Big Ten: Mark Ortmann
Arguably no team in the Big Ten needs a strong spring more than the Wolverines, who must answer questions on defense after dropping their final seven Big Ten games last fall. It doesn't help that Michigan loses its top two defenders: Big Ten co-MVP Brandon Graham at defensive end and All-Big Ten selection Donovan Warren at cornerback. The Wolverines lose a few contributors on offense but still should be dangerous on that side this fall.
Strongest position: Offensive line
- Key returnees: G Stephen Schilling, C David Molk, T Perry Dorrestein, T Mark Huyge, G Patrick Omaneh, G John Ferrara
- Key losses: LT Mark Ortmann, G/C David Moosman
- The skinny: The Wolverines look solid at all of the offensive skill positions, but head coach Rich Rodriguez is a bit concerned about his outside receivers, and Michigan loses its top two running backs (Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown) from 2009. The offensive line, meanwhile, returns three starters as well as promising redshirt freshmen (Taylor Lewan, Quinton Washington, Michael Schofield). Molk could contend for All-Big Ten honors if he stays healthy, and Michigan should have much more depth this season. Rodriguez is pleased with the physical gains the linemen made during the offseason, and it should translate well to the field this fall.
- Key returnees: CB/S Troy Woolfolk (46 tackles, 1 pass breakup); S Jordan Kovacs (75 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 INT); S Mike Williams (56 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass breakup)
- Key losses: Warren (66 tackles, 4 INTs, 7 pass breakups)
- The skinny: Michigan loses more at other positions, and the kicking game is a major concern, but the combination of Warren's departure and so many major breakdowns puts the secondary in the spotlight going forward. Woolfolk looks like a good option at one cornerback spot, but the other will be up for grabs, as J.T. Turner, J.T. Floyd and heralded recruit Demar Dorsey all will compete. The competition at the safety spots should be intriguing, as Kovacs, a walk-on, tries to hold off Vladimir Elimien and others. Michigan has enough bodies in the secondary, but the coaches need to identify a combination that works.
No major surprises here, as all four seniors served as game captains on multiple occasions. Graham is a candidate for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors, while both Mesko and Ortmann are candidates for All-Big Ten honors.
"Stevie, Brandon, Zoltan and Mark have played at a high level all season and received the greatest honor that a player can receive, selection as captain by your peers," Rodriguez said in a statement. "They, and our other seniors, will lead us into Michigan Stadium Saturday to play the greatest rivalry game in college football."
Michigan finishes the regular season Saturday against No. 10 Ohio State (ABC, noon ET).
The team also issued its official injury report for the Ohio State game.
- C David Molk, knee
- RB Brandon Minor, shoulder
- S Mike Williams, ankle
- WR Martavious Odoms, knee
Minor's absence will sting, as he might be the Big Ten's most dominant runner when healthy. Injuries have dogged the Wolverines senior all season, limiting his availability. Selfishly, I really wanted to see Minor out there one more time, especially against a great defense like Ohio State's. Carlos Brown likely will be the featured back for Michigan, though freshman Vincent Smith got a lot of playing time last week. Williams' absence reduces the depth in an already suspect secondary. Freshman Brandon Smith likely will get the start if Williams can't go, but Michigan has all sorts of problems in the back four. Odoms' presence gives Michigan another weapon on offense.
Michigan has issued its official injury report for Saturday's home game against Purdue (Big Ten Network, noon ET).
- C David Molk, knee (out for season)
- WR Martavious Odoms, knee
- DT Greg Banks, foot
- Zac Johnson, shoulder
The Big Ten won't suspend Michigan starting left tackle Mark Ortmann after an incident involving Illinois' Corey Liguet in last week's game at Memorial Stadium.
Wolverines head coach Rich Rodriguez said Wednesday that the league reviewed the play and agreed with Michigan's assessment and decided not to penalize Ortmann. Video appeared to show Ortmann striking Liuget after Liuget recovered a fumble early in the fourth quarter.
Ortmann told Rodriguez on Monday that he simply tried to push Liuget away with an open hand.
Illinois head coach Ron Zook said he didn't notice any wrongdoing when reviewing tape of the game.
The Big Ten is reviewing a possible conduct issue involving Michigan offensive tackle Mark Ortmann and Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liguet during Saturday's game at Memorial Stadium.
