Big Ten: Mark Hagen
- Analysts see Michigan branching out beyond just the Midwest in recruiting. Running back commit Derrick Green could provide immediate help for the Wolverines.
- Nebraska had a safety decommit but is hoping to pick up an offensive lineman. A closer look at the Cornhuskers' turnover woes, in graphic form.
- Urban Meyer is hauling in recruits despite some NCAA-mandated scholarship limitations.
- Looking at the seven people whom Bill O'Brien leans on behind the scenes. Jordan Hill helped himself at the Senior Bowl.
- Darrell Hazell had a productive weekend, as Purdue picked up five commitments. Kawann Short shined in the Senior Bowl.
- Wisconsin added a California linebacker and Ethan Hemer's little brother. The Badgers' new coordinators will make more than their immediate predecessors.
- Kirk Cousins says Andrew Maxwell remains very confident. A Spartans recruit talks about why he decided to come to East Lansing.
- Illinois lost defensive line coach Keith Gilmore to North Carolina.
- Former Indiana assistant Mark Hagen said the Texas A&M linebackers job was too good to pass up.
- Iowa badly needs help at receiver. The Hawkeyes picked up a DB from Detroit.
- A California receiver picked Minnesota. A one-time Gophers commit flipped to Florida State.
- Northwestern is battling Ohio State for a receiver.
- Some Ohio State football tickets are likely getting much more expensive. The Buckeyes lose two players but gain two scholarship spots.
- Steve Politi watches the Big Ten Network for a day and shares his thoughts.
- Michigan's Denard Robinson talks about when he realized he wouldn't be an NFL quarterback. Robinson's draft stock might be falling during Senior Bowl week, as playing down the stretch for the Wolverines might have cost him.
- New Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen gets to know the Badger boosters. Wisconsin fans should pump the brakes on the optimism for 2013.
- A Q&A with new Illinois offensive line coach Jim Bridge.
- Nebraska went 1-for-2 on defensive back prospects, picking up a commitment from Boaz Joseph. The Huskers hope to hold onto two recruits who are looking around.
- Michigan State's committed recruits enjoyed their official visits to campus.
- Which Penn State players are captain material? Maybe offensive lineman Eric Shrive. Lions linebacker Michael Mauti takes a unique approach to marketing himself to NFL teams.
- Several Big Ten recruits make Andy Staples' All-Name Team.
- A look back at some Minnesota football history.
- Purdue must make a late recruiting push to fill its 2013 class.
- Indiana assistant Mark Hagen is off to Aggieland. The Hoosiers are quietly putting together a solid recruiting class.
- Several Big Ten teams are in the mix for a California recruit.
Indiana defensive tackles coach Mark Hagen is off to Texas A&M, where he'll reportedly coach linebackers. Hagen, who also served as IU's special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator, joined Wilson's staff in 2011 after spending the previous 11 seasons at Purdue. He played linebacker at Indiana from 1987-91, twice earning second-team All-Big Ten honors, and remained with the Hoosiers as a graduate/administrative assistant until 1995.
GigEm247.com first reported Hagen's move to Texas A&M. Wilson confirmed the move today on Twitter.
Few coaches know the recruiting scene in the Hoosier State better than Hagen, and he'll certainly be missed on the recruiting trail, where IU has upgraded its efforts the past year.
Hagen has a connection to Texas A&M through Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin, who played at Purdue and coached there with Hagen during the 2000 season, when the Boilers won the Big Ten and reached the Rose Bowl.
It'll be interesting to see who Wilson hires to replace Hagen, and if he moves the recruiting coordinator or special teams coordinator roles to any of the other assistants, or hands it to Hagen's successor.
- Athlon offers five reasons why Ohio State is Alabama's biggest threat in 2013. Buckeyes football ticket prices are likely about to rise.
- Late recruiting additions have played a big role in the Bo Pelini era at Nebraska. Some leaders are emerging for the Huskers during winter conditioning.
- Wisconsin assistant Bill Busch says the Badgers will continue to play their signature style.
