Big Ten: Jeff Genyk

Big Ten lunch links

April, 16, 2013
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all Bostonians and those affected by Monday's senseless tragedy.

Big Ten lunch links

March, 18, 2013
Happy bracket day.

Big Ten Thursday mailbag

March, 7, 2013
Must-see e-mail Thursday:

Luke B. from Jesup, Iowa, writes: I found it ironic that Wisconsin's Gary Andersen made a fairly big deal about the timing of Jay Boulware's departure (albeit in a professional manner) just days before hiring Jeff Genyk from Nevada, a job Genyk took only 2 months ago. It's a great opportunity for Genyk, I don't fault him or Anderson. I guess my point is, there's obviously not a lot of loyalty in coaching these days. When opportunity (and money) knocks, you answer, and all of these coaches should be a lot less surprised when someone walks on them.

Brian Bennett: A fair point. Consider: Just in the last few days, we've seen Jim Bollman go from Purdue to Michigan State after only being with the Boilers for a few weeks, and Jim Bridge leave Illinois for Bollman's old post at Purdue right as the Illini were starting spring practice. It seems the coaching carousel never stops these days. I have a hard time blaming assistant coaches for jumping at better opportunities, especially when they have such little job security. But it's also hard to stomach coaches preaching loyalty and commitment to players and then abandoning those players during key times of the year, like before their bowl games or on the eve of spring practice. I don't know how you fix that in a free market economy. I just hope that players go into their careers with open eyes and realize this is a business. And it would be nice if those players had the same freedom of movement as their coaches did.

Matt from Midway, N.C., writes: Brian, maybe I am way off base, but do you think there is any correlation between the success of Indiana basketball and the positive recent football recruiting by Indiana? It seems like the basketball team has given off positive vibes to play football at Indiana.

Brian Bennett: Indiana coach Kevin Wilson definitely uses the success of the basketball team to his advantage and likes to schedule recruiting weekends to coincide with home games in Assembly Hall. The electric atmosphere has to have some effect on those prospects, especially the in-state ones. I don't think basketball success is the biggest factor in any football player's decision by any means, or else Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina would be much better at football. But it can't hurt.

Mike S. from Covington, Ky., writes: As an MSU grad, and long-time follower of the program, count me as one not excited by the shuffling of personnel, and hiring of Jim Bollman. It is highly doubtful, in my mind, that he is still connected enough in Ohio to recruit against Urban Meyer. The harsh recruiting facts are that State was outrecruited by Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame, and to me the fault for that lies with Mark Dantonio...his personality pales compared to Meyer, Hoke and Kelly. And he said he was satisfied with his 38th ranked class?! State needs some kids from Florida who have speed. Can we really expect new recruiting coordinator Brad Salem with a South Dakota background to make that happen??

Brian Bennett: If your measuring stick is outrecruiting Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame, well, good luck with that. The Spartans can win their share of high-profile recruiting battles, but you just named three of the most powerful programs in the country. What Dantonio and his staff have excelled at of late is finding players who fit their system and really develop over their careers. The biggest concern is the resurgence of Michigan, because there's no doubt Michigan State made some hay on the recruiting trail while the Wolverines were stumbling around with Rich Rodriguez. Bollman was always known as a very good recruiter of offensive line talent, and I think he was brought in more to be a veteran voice on the staff than one of Dantonio's ace recruiters. Salem deserves a shot to show what he can do. But if you're judging him by whether he can beat out Meyer in Ohio or pull in higher-rated classes than Notre Dame, I'm not sure you'll ever be happy with a Michigan State recruiting coordinator.

Andy from Anaheim, Calif., writes: Brian! Long time reader, first time mailer. With the NFL Draft coming up it got me thinking ... well, thinking a year into the future. What should we make of Taylor Martinez's draft prospects? He obviously has the athleticism to play at the next level, but where do you see him going at this point? Even with the emergence of dual-threat QBs at the next level (Wilson, Griffin, Kaepernick, etc), I think it's safe to say he's got too far to go as a passer to make it at quarterback. So would he be a wideout, like D-Rob? Or a DB, like one of his NU predecessors (Scott Frost)?