Video clips show Ortman appearing to strike Liuget after Liuget recovered a Michigan fumble early in the fourth quarter. No penalty was called on the play, but Liuget was in pain as he trotted to the sideline.
The league said Monday afternoon that it contacted Michigan to begin the review process and will comment further if it determines a sportslike conduct violation has been committed.
Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday morning that he didn't see the incident on the team's game film but watched clips from the ABC broadcast on the Web. He met with Ortmann on Monday.
"He was upset that a lot of folks were telling him that it was a cheap shot or what have you, and then he explained to me, 'Coach, I had an open hand, he was leaning up against me, their players were even telling him to get off me, and he just kind of shoved him away real quick,'" Rodriguez said. "I'm sure when the guy was leaning on him or something, he just wanted him to get off him at the time. That shouldn't be an issue there."
The Big Ten has cracked down on player conduct this season, suspending three players for in-game incidents. Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton received a one-game suspension for striking Notre Dame's Eric Olsen in a Sept. 12 contest.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Greetings from Michigan Stadium, where in a few hours No. 13 Penn State will face Michigan in what figures to be a very exciting game.
Both teams have plenty to prove in today's contest.
Penn State needs to show it can win here, something it hasn't done since 1996, and confirm itself as a legitimate contender for the Big Ten title or possibly an at-large BCS bowl. The Lions snapped a nine-game losing streak to Michigan last year in Happy Valley, but the Wolverines hold a 10-4 edge in the all-time series, which marks Penn State's worst record against an opponent (minimum 10 meetings).
Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez is still searching for his first signature Big Ten victory. A win today combined with an Iowa loss to Michigan State could open the door for Michigan to vault back into the league title race with games against both Ohio State and Wisconsin still left on the schedule.
The weather could be a factor, as light rain is likely this afternoon with winds around 15 miles an hour.
Injuries: Penn State will be without backup running back Stephfon Green, who didn't make the trip because of an ankle injury. Lions linebacker Sean Lee tweaked his sprained knee last Saturday against Minnesota but practiced this week and expects to play. Michigan running backs Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor and center David Molk are all probable for the game. Molk has been out since Sept. 19 with a broken bone in his foot.
One other personnel note: Michigan cornerback Boubacar Cissoko is eligible for the game after being suspended the last two contests. Cissoko won't start but could play.
THREE KEYS FOR PENN STATE
1. Don't lose contain on QBs: Michigan quarterbacks Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson both are best on the move, and it's important for Penn State's defensive front seven to keep them in the pocket. The defensive line has played very well in recent weeks, particularly tackles Jared Odrick and Ollie Ogbu, but they'll be tested by Michigan's overall speed.
2. Stop Brandon Minor: Minor was limited in practice this week because of a lingering ankle injury, but he should be ready for the game. The senior rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns last year against Penn State, and he gashed Iowa's talented defense in the third quarter on Oct. 10.
3. Daryll Clark in the clutch: Clark has accomplished a lot in his two years as Penn State's starting quarterback, but the senior still needs to prove he can win a close game. He struggled against Iowa the last two seasons and left last year's close win at Ohio State with a concussion. This game figures to come down to the fourth quarter, and Clark will need to make clutch throws.
THREE KEYS FOR MICHIGAN
1. Give Forcier the chance to create: Forcier has been at his best when freelancing, and most of his big plays come outside the pocket. Michigan's offensive line gets Molk back and gained confidence from the Iowa game, but left tackle Mark Ortmann admitted this week that Penn State's defensive front is more athletic.
2. Attack Penn State's secondary: It's hard to find weaknesses with Penn State's defensive line or linebacking corps, so Michigan should target the secondary as much as possible. Penn State did a great job containing Minnesota star wide receiver Eric Decker last week, and cornerback A.J. Wallace seems to have hit his stride. But Michigan has more weapons than the Gophers and needs to use them.
3. Stop Evan Royster: The Lions are a bit thin at running back and don't like to run Clark as much as they did last season. They'll want to pound the football with Royster, who is due for a huge game. Michigan's front seven will need to be disciplined and keep Royster from moving the ball and controlling the clock.
Daryll Clark and Sean Lee believe Penn State is a good football team, and they should know best.
