Big Ten: Mike Yeager

Big Ten mailblog

August, 4, 2009

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Lots of great questions right now. Keep 'em coming.

Ed from Davenport, Iowa, writes: Since nobody else can answer this---Why is IOWA playing at Spartan Stadium two years in a row? By this reasoning, PSU should visit IOWA again this year.

Adam Rittenberg: It's one of the wacky things about the unbalanced Big Ten schedule. Every team has two conference byes each season, and when those byes reset every two years, you sometimes get a situation like this when games are repeated. This season marks the start of a new cycle with byes, so you get repeat matchups like Iowa at Michigan State, Northwestern at Iowa, Indiana at Penn State and Minnesota at Ohio State.

Greg from Cicero, Ind., writes: I believe your ranking of Purdue's defensive line is far off. They will be much stronger than you believe. Kerrigan and Neal are going to have great seasons. I do agree with your linebacker assessment. Purdue needs Werner to stay healthy and Carlino and Holland really have to step it up. Surely, you are going to give Purdue's secondary a better ranking. They should be pretty solid this year.

Adam Rittenberg: Purdue's line could be pretty solid this year, but aside from Ryan Kerrigan and Mike Neal, there are a bunch of unproven players. I really like the 1-2 punch with Kerrigan and Neal, but if guys like Kawann Short and Gerald Gooden don't grow up quickly, opponents will continue to run against Purdue and challenge the front seven. I agree with you that the linebackers are a concern and Jason Werner's health looms large with that group. And yes, I gave the secondary a more favorable review. Purdue's defense, like the rest of the team, is a bit of a mystery and certainly could surprise some people.

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Big Ten recruiting scorecard

July, 30, 2009

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Penn State and Ohio State both add big-name recruits, and other teams fill in the gaps. Here's your updated recruiting scorecard. 


  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz
  • Quick take: No new commits for the Illini, but a solid class is taking shape with Fiedorowicz's recent pledge. Wide receiver Kyle Prater remains a good possibility for Illinois, which will take advantage of a strong in-state crop in 2010. 


  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Indiana's fast start is one of the more intriguing early storylines in Big Ten recruiting. Time will tell if the Hoosiers are being too impulsive with their offers, but several of their additions look solid. Linebacker Jack Denton is a very nice pickup for Mike Yeager, and Cameron Cole adds depth in the secondary.


  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end Matt Hoch, tackle Andrew Donnal
  • Quick take: Things have slowed down a bit for Iowa, which got its last commitment from Donnal on July 13. Iowa has bolstered both lines and its linebacking corps, which loses Pat Angerer and A.J. Edds after the season. The next step: more skill guys.


  • 2010 verbal commits: 16
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Devin Gardner, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, guard Christian Pace, safety Marvin Robinson
  • Quick take: Nothing new for Michigan, which should be fairly selective from here on out after a very quick start. Rich Rodriguez will look to bolster both lines after stocking up on skill guys early on.


  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough, quarterback Joe Boisture
  • Quick take: Safety Isaiah Lewis fits the Mark Dantonio mold in the secondary and gives Michigan State its second defensive back commitment for 2010. The Spartans have good balance among their 10 commits and soon could add heralded wide receiver Tony Jones. 


  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: All has been quiet on the Gophers' recruiting front since a flurry of additions in late June and early July. Minnesota's re-commitment to the run game has paid off with Donnell Kirkwood and Lamonte Edwards. Tim Brewster now must address the defense in the coming weeks and months.


  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: No new commitments for the Wildcats, who are still looking to land their first in-state prospect. Northwestern has more high-level early commits (Paul Jorgenson, Trevor Siemian) than in past seasons, and Pat Fitzgerald seems willing to be patient as he fills out a smallish class. 


  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham, running back Roderick Smith, defensive end Darryl Baldwin, wide receiver James Louis
  • Quick take: Look out, here come the Buckeyes. Wideout James Louis gives Ohio State six watch list commits out of 10 and bolsters the passing game for the future. What's more impressive is that the Buckeyes went into Florida and plucked one of the state's best prospects, who had offers from all of the SEC powers. 


  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz, defensive tackle Evan Hailes, quarterback Robert Bolden, wide receiver Alex Kenney, defensive end Dakota Royer
  • Quick take: It's now official: Penn State has the Big Ten's top recruiting class at this point in the process. Royer gives the Nittany Lions eight watch list prospects, three of whom play defensive line. Tight end Kevin Haplea is another solid addition for Penn State, which has turned the page after some recruiting struggles during the middle part of this decade. 


  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: Chalk up two more Florida recruits for Purdue, which added defenders E.J. Johnson and William Lucas since the last scorecard. Lucas is a bit undersized at linebacker but makes up for it with good quickness and strength. After signing 14 players from Florida in his first recruiting class, Purdue head coach Danny Hope continues to look to the Sunshine State for talent.


  • 2010 verbal commits: 12
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Frank Tamakloe
  • Quick take: The Badgers are clearly leaning toward the defense with their 2010 class and added two more defenders in safety Michael Trotter and linebacker Cody Byers, who played a lot of safety in high school and could see time there. It's not an official Wisconsin recruiting class without a running back, and Bret Bielema satisfied his quota with Jeff Lewis, a decent in-state prospect with good size.

Indiana shuffles coaches' duties

February, 20, 2009

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Indiana head coach Bill Lynch said in December that he wouldn't make changes to his coaching staff despite a 3-9 season. 

Lynch is keeping his word. Sort of. 

Indiana announced several realignments to Lynch's staff Friday. No one has been fired and all three coordinators remain in place, but some coaches will be focusing elsewhere this fall. 

Here's the rundown of changes:

  • Running backs coach and co-special teams coordinator Dennis Springer has added the title of assistant head coach.
  • Tight ends coach Kyle Conner also will serve as assistant offensive line coach alongside Bobby Johnson.
  • Co-defensive coordinators Brian George and Joe Palcic will work with the defensive tackles and the secondary, respectively. George previously had overseen the entire defensive line, while Palcic worked only with the cornerbacks.
  • Mike Yeager will work with the linebackers after previously serving as safeties coach. He continues as Indiana's recruiting coordinator.
  • George Ricumstrict moves from linebackers coach to defensive ends coach. He will continue as co-special teams coordinator.

Three coaches retain their 2008 responsibilities: Johnson (offensive line), Matt Canada (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks) and Billy Lynch (wide receivers).

You can't read into this too much, but it seems as though Bill Lynch likes what Palcic does with the defensive backs and will allow him to oversee the entire secondary. Springer and Conner also get mini-promotions.

Indiana returns most of its core on defense and must improve on that side of the ball to boost its win total in 2009.