there any way to build off that as you hit the field again?
Bill Lynch: I certainly think so. I've seen it throughout the winter program. We're building off what we did in the fall, and I've certainly seen good leadership, good gains in the weight room. We've got a great attitude going into the spring. Obviously, we've got two different kinds of teams. We've got great experience on offense. Certainly our skill position guys are back and healthier than they were a year ago. Offensive line, we lost a couple guys, but we've got some good young guys that have been waiting their turn. Defense is a bunch of young guys that are really anxious to go, some kids who have redshirted and we feel are very talented, guys that haven't played but who we think are going to be really good football players for us. So it will be fun to watch them get out and go. It's going to be a fun spring that way. I like what we're doing from an X's and O's standpoint. We just have to get better at it right now.
You mention the defense and I know you lose a lot [seven starters] on that side. As a head coach, I know you're an overseer, but will you spend more time with the defense this spring?
BL: I don't think my personal time will be spent any more [with the defense]. We'll certainly do a great job of evaluating the kids. We've got to do more of it this spring than we've done in the last couple [of years], in terms of being very accurate in our grading and what we do in the spring with personnel, particularly on the defensive side. When you get out of the spring, you want to have a pretty good idea of your two-deep going into the fall. Now things can change and other kids can have great summers, but you have to have a starting point. In the spring, you give a lot of guys opportunities and see where it shakes itself out. But going into the fall, you have to have a pretty good idea.
So, would you like to know your depth chart on defense coming out of the spring?
BL: Yeah, I think so. I've always felt like you'd like to come out of the spring knowing who your top 50 football players are. That's not to say you're not going to tweak some things over the summer before they get here in August, but it's important, not only offense and defense, but it gives you a great idea of how you'd like to start out with your special teams.
You mentioned the anxiousness of young players on defense to get out there. Who are some of the guys you're looking forward to seeing this spring?
BL: I'll start at defensive end, because [Jammie] Kirlew and [Greg] Middleton played so much. Darius Johnson and Javon Cornley. We've got a guy named Kevin Bush, an older guy, really, but he's had a great fall and winter. He was a walk-on who was in the military and came back to school. And then Fred Jones, Eric Thomas are guys who have been in our program that are good football players. They've been waiting their turn to really go in and compete. At linebacker, it's more of a young group, but Damon Sims and D.J. Carr-Watson and Griffen Dahlstrom and Chad Sherer are all kids that are looking forward to showing what they can do because [Matt] Mayberry and [Will] Patterson and [Justin] Carrington and some of those guys that played so much [are gone]. We've got a JC kid in Jeff Thomas from Northern California; we like what we've seen from him in the winter, so I'm anxious to see him on the field. He's an inside [linebacker]. And then in the secondary, it's wide open. [Austin] Thomas and [Nick] Polk played so much, and then [Ray] Fisher played last year. There are some guys there that have had good winters because they know it's going to be very competitive, and this is their opportunity.
I'm sure you have a good idea of your leaders on offense, but who steps into those roles on defense?
Lynch: There are a couple guys who are great leaders on that side. Tyler Replogle is as good as you're going to find, and Mitchell Evans is the same way, and we're moving Mitchell from offense to defense. So it starts there with those two guys. But all our [defensive] tackles played a lot of football for us last year, so we have good experience there. Evans certainly will give us some stability in the back end there because he's played so much football, even though it hasn't all been on defense.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
It was a fairly quiet weekend on the Big Ten recruiting front, though things will definitely pick up this week as national signing day approaches. Offensive lineman Marcus Hall will announce his college choice today, as he decides between Ohio State, considered the favorite for his services, Tennessee and Miami.
Here's a quick weekend recap, courtesy of ESPN's Scouts Inc. national recruiting director Tom Luginbill and other sources.
- Indiana picked up a commitment from linebacker Griffen Dahlstrom of Roachdale, Ind. Rated as the nation's No. 40 linebacker by Scouts Inc., Dahlstrom is the third linebacker in Indiana's 2009 class.
- Indiana also picked up a commitment from running back Nick Turner of Indianapolis.
- The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that offensive tackle Jamar Bass, a junior college transfer, has not enrolled at Illinois and could be heading elsewhere. Bass was expected to begin classes at Illinois on Jan. 20, but the school has not announced his signing or the one of another juco, linebacker Aaron Gress. Gress is listed in the Illinois student directory as of this morning.