Unlike you and I, Clark and Lee have seen Penn State face top competition this fall. They see it multiple times a week when the Lions step onto the practice field and beat each other up for two hours at a time.
|Kirby Lee/US Presswire|
|Daryll Clark and the Nittany Lions are looking to prove themselves Saturday at Michigan.|
The rest of us? We've seen Penn State destroy much weaker opponents and lose its only game against top competition, to No. 6 Iowa on Sept. 26. We've seen Penn State rise to No. 2 nationally in scoring defense (8.7 ppg) despite facing no FBS offense ranked higher than 79th. We've seen the Lions' offense build some momentum in wins against Minnesota and Illinois, the two worst defenses in the Big Ten.
"We've been fortunate," Penn State head coach Joe Paterno said earlier this week. "The only tough game we've been in, we've lost."
The tough games part is about to change, and Penn State hopes the losing part does, too. The 13th-ranked Lions will be tested in their final five contests, beginning Saturday against Michigan (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).
Penn State tries to snap a five-game losing streak in the Big House, a slide that includes the program's most painful loss this decade, a 27-25 setback in 2005 that kept the Lions out of the national title game. More importantly, the Lions want to show 110,000 fans and a major TV audience what they've been seeing in practice.
"This will definitely be a test for us, but we’re a team that doesn’t mind flying under the radar," said Clark, the senior quarterback. "People aren’t sold on how good we are, and that’s fine. Our goal is to go out and win football games."
Michigan has its own point to prove as well. The Wolverines have shown improvement in Year 2 under head coach Rich Rodriguez. They boast the Big Ten's top scoring offense (37.3 ppg) and dynamic playmakers at all of the skill positions. They own a win against Notre Dame that should appreciate during the coming weeks.
But they lack a signature win in Big Ten play. Until they get it, doubts will linger about the progress being made.
"We have to prove it every week," Wolverines tight end Kevin Koger said. "Just because we're 5-2 doesn't mean anything. We won't be satisfied until we get a Big Ten championship or a national championship."
The latter goal is certainly off the table, and while it's unlikely a two-loss team can win the Big Ten, the league race certainly can change this weekend if Iowa falls to Michigan State.
"Penn State is a very good team," Michigan linebacker Stevie Brown said. "If we can beat them, it puts us another step toward where we want to go and where we want to go is the Rose Bowl. This is another team that's in our way."
The game's signature matchup pairs Michigan's offense and Penn State's defense. Both units are getting healthier, as Lee returned to the field last week after missing three games, while Michigan freshman quarterback Tate Forcier says he's fine after dealing with a throwing shoulder injury and a concussion. The Wolverines also get starting center David Molk back from a foot injury.
Line play also has improved on both sides. Penn State is getting big contributions from tackles Jared Odrick and Ollie Ogbu, who have combined for 14.5 tackles for loss (six sacks) and two forced fumbles, and blossoming end Jack Crawford (9 TFLs, 4.5 sacks). Two weeks ago, Michigan's offensive line helped the team rack up 195 rush yards against Iowa, one of the Big Ten's best defensive fronts. Michigan rushed for 461 yards last week against Delaware State.
"As a team, we’ve played our best games at home, but as an offensive line, our best game was at Iowa," left tackle Mark Ortmann said. "Iowa’s front four was the best we've faced up to that point and maybe it will continue to be. It gave us a lot of confidence to get down and run the ball against a great defense."
For Lee, simply beating Michigan is all the incentive he needs. But Penn State wouldn't mind making a bigger statement at the same time.
"We obviously want to prove we're a good team," he said. "You only do that by going out and playing well."
Michigan could regain arguably the most valuable piece of its offensive line just in time to face No. 13 Penn State on Saturday (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).
Wolverines sophomore center David Molk has been medically cleared to practice after missing the last four games with a broken bone in his foot. Molk sustained the injury Sept. 19 against Eastern Michigan, underwent surgery a few days later and was expected to miss four to six weeks.
His performance in practice this week will determine whether he can play against Penn State.
"How he feels after each and every practice will determine, really, what role he can take, whether he can be starting, whether he can play the whole time, in and out, just what he can tolerate," Wolverines head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "Medically, everything has been cleared for him to go to practice. It is a matter of how comfortable he feels with that, getting back in action.
"He hasn't done much football-wise. He did a little last week, but nothing with full pads."