Brian Bennett: Good first mailbag question, Andy. I think we could see the leadup to next year's draft go a lot like Denard Robinson's path for Martinez (hopefully minus the injury, and most likely minus the late-career collegiate position change). Like you, I can't see Martinez being an NFL quarterback. Martinez will need to be as willing to change positions as Robinson was, and not as stubborn as Eric Crouch was. Martinez is slightly bigger than Robinson; he's listed at 6-1 and 210 pounds, while Robinson measured 5-10 and 199 pounds at the NFL combine. There's no question that Martinez has the speed to play at the next level somewhere, whether that's at receiver or defensive back. If I were him, I'd be following Robinson's trajectory very closely.

The Like Ninja from Unknown writes: The Monday Mailbag questions regarding PSU's sanctions got me thinking. Theoretically, if PSU only had 65 players on scholarship in 2013, would the NCAA nullify the 2017 scholarship reduction by claiming "time already served" (aka, what Miami is hoping to do by voluntarily skipping their bowl games the last 2 years)? Or would 2013 just be an unofficial 5th year of reductions?

Brian Bennett: There is no such provision in Penn State's consent decree with the NCAA. The only scholarship relief mentioned in the document is the following:
"In the event the number of total grants-in-aid drops below 65, the University may award grants-in-aid to non-scholarship student athletes who have been members of the football program ..."

In other words, Bill O'Brien could put some walk-ons (or "run-ons," as he calls them) on scholarship if the Nittany Lions fall below 65 scholarship players between 2014 and 2017. But that would mean some recruited scholarship players did not work out, and Penn State cannot afford many of those going forward.

Alex from Las Vegas writes: So you write that the BIG has to have a sense of urgency given their lack of success as a conference yet the one thing that they could do to instantly improve the league, adding quality schools, was completely botched this year. Does the BIG even care about competitiveness or are they only concerned with a big TV footprint and nothing else?

Brian Bennett: Saying that adding Rutgers and Maryland will water down the Big Ten product is a valid criticism. You could also make the case that adding teams from those areas will open up some new recruiting ground which could prove important in attracting talent to the league. Either way, expansion really isn't the issue. When you have programs of the stature of Ohio State, Michigan and Nebraska (and Penn State when it's back to normal) and others with major potential in Wisconsin and Michigan State, that should equal better performance than what we saw in 2012, or in recent years on the national stage. Besides, what other teams were realistically available for the Big Ten to add that would have strengthened the on-the-field product? I say not many.

Steve from Columbus, Ohio, writes: Why is the Big Ten not pursuing Boston College? You get the Boston market, plus a great hockey team. Is it because BC is not a AAU member, we already have the Boston market, not enough people, recruiting?

Brian Bennett: Would sportswriters also get the Boston Market? Because I could really go for some rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes. Mmmm... But jokes about food aside, Boston College only nominally delivers that area because the Eagles are all but ignored in their own city. Yes, you could make the same argument about Rutgers and New York City and, to a lesser extent, Maryland football and Washington D.C. But there are also many more recruits in the mid-Atlantic region than there are in New England. And we've written over and over, AAU membership is a very big deal to the Big Ten presidents, which is why Rutgers and Maryland were more attractive to BC. If Jim Delany ever decides to basically annex the ACC and go to 20 members, then Boston College becomes a much more realistic potential candidate. But for now, I don't think the league would do much more than drive through the Boston Market (sorry, couldn't resist one more).

Big Ten lunchtime links

March, 6, 2013
It's Wednesday. Business time.
Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen wasted little time in replacing tight ends coach Jay Boulware, who bolted for Oklahoma over the weekend. On Tuesday night, the Badgers announced the hiring of Jeff Genyk, who's familiar with the Big Ten as a former longtime Northwestern assistant.

Swiftness was important, because Wisconsin starts spring practice on Saturday. Like Boulware, Genyk will oversee special teams as well as tight ends.

"I’m extremely pleased we were able to get a tremendous coach like Jeff, especially given the timing of this transition,” Andersen said in a statement released by the school.

Genyk comes to Madison from Nevada, where he recently had been hired as special teams and running backs coach. Before that, he spent three seasons at Cal, where he coaches tight ends and coordinated the special teams. The Golden Bears had back-to-back first-team All-Pac-12 selections at kicker and punter during his tenure.

Prior to Cal, Genyk was the head coach at Eastern Michigan from 2004-08. He compiled a 16-42 record.

He's probably best known to Big Ten fans as an assistant at Northwestern from 1994-2003. He coached the Wildcats' special teams for his final five seasons in Evanston.

This looks like a really strong hire for Wisconsin, especially given how quickly Andersen had to move.