- New Purdue defensive coordinator Greg Hudson will bring a burst of energy to the Boilermakers. A tight end committed to the Boilers.
- Ten questions with Penn State recruit Christian Hackenberg. Stephon Morris took some shots at Nittany Lions transfers on Twitter. A vigil was held for Joe Paterno.
- An Urbana quarterback is weighing a walk-on offer from Illinois.
- Indiana defensive tackles coach and recruiting coordinator Mark Hagen will reportedly go to Texas A&M to coach linebackers.
- Iowa won't increase its ticket prices for 2013.
- Denard Robinson will be used in multiple ways during the Senior Bowl. Some Wolverines recruits have gone up and down the rankings.
- Michigan State commit Damion Terry spent some time talking to Drake Harris during an official visit.
- SI.com's Andy Staples has his way-too-early 2013 Top 25, and it includes Ohio State at No. 5, Michigan at No. 12, Northwestern at No. 21 and Nebraska at No. 22.
- Maryland is preparing for a long legal battle over leaving the ACC.
- Dennis Dodd talks to Mark Hollis, Jim Delany and others about whether college football's popularity has peaked.
Former IU coach Bill Mallory, who still lives in Bloomington, Ind., and stops by practice a couple of times a week in the fall, told Wilson that better times were on the horizon.
"He told me, 'I promise you you're getting there,'" Wilson recalled this week. "He was just consistently reaffirming me. Coach Mallory was big a year ago and throughout the offseason on just sticking to your guns and what you believe in."
Indiana football has hardly arrived as a power. But because of some special circumstances in the Big Ten this year, the Hoosiers are about to play their biggest game in nearly 20 years this weekend when Wisconsin comes to Memorial Stadium. A win by Indiana (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten) would tie Wilson's team with the Badgers in the Leaders Division standings and give the Hoosiers the head-to-head tiebreaker with two games to go. Because Ohio State and Penn State are on probation, that would put Indiana in control of the Leaders berth in the Big Ten title game.
As unlikely as it seems, Indiana has a chance to get in position for its second-ever trip to the Rose Bowl and first since 1968.
"I don't remember a game where so much stuff was at stake," Hoosiers senior defensive tackle Larry Black Jr. told ESPN.com.
The 1993 campaign was also the last time the program won three consecutive Big Ten games, which it will be attempting to do this week after beating Illinois and Iowa. In fact, since '93 Indiana has won only 32 conference games in 19 years, while the 2007 season was its lone bowl appearance during that time. The Hoosiers fired coaches Cam Cameron, Gerry DiNardo and Bill Lynch and became known as a graveyard for football. But one man still kept the faith.
"That negative cloud of 'Oh, you can't win here' just makes me want to vomit," said Mallory, who led IU to six bowl games in his 13 seasons as head coach. "I have to count to 10 and keep my composure when people say those things. I believe strongly in what this program can do here."
Mallory said the school just needed to make a stronger commitment to the sport, which it has done in recent years with massive facility upgrades, including improvements to the stadium and a total makeover of the coaches' offices and weight room.
"I think we've finally woken up to the fact that we've got to match up to the others in this conference," Mallory said. "It's unbelievable how far we've come. People say it's a basketball school, but they'll like football if you start winning."
Mallory also liked what he saw early on from Wilson, who shared some of his beliefs in how the program should be run. And that makes sense, since Wilson's early coaching mentor was former Northwestern head coach Randy Walker, who played under Mallory at Miami (Ohio).
"Coach Wilson preaches a lot of same things I heard when I was here as a player," said current Indiana assistant coach Mark Hagen, who played at IU from 1987 to '91. "We were a team that went out every week and expected to win, and people had to account for us on Saturday or they'd get beat. That's a team we want to become. We know we're not there yet, but we're taking strides to become that."
Taking strides is the key phrase there. While Indiana has a unique opportunity at hand, this is still a team that lost to Ball State and Navy and had a five-game losing streak before beating Illinois two weeks ago. Wilson does not want his young team getting ahead of itself, which is why he has made sure to stress all week that the Hoosiers still have a losing record and must focus only on day-to-day improvement.