If Molk returns to the lineup, David Moosman would slide from center to right guard and the right tackle spot would go to either Mark Huyge or Perry Dorrestein. The left side of the line remains set with Mark Ortmann at tackle and Stephen Schilling at guard.
In other injury news, Wolverines running backs Brandon Minor (ankle) and Carlos Brown (concussion) will play against Penn State after missing last week's blowout of Delaware State.
- Rodriguez on Monday told the story of when he played at West Virginia and the Mountaineers faced Penn State in 1984. Rodriguez's wife, Rita, then a cheerleader for West Virginia, went up to Penn State head coach Joe Paterno before the game and asked if he would take a picture with the cheer squad. Paterno agreed. "She kept that picture in her wallet," said Rich, who often jokes about the story with Paterno and Rita. "May still have it. Kept it right there in the wallet. 'There's the big celebrity, Joe Paterno and me, 1984.' ... She never asked to take a picture with me at the time."
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier and running back Carlos Brown are both listed as probable for Saturday's game against Delaware State (Big Ten Network, noon ET) after dealing with concussions.
Here's Michigan's full injury report, issued Thursday night.
- C David Molk, foot
- CB Zac Johnson, shoulder
- QB Tate Forcier, concussion
- RB Carlos Brown, concussion
Rodriguez named defensive end Brandon Graham, kicker Jason Olesnavage, linebacker Ohene Opong-Owusu and left tackle Mark Ortmann as the Wolverines' game captains for Saturday.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Great questions the last few weeks, and thanks for all the kind words. Big Ten fans are in midseason form.
Steve from Indiana writes: Hey Adam, why do you think Purdue is unable to finish games every week? They have the talent to compete with most teams, but always seem to make a dumb mistake or turnover in the end. Would this be caused by inexperieced, poor coaching, or something else?
Adam Rittenberg: It's a good question, Steve, and one that I'm sure Danny Hope is trying to figure out. Obviously, you can't turn the ball over for points, which is what Purdue did against both Northwestern and Oregon. But you also need to have the belief that you're going to win, and that belief only comes with evidence. In the last few years, Purdue seems to lack the killer instinct at the end of games. I covered last year's loss to Oregon, a game the Boilers had no business losing. I'm not sure if it's a mental toughness issue or what, but I wouldn't chalk it up to talent. The talent is there, as you say. As far as the experience factor, Purdue has plenty of veteran players, but not enough who have experienced what it takes to win big games and make plays in the clutch.
Jared from Ann Arbor, Mich., writes: Why hasn't everyone been ripping Michigan's offensive line play in that embarrassing loss to state? A couple muffed snaps was only the beginning of it - O-linemen were losing one-on-one blocking battles all day. Were it not for Tate Forcier's speed and elusiveness, we wouldn't have had anything, and honestly the fact that they didn't come to play killed our ground game. Was the weather a big problem or something or is Michigan in a lot of trouble going into Iowa next week?
Adam Rittenberg: I talked Monday with Wolverines left tackle Mark Ortmann, who took full responsibility for the loss. So even if fans don't see the obvious, the players do, and that's all that matters. Not having center David Molk hurts, but I was surprised how Michigan State's defensive front dominated the line of scrimmage. Michigan can't keep relying on Tate Forcier to bail out the offense. The run game needs to get going and the blocking must be a whole lot better Saturday against an even better Iowa defensive front.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Like most fifth-year seniors, Michigan's Mark Ortmann and Jason Olesnavage have pretty much seen it all.
They've been to the Rose Bowl and lost to Appalachian State. They've handed Florida its only postseason loss under Urban Meyer and endured the worst season in team history last fall. They've experienced a coaching change and been a part of the biggest game in recent Big Ten history at Ohio State in 2006.
|Leon Halip/Getty Images|
|The Wolverines need Tate Forcier to bounce back from Saturday's loss to Michigan State.|
"We’ve been through everything," said Olesnavage, the Wolverines starting kicker. "So from our perspective, I don’t think one loss is going to send us in a downward spiral."
Michigan's old guard isn't the only faction of the team with an inventory of experiences. The Wolverines' freshmen have only five games under their belts and only a few months on a college campus, but arguably no other group of young players in the country has been through more in such little time.