Big Ten mailblog

March, 5, 2013
To your emails ...

Grant from Detroit writes: In response to your article about a Narduzzi succession, that would be extremely ideal. I know Dantonio won't be retiring any time soon, but he has brought such a sense of stability to a program that, before him, was a joke of a coaching carousel. I feel that Izzo and Dantonio are on similar paths. Izzo took a MSU job and turned it into a destination position when he decides to retire. There will be a line to fill that spot. I feel that Dantonio has a similar philosophy about the head coach position for football. He has taken the right steps in making that a reality, and I think the smartest move he has made so far may be the promotion of Narduzzi to assistant coach. Narduzzi has obviously been an invaluable part of the Michigan State machine, always fielding a competitive (and lately dominant) defense that has made up for shortcomings elsewhere. He has also been great for recruiting, as defensive players WANT to come to MSU, after seeing us turn out professional players (and prospects) like Greg Jones, Jerel Worthy, Trenton Robinson, Will Gholston, etc. I doubt that Narduzzi will stick around long enough for the MSU position to be handed to him, even with the assistant coach label. I fear that he will go the way of Will Muschamp and jump ship before the head coaching position becomes available. But I still think the move at least establishes a mold for candidates for the position, should Dantonio decide to retire.

Chris K. from Jackson, Mich., writes: Regarding Narduzzi, I would love it if he would become head coach at MSU after Dantonio. Narduzzi is a high-energy guy and a good recruiter and I think that would be the style of the assistant coaches, whether the current assistants are there or not.

Brian from Conshocken, Pa., writes: I love the idea of Pat Narduzzi taking over as head coach (when Coach D is ready to step down, of course) and I hope his acceptance of the assistant head coach shows that the feeling is mutual. Having his guidance over the years is the best chance for MSU Football to compete with the rest of the league in the years to come.

Adam Rittenberg: It doesn't surprise me to see such strong support for Narduzzi among Spartans fans. He has done an excellent job building Michigan State's defense into a nationally elite unit, and his recruiting efforts certainly have helped shape the defense. He's a fiery guy, which appeals to most fans, and certainly would bring energy to the job, perhaps more so than Dantonio does. I've been very impressed by Narduzzi as well and was surprised he didn't get more of a look for the Cincinnati job. My only concern with him is whether he's too much of a loose cannon. He got in trouble for his "60 minutes of unnecessary roughness" comment in 2011 and publicly discussed what he felt was abridged game film from Ohio State last year. As a media member, I love Narduzzi's candor, but most athletic directors usually like their coaches a little more restrained.

Ed from Philadelphia writes: Adam, Regarding the Ireland game for Penn State: It seems that you've chosen not to mention one of the more important pieces of the puzzle, which is that NCAA bylaws allow a 13th regular season game if it's played in Hawaii or otherwise outside the mainland US. In other words, PSU wouldn't have to worry about dumping a non-conference game if they do it while the sanctions are still in effect. They could just count it as their extra game.Obviously, it would still probably have to be done at the beginning of the season rather than the back end, as nobody would agree to interfere with their possible bowl season preparation. In fact, really the only realistic time would be the very first game of the year to minimize the fatigue of traveling.

Adam Rittenberg: Ed, thanks for bringing up this issue with the potential Penn State game in Ireland. I checked the NCAA bylaws regarding maximum number of contests, and there are a few things of note. The bylaw you cite about a team being allowed to play a 13th game if it takes place in Hawaii only applies to games placed against NCAA institutions in Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico. It doesn't apply to two mainland teams playing a game out of the country. Annual Exemptions. [FBS/FCS] The maximum number of football contests shall exclude the following:

(j) Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico. [FBS/FCS] Any football games played in Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico, respectively, either against or under the sponsorship of an active member institution located in Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico, by a Division I member institution located outside the area in question

There also is an exemption for a "foreign tour," but these games are against teams from other countries -- rather than another FBS team -- and don't count in the record book. Opponents. The team shall not compete during the tour against other American teams (colleges or other U.S. teams) other than teams composed of U.S. armed forces personnel stationed at U.S. military bases in foreign countries

Here's what the manual notes about in-season foreign competition. In-Season Foreign Competition. [FBS/FCS] A member institution may play one or more of its countable contests in football in one or more foreign countries on one trip during the prescribed playing season. However, except for contests played in Canada, Mexico or on a certified foreign tour 17 (see Bylaw 17.28), the institution may not engage in such in-season foreign competition more than once every four years.