"They don't replay our games on the Big Ten Network, we always play in bad TV spots and we don't get much coverage," Wilson said. "We're a long way from being a good football team."
Wilson went as far as to say this isn't a big game because of his team's record. Still, he's hoping for a big-game atmosphere at Memorial Stadium, something that hasn't happened too often. There was far less than a full house for last week's Iowa game, though inclement weather might have played a factor. Many Indiana fans are already geared up for basketball season as the No. 1-ranked Hoosiers open Friday night at home against Bryant University. Buzz for football is building slowly on campus.
"I think it's definitely growing," said Nathan Brown, sports editor for the Indiana Daily Student newspaper. "I would expect as the week goes on and the word spreads that there will be a much bigger crowd. There were probably a lot of students maybe right after last Saturday's game who still didn't exactly know what the implications of this game against Wisconsin would be."
Black said he noticed a difference on campus last Sunday, when people were congratulating him on the Iowa victory as he went to breakfast.
"Maybe that's how it is when you start winning," he said.
The Hoosiers are starting to rediscover that feeling after a long drought. They might just be doing it at the most opportune time.
Here's a snapshot of what to expect in Bloomington:
The big story: A new era dawns as coach Kevin Wilson and his staff put the Hoosiers through their first practice sessions. Wilson wants to change the culture in Bloomington and has talked about getting Indiana players to believe they're better than what they think they are (and what they're told from the outside). Hoosiers players went through a ramped-up winter conditioning program, which showed some positive results. Now it's all about football as they adjust to new schemes on both sides of the ball.
Position in the spotlight: Quarterback. Three-year starter Ben Chappell departs, and Indiana's other quarterbacks lack substantial game experience. Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker are the leading candidates to succeed Chappell, but the competition is wide open and could spill over into preseason camp, when heralded recruit Tre Roberson arrives. Wilson has been terrific at developing quarterbacks throughout his career, and co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rod Smith oversaw Denard Robinson's rapid rise last season at Michigan. But this will be a huge spring for the men calling signals.
Coaching changes: Indiana made a change at the top, and Wilson brings in an entirely new staff. Smith and Kevin Johns share offensive coordinator duties, and Mike Ekeler and Doug Mallory will oversee the defense. Among the new assistants is defensive tackles coach/special teams coordinator Mark Hagen, who returns to his alma mater after spending the past 11 seasons at rival Purdue. Smith and offensive line coach Greg Frey both join the staff from Michigan.
Keep an eye on: Adam Replogle. He started games at both defensive line positions but made eight starts at tackle in a system that often went with three down linemen. Ekeler and Mallory will operate in a 4-3 season, so it'll be interesting to see how Replogle adjusts. Replogle recorded 32 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and three quarterback hurries last season.
Spring game: April 16
Final spring practice: April 19
Although college football assistants change jobs every year in every league, the Big Ten has had an unusually high number of coaches make moves within the conference. Some changes were voluntary, some were out of necessity, and two coaches spent just days at one Big Ten school (Indiana) before jumping elsewhere within the league. New Big Ten member Nebraska played a role in several of these moves.
Here's the rundown:
- Purdue linebackers coach Mark Hagen left to become defensive tackles coach/special teams coordinator at Indiana.
- Northwestern receivers coach Kevin Johns left to become Indiana's receivers coach/pass game coordinator. He later was elevated to Hoosiers' co-offensive coordinator.
- Former Michigan assistants Rod Smith and Greg Frey, out of work following Rich Rodriguez's firing, joined Kevin Wilson's staff at Indiana. Smith will serve as co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, while Frey will coach the offensive line.
- Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler left to become co-defensive coordinator at Indiana.
- Former Indiana assistant head coach/running backs coach Dennis Springer, out of work following Bill Lynch's firing, was hired by Northwestern as Johns' replacement (wide receivers coach).