They have dealt with the preseason allegations of NCAA violations against head coach Rich Rodriguez and his assistants, which put Michigan's program under the national microscope leading up to the opener. They have dealt with adversity in games against Notre Dame and Indiana, only to rally back behind their fearless freshman leader, quarterback Tate Forcier. And now they've experienced their first defeat, to a rival no less, as they fell 26-20 in overtime to Michigan State last Saturday.
It was another lesson learned, which Wolverines players hope will pay off as they move on to Saturday night's road showdown against No. 12 Iowa (ABC, 8 p.m. ET).
"We work hard and we deserve what we get," said Ortmann, the Wolverines' starting left tackle. "We didn’t deserve to win on Saturday. Michigan State brought the fight to us, and we weren’t prepared for it. But as tough as it was and as bad as we played as an offense, we still had a chance to win. It gives an inspiration to the rest of the team that we are capable of coming back at any time, if needed, to win a game.
"I think people will go into Iowa with their heads up.”
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
No. 22 Michigan has issued its injury report for Saturday's game at Michigan State (Big Ten Network, noon ET).
- Center David Molk, foot
- Cornerback Zac Johnson, shoulder
- Safety Mike Williams, ankle
Michigan's struggling secondary certainly could use Williams against the Spartans, so his progress bodes well. Williams has 16 tackles in three games and can aid in coverage as Michigan contends with a deep group of wide receivers and tight ends. Obviously, quarterback Tate Forcier's absence from the injury report indicates he should be fine for the game after hurting his shoulder last week. Running back Kevin Grady, defensive end Brandon Graham, running back Brandon Minor and left tackle Mark Ortmann will serve as game captains.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Everything on offense starts with what happens up front, and line play will make or break the season for several Big Ten teams. The league loses a handful of standout linemen, including Rimington Trophy winner A.Q. Shipley, but several teams should reload nicely.
There's a lot to like about the top three, and I don't see any truly bad units in the league.
1. Iowa -- Shonn Greene was the nation's most dominant running back last year, but he had plenty of help. Iowa returns three starters and several key reserves from a line that propelled Greene to 13 consecutive 100-yard rushing performances. Junior Bryan Bulaga is the league's premier left tackle, while Kyle Calloway provides depth on the other side. The Hawkeyes boast more guard depth than any Big Ten team, a group that includes Dace Richardson, who has resurrected his career after a string of injuries.
2. Ohio State -- A major disappointment in 2008, Ohio State's line should be much improved thanks to experience, the addition of guard Justin Boren and some excellent recruiting. Boren brings a much-needed spark to the line and impressed just about everyone this spring. Center Mike Brewster is a year older, and senior Jim Cordle has shown impressive versatility in shifting to right tackle. The left tackle spot concerns me a bit, but Ohio State has recruited extremely well here.
3. Wisconsin -- The Badgers lose starting guards Andy Kemp and Kraig Urbik, but they always find a way to control the line of scrimmage and return several key pieces. Center John Moffitt and left tackle Gabe Carimi will contend for All-Big Ten honors, and Bill Nagy looks solid at one of the guard spots. If right tackle Josh Oglesby takes a step forward and lives up to his potential, Wisconsin will once again have one of the league's top lines.
4. Northwestern -- The team hopes its skill-position losses will be offset by a much better offensive line, which returns four starters. Northwestern did a good job of limiting sacks last year but should be much better at staying on blocks and buying time for athletic quarterback Mike Kafka. Left tackle Al Netter and center Ben Burkett are both All-Big Ten candidates, and the Wildcats boast plenty of depth after recruiting extremely well to this position.
5. Michigan -- No group will make a bigger jump in Year 2 of the spread offense than the line, which returns four starters. Michigan should be very solid up the middle with center David Molk and guards Stephen Schilling and David Moosman. If the Marks (Ortmann and Huyge) hold up at the tackle spots, a run game led by Brandon Minor will surge. Despite several player departures, Michigan has recruited several standout linemen who will provide depth this fall.
6. Michigan State -- I like the Joels (Foreman and Nitchman), and left tackle Rocco Cironi returns from a shoulder injury, but this group still needs to prove itself. Despite Javon Ringer's success last fall, the line was just average and must fill several gaps. Hopes are high for J'Michael Deane and Jared McGaha after spring ball, and if those players make progress Michigan State will move up the list.