It doesn't mention anything about exceeding the 12-game limit. A Penn State official told me a game in Ireland would count against the 12-game limit for the season. I agree with you that Penn State almost certainly would have to schedule the Ireland game as a season opener because of the travel issues.

Bryson from Madison, Wis., writes: Hey AR, Any chance that with the Boulware exit out of Madison we see our beloved Bart Miller come out and take over the TE's? I know Boulware was going to coach special teams as well and is a decorated recruiter. Who is on our radar for now? Oh and where did Bart Miller end up anyway?

Adam Rittenberg: It's funny you mention Miller's name, Bryson, because Brian Bennett and I brought him up immediately after the Boulware exit. Ultimately, I don't see it happening as Gary Andersen already had one chance to keep the popular Miller on staff and chose not to. Maybe the second time changes things, but Andersen has been pretty decisive in his hires. Also, Miller's inexperience as a full-time assistant coach likely would hurt him for this job as Andersen wants the coach to handle both a position group and special teams. reports that Jeff Genyk, a former Northwestern assistant and the former Eastern Michigan head coach, is interviewing for the job. He'd be a good hire.

Brock from Little Rock, Ark., writes: Not quite sure many people are paying attention to Kevin Wilson's and IU's recruiting class for 2013. If they are not they should be. With Taj Williams committing they jumped up to 4th in the B1G (according to Rivals). Coming off of a 4-8 season, is this a positive reflection of what Hoosier fans can expect year in and year out, both in recruiting and on field performance?

Adam Rittenberg: Brock, I agree more people should take notice of Indiana's recruiting efforts, and I think the Hoosiers are starting to make waves around the Big Ten. Williams is a big addition and will strengthen an already talented receiving corps led by Kofi Hughes, Shane Wynn and Cody Latimer. But the even bigger development in my view is Indiana's recruiting gains on the defensive side of the ball. Remember, the Hoosiers have had great wide receivers for years -- James Hardy, Tandon Doss, etc. -- but they haven't been able to stop anyone from scoring. They've simply lacked enough Big Ten-quality defenders, but things seem to be changing under Wilson. According to ESPN Recruiting, the top six players in Indiana's class will play defense in Bloomington (Williams hasn't been added to the list yet). That's a very encouraging sign because Indiana always will pile up yards and points under Wilson. Maybe the Hoosiers soon will prevent opponents from doing the same.

Craig from Braintree, Mass., writes: After reading the stories about assistant coaches moving from program to program, how about a story about Coach Kill and his staff staying together.

Adam Rittenberg: It's certainly worth noting, Craig. Minnesota and Northwestern are the only FBS teams to keep their entire coaching staffs in place for the past three seasons. Even Big Ten teams that had been incredibly stable, like Iowa, have seen sweeping changes in recent years. Kill's staff continuity is one of his hallmarks, and several of his assistants have been with him since his FCS and/or Division II days at Southern Illinois, Emporia State and Saginaw Valley State. The loyalty Kill has shown to his assistants and vice versa stands out in this volatile coaching environment, and it has played a role in Kill having success everywhere he's been.

Joe from Iowa City, Iowa, writes: Thoughts on Iowa's open practice in Des Moines being held on the same day as Iowa State's spring game?

Adam Rittenberg: I like it, Joe. For starters, it shows that Iowa notices Iowa State and the success the Cyclones have had in recent years. Although some Iowa fans always will dismiss Iowa State as inferior, the Iowa program shouldn't take an arrogant attitude toward their rival from Ames. The bottom line is Iowa State has more than held its own against Kirk Ferentz's teams, and the improved recruiting efforts from Ames should be noted in Iowa City.

Also, as Mike Hlas writes, the practice in Des Moines will generate buzz and interest for a portion of Hawkeyes fans who can't access the program as easily as those in the Eastern portion of the state.

Hlas writes:
For the first time, they’re coming to the people instead of the people coming to them. There’s no taking you for granted, central Iowans. The Hawkeyes need you, they love you, they want you to know how much you mean to them. It’s a smart play.

I completely agree. And yes, the fact Iowa went 4-8 last season has something to do with it. Iowa fans are extremely passionate and loyal and will continue to come to games, but last season did some damage. It's nice to see the Hawkeyes being proactive in reaching out to their fans and also to potential recruits deciding between Iowa and Iowa State. Good move.