- Jerry Montgomery and Corey Raymond both took jobs on Wilson's staff at Indiana but soon left for positions elsewhere in the league. Montgomery will coach defensive line at Michigan, while Raymond is expected to be announced as secondary coach at Nebraska. Indiana also brought in a Nebraska defensive staffer, Brett Diersen, to help replace Montgomery and coach the defensive ends.
All in all, nine assistant have spent time at multiple Big Ten programs in recent months.
And we might not be done yet. There are several remaining Big Ten assistant coach vacancies -- Wisconsin's running backs coach, Illinois' linebackers coach, two potential openings at Nebraska -- that could be filled from within the league.
What does this mean? Perhaps not much, but the familiarity factor isn't something to overlook when some of these coaches reunite with their former teams on fall Saturdays. Johns knows Northwestern and vice versa. Same goes for Hagen and Purdue, Ekeler and Nebraska and, to a lesser degree because of head-coaching changes, Springer at Indiana and Smith/Frey at Michigan.
Indiana hosts both Northwestern (Oct. 29) and Purdue (Nov. 26) this season, but doesn't play Nebraska or Michigan.
Cross spent the past five seasons with the Buffalo Bills, serving as assistant linebackers coach from 2006-09 and inside linebackers coach in 2010. He replaces Mark Hagen, who left last month to join Indiana's staff.
"He has coached linebackers at the highest levels of football, both professionally and collegiately," Purdue coach Danny Hope said in a prepared statement. "He also has secondary experience and, with pass defense, it's a real shot in the arm to have someone who has worked with both areas. DeMontie is a high-energy coach with a passion for the game. We have some very talented linebackers returning for the 2011 season, and I know they will enjoy getting to know him and working with him going forward."
Donn Landholm, demoted from his defensive coordinator post after the season, will assist Cross with the outside linebackers and take on additional recruiting responsibilities, according to a news release. Gary Emanuel will serve as Purdue's sole defensive coordinator while continuing to work with the defensive line.
Cross, an All-Big 12 safety at Missouri, brings a good deal of experience coaching linebackers to Purdue. He spent five seasons as outside linebackers coach at Iowa State and tutored several Big Ten products with the Bills, including former Penn State star Paul Posluszny and former Purdue defensive end Akin Ayodele.
Cross inherits a group that loses Jason Werner but brings back some experienced options (Joe Holland, Dwayne Beckford, Chris Carlino) as well as promising freshman Will Lucas.
Wilson on Thursday announced the additions of three more assistants, including two from the staff of recently fired Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. Rod Smith and Greg Frey, who worked under Rodriguez at Michigan, come to Indiana along with Jerry Montgomery.
Smith, who helped mold Denard Robinson into the 2010 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, will serve as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He'll share coordinator duties with receivers coach Kevin Johns.
Frey will coach Indiana's offensive line after doing a good job with Michigan's front this season.
“I’ve had previous relationships with Rod Smith and Greg Frey having built some of our past offenses with coach [Rich] Rodriguez and having continued to visit and study with those guys," Wilson said in a statement. "It is going to be a natural transition for both of them. They are well-versed in the no-huddle style and know how to coach it."
Montgomery, a former defensive tackle at Iowa who spent the past two seasons coaching at Wyoming, will work with Indiana's defensive tackles. Mark Hagen will work with the defensive ends and serve as special teams coordinator.
So here is Wilson's updated staff:
Doug Mallory: Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
Mike Ekeler: Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Mark Hagen: Defensive Ends/Special Teams Coordinator
Jerry Montgomery: Defensive Tackles
Corey Raymond: Cornerbacks
Kevin Johns: Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
Rod Smith: Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Greg Frey: Offensive Line
Wilson's ninth and final assistant -- still to be hired -- will coach running backs and serve as recruiting coordinator.
It'll be interesting to see how Smith's hiring impacts where Indiana goes with its next quarterback. Edward Wright-Baker seems a little closer to the Denard Robinson mold, but Wilson's offenses at Oklahoma also featured more traditional quarterbacks.