7. Penn State -- The line rivals the secondary as Penn State's biggest concern entering the fall. In addition to Shipley, the Lions lose tackle Gerald Cadogan and guard Rich Ohrnberger. Only one starter (right tackle Dennis Landolt) returns to the same position he occupied in 2008. Stefen Wisniewski will be fine at center, but Penn State needs tackle DeOn'tae Pannell and others to make a lot of progress during camp.
8. Illinois -- With so much talent at the skill positions, expectations will be high for the Illini line, which drew mixed reviews in 2008. Right guard Jon Asamoah will contend for All-Big Ten honors, and Illinois really likes young right tackle Jeff Allen. The team must fill a big hole at left tackle, though veteran Eric Block slides over from guard to center. This could end up being a very respectable group.
9. Minnesota -- Perhaps no offensive line in the Big Ten intrigues me more than Minnesota's, which is going through a major transition in both scheme and technique with assistant Tim Davis. The Gophers are returning to their roots as a power-run offense, but they'll have to adjust quickly to all the changes. Left tackle Matt Stommes could be a pro prospect if things fall right, and the mammoth Jeff Wills lines up on the other side of the line. Notre Dame transfer Matt Carufel joins the mix as a starting guard.
10. Purdue -- Injuries decimated the two-deep last year, and Purdue used seven different starting lineups up front. The Boilers are much healthier entering the fall and should be much better. Young players like right guard Ken Plue gained valuable experience last fall, and he rejoins veterans Jared Zwilling, Zach Reckman and Zach Jones. The big question is how quickly the group jells as Purdue wants to stress the run game more this fall.
11. Indiana -- Much like Purdue, injuries hit Indiana's line especially hard last fall. The Hoosiers have two proven veterans in left tackle Rodger Saffold and center Pete Saxon, both of whom have started for three seasons. If those two can lead the way and young players like Justin Pagan and Will Matte continue to develop, Indiana will be much improved here.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Some media day leftovers for you.
- Can anyone keep pace with the Big Ten's big two this fall? The Sporting News' Dave Curtis takes a look.
- Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is nasty, in a good way, CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel writes.
- Ohio State didn't play nice during summer workouts, and that's a good thing, Doug Lesmersises writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Penn State's defensive line will be without troubled tackle Abe Koroma this year, Matt Fortuna writes in The Daily Collegian. Head coach Joe Paterno wishes he'd played quarterback Daryll Clark a lot earlier.
- Michigan tackle Mark Ortmann fires back at former line mates Justin Boren and Kurt Wermers, annarbor.com's Michael Rothstein writes. On the other side of the ball, head coach Rich Rodriguez likes what new defensive coordinator Greg Robinson brings to the table, Mark Snyder writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz faces a unique challenge in coaching his son, Marc Morehouse writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette.
- Illinois star wideout Arrelious Benn isn't an Iowa fan, Scout.com's Rob Howe writes. Too bad the Illini and Hawkeyes don't meet this fall. Speaking of fighting words, Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon says there's no bad blood between him and Illinois quarterback Juice Williams.
- After nearly turning pro following last season, Northwestern defensive end Corey Wootton sets his sights on the first round, Teddy Greenstein writes in the Chicago Tribune.
- Michigan State's 2009 recruiting class will make an impact this fall and beyond, Joe Rexrode writes in the Lansing State Journal.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Let's take a spin around the Big Ten.
- Ohio State's home showdown against USC and its road trip to Penn State make colleague Bruce Feldman's list of must-see games this season.
- Minnesota is offering rebates to premium seat owners in the new TCF Bank Stadium after the recent decision to prohibit alcohol sales throughout the facility, the Star Tribune reports.
- Michigan offensive lineman Mark Ortmann is learning from the best, Mark Snyder writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- Purdue has no major health issues and is seeing good turnout at summer workouts, Mike Carmin writes in The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier.
- No surprise here as quarterback Juice Williams is considered the team's most important player, The (Champaign) News-Gazette's Bob Asmussen writes.
- Penn State quarterback recruit Paul Jones might miss his senior season of high school following ankle surgery, Mike White writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Former Ohio State assistant Dennis Fryzel died after a battle with cancer, Tim May writes in The Columbus Dispatch.