The big move is Gary Emanuel now will serve as the team's only defensive coordinator. Emanuel shared the coordinator title in 2010 with Donn Landholm, who has overseen the Boilermakers' defense the last two seasons. Landholm has been demoted to a position coach, "possibly" working with the linebackers, according to a news release.
Emanuel, a Purdue assistant from 1997-2004, did a good job with the Boilers' defensive line this season. Defensive end Ryan Kerrigan was a unanimous All-America selection and earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors, and the Boilers led the Big Ten in both sacks (33) and tackles for loss (91), while improving against the run.
"As last season progressed, it became clear that coach Emanuel was the face of our defense," Hope said. "He was hired with the mandate to improve our run defense, and we accomplished that while becoming a more physical unit overall. At the same time, I want coach Landholm to work with a specific position, and he has proven experience coaching linebackers."
Purdue lost linebackers coach Mark Hagen to rival Indiana last month. The Boilers also have lost receivers coach Brian Rock to Kent State, where he'll serve as offensive coordinator.
Hope doesn't expect to fill either position until after the AFCA convention next week in Dallas.
"I want to find two difference-makers, one of each side of the ball," Hope said. "On offense, we will look for someone to coach the receivers. On defense, I am comfortable with Gary coaching our defensive line, Donn coaching our linebackers and Lou [Anarumo] coaching our secondary, so we will look for the best coach available to fill in wherever he fits best."
Hope also added the title of assistant head coach for Gary Nord, the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past two seasons.
I like the Emanuel promotion. Purdue should be strong on offense in 2011, but improving the defense without Kerrigan poses a big challenge.
- Here's the latest on the autographs-for-tattoos investigation at Ohio State.
- Speaking of autographs, Michigan players are aware of folks trying to profit off them, annarbor.com's Michael Rothstein writes. You can now get married on the 50-yard line at Michigan Stadium, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News.
- The Big Ten's image is at stake in the bowl season, and the league faces an uphill climb, annarbor.com's Pete Bigelow writes.
- Iowa players say they've moved forward from a rough few weeks, Andrew Logue writes in the Des Moines Register. Hawkeyes quarterback Ricky Stanzi doesn't put much stock in his improved stats because of his inferior record, Marc Morehouse writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette.
- Former Wisconsin quarterback Brooks Bollinger thinks Scott Tolzien has what it takes to lead the Badgers to a Rose Bowl title, Tom Mulhern writes in the Wisconsin State Journal. Vuvuzelas are among the items banned from the Rose Bowl, Rob Hernandez writes in the Wisconsin State Journal.
- Michigan State's turnaround this season started with the offensive line, Denny Schwarze writes in the Lansing State Journal.
- New Indiana assistant Mark Hagen shoots down rumors that he recruited negatively against Indiana while at Purdue during Terry Hoeppner's illness, Dustin Dopirak writes in The (Bloomington) Herald-Times.
- The Star Tribune's Phil Miller explains why there aren't heating coils under the field at Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium.
- Penn State could have had a major coaching staff overhaul if Temple had hired defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, Cory Giger writes in The Altoona Mirror. David Jones weighs in on the latest Joe Paterno illness/retirement rumors. JoePa, meanwhile, sees the Outback Bowl as a springboard toward 2011.
- The Texas Bowl is more than just another game for Illinois, Herb Gould writes in the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Purdue star Ryan Kerrigan heads to the O.C. to begin training for the NFL draft, Jesse Temple writes in The (Muncie) Star Press.
As previously reported, Mark Hagen will make the move from archrival Purdue to Indiana and will serve as Hoosiers' defensive tackles coach/special teams coordinator. Corey Raymond has been hired as Indiana's cornerbacks coach, the same position he held at Utah State the last two seasons.
Raymond previously worked with IU's co-defensive coordinators Mike Ekeler and Doug Mallory at LSU. Hagen and Mallory have several connections, as Mallory served as a graduate assistant at Indiana while Hagen played for Mallory's father, Bill. The two men served on the Hoosiers' staff together in 1994-95. Hagen recruits the state and the region very well, so he's a strong addition to the Indiana staff after spending the past 11 seasons at Purdue.
Hagen most recently served as Purdue's linebackers coach but also worked with the Boilers' defensive tackles during his time there.
“I am really excited for the opportunity to come home,” Hagen said. “Coach [Kevin] Wilson is in the process of putting a great staff together. There is a lot of talent in place and the opportunity to come back to IU is a unique one that my wife and I are really looking forward to. I certainly have a lot of great memories from my time as a player and working with coach [Bill] Mallory. One other highlight is the opportunity to work with Doug Mallory, who is like a brother to me. I think it is going to be a real special situation and we are ready to get started.”
It looks like Indiana is forming a good team to tackle its biggest challenge: defense.
Hagen's departure from Purdue leaves a vacancy, as Danny Hope must look for a new linebackers coach.
Ekeler comes to IU from future Big Ten member Nebraska, where he coached the linebackers and helped mold players like Lavonte David and Phillip Dillard into stars. Mallory, a very familiar surname to Indiana fans, served as New Mexico's defensive coordinator the past two seasons.
Ekeler will continue to coach linebackers with the Hoosiers, while Mallory, the son of former IU coach Bill Mallory, will work with the safeties.
"I am excited to have Doug, Mike and their families join the IU football family," new Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said in a prepared statement. "They are both great additions to our program, university and the Bloomington community. Both men bring unparalleled character, energy, experience, enthusiasm and winning attitudes. This is a great start to the foundation we are building here."
These are undoubtedly Wilson's most important hires as he forms his staff at Indiana. The Hoosiers' defense has been bad for more than a decade and has prevented the program from consistently competing in Big Ten play. Wilson has the track record and the personnel to make things happen on offense at Indiana, but if Ekeler and Mallory can't get the job done on defense, it won't matter.
I like both hires as individuals -- especially Ekeler -- but I've never been a fan of co-coordinators. It didn't serve Indiana well the past few seasons with Joe Palcic and Brian George. Illinois also encountered problems with Dan Disch and Doug Mallory's brother, Curt, before Ron Zook brought in Vic Koenning as the sole coordinator last year.
Maybe this time the pairing works, but the jury is out.
I'm very interested to see how Ekeler and Mallory will work together. Mallory brings a lot of experience to the table and served as Indiana's defensive backs/special teams coach in 1994-96. Ekeler is a rising star and did great work at Nebraska under Bo and Carl Pelini, but he inherits a much tougher challenge in Bloomington.
Indiana's defensive staff also will include Mark Hagen, who moves over from archrival Purdue to coach the Hoosiers' defensive line and special teams. Although IU hasn't officially announced Hagen's hiring, it's going to happen.
Hagen spent the past 11 seasons at Purdue, the past two as the Boilers' linebackers coach. The Indiana alum is no stranger to coaching line play as he worked with Purdue's defensive tackles for most of his tenure in West Lafayette and helped to mold players like Mike Neal and Alex Magee. He's a strong recruiter in the state and in the region.
Overall, I like these hires for Wilson at IU, but it all comes down to whether the co-coordinator thing can actually work.
It was 12 games played and started.
"For anybody that’s played a serious sport, having two years back-to-back is great," Werner said. "That first year is always good, but you know with another year, it could get a lot better."
Whether Werner would get that second season remained to be seen. He exhausted his five years of eligibility at Purdue, but since he missed two full seasons because of injury, he applied to the NCAA for a sixth season.
Werner knew he had a good shot of landing the sixth year since his Purdue teammate Torri Williams had been successful in a similar appeal last February. But there are no guarantees.
“It was a lot of anticipation," he said. "I didn’t really know what the decision was based off of. They just said I had a pretty good case. I figured, take a shot. Why not?"
While he waited for a decision, Werner participated fully in Purdue's offseason program. He went through every workout and every weightlifting session.
After completing his workout Friday morning, Werner was on he way to class when he received a text message from linebackers coach Mark Hagen, asking him to call.
"I gave him a call before going to class and he just said, 'It looks like you're going to be a Boiler for another year,'" Werner said.
The NCAA's decision brought a mix of relief and excitement for Werner, who had given some thought to what he would do if his college career. He wouldn't give up on football, but he'd be in a tough spot.
"Being so late now without any preparation, my chances [at playing pro ball] would have decreased immensely," he said. "I really had my hopes on getting that year because it would fall into place a lot better as far as my future, period. I’m really glad it came through."
So is Purdue, which is thrilled to have its best and most experienced linebacker back on the field for the 2010 season. Werner provides a huge boost to a defensive front seven that needs to improve against the run, after ranking last in the Big Ten in rushing yards allowed in each of the last two seasons.
Werner knows the Boilers must be more detailed in their gap assignments and improve on how they take on blocks. Perhaps most important, Purdue needs to finish games better after losing five games by seven points or less.
After getting the green light from the NCAA, Werner is focused on finishing strong. He hopes to serve as a team captain for the second straight year.
"With another year of experience and now that it’s official that I’m the oldest guy on the team, it's one of those things I'd like to take," he said. "You’ve been around the most, you've seen the most, so you've got the most information to give and help the other guys. I really take that on as a personal challenge to do what I can."
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
I'm not quite ready to put a stopper in the Big Ten coaching carousel for 2008-09, though the ride is pretty much over. Barring some unforeseen changes in the coming weeks, Minnesota's hiring of Richard Hightower as wide receivers coach will complete the staff shuffling for this year.
Here's a review of the coaching changes around the league this year. It's interesting to note that none of the league's top four teams in 2008 -- Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa -- lost an assistant. If it ain't broke ...
- Offensive coordinator: Mike Locksley left to become New Mexico's head coach. Illinois hired TCU offensive coordinator Mike Schultz as his replacement.
- Defensive line: Tom Sims was fired and replaced by hired Cincinnati's Keith Gilmore.
- Offensive line: Eric Wolford left for the same post at South Carolina, and Ron Zook hired Houston's Joe Gilbert as his replacement.
Notes: Outside receivers coach Kurt Beathard will now work with the quarterbacks.
- Defensive coordinator: Scott Shafer resigned and was replaced by former Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson.
- Offensive coordinator: Mike Dunbar resigned and was replaced by Denver Broncos wide receivers coach Jedd Fisch.
- Defensive coordinator: Ted Roof resigned to take the same post at Auburn and was replaced by former Nebraska and Wisconsin defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove. Defensive backs coach Ron Lee was promoted to co-defensive coordinator.
- Offensive line: Phil Meyer resigned and was replaced by Alabama assistant Tim Davis.
- Wide receivers: George McDonald left for a quality control position with the Cleveland Browns and was replaced by Hightower.
Notes: Davis will oversee Minnesota's run game. Lee will continue to coach the Gophers' secondary.
- Offensive line: Bret Ingalls left to become running backs coach with the New Orleans Saints. Superbacks coach Adam Cushing was moved to offensive line.
- Superbacks: Cushing became offensive line coach and Lafayette offensive coordinator Bob Heffner was hired as his replacement.
- Head coach: Danny Hope took over for the retiring Joe Tiller.
- Offensive coordinator: Ed Zaunbrecher was fired and replaced by Florida Atlantic offensive coordinator Gary Nord.
- Defensive coordinator: Brock Spack left to become Illinois State's head coach and was replaced by Eastern Kentucky defensive coordinator Donn Landholm.
- Running backs: Joel Thomas left for the same job at Washington, and Hope hired former Kansas State assistant Cornell Jackson as his replacement.
- Offensive line: Hope handled the line in 2008 and hired former Eastern Kentucky assistant Shawn Clark as his replacement.
- Special teams: Mark Hagen moved from special teams to linebackers, and graduate assistant J.B. Gibboney was promoted to this position.
Notes: Tight ends coach John McDonnell was not retained for 2009. Terrell Williams will once again coach the entire defensive line this fall after working strictly with the ends in 2008.
Notes: Brad Pendergrass was named director of football operations. Pendergrass most recently served as assistant director for football operations at Mississippi State.