Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NCF Nation [Print without images]

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Big Ten internal affairs: Week 11


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Here's our weekly look inside five Big Ten teams.

Illinois -- Eddie McGee showed promise last year when he spelled Juice Williams at quarterback. But with Williams entrenched under center for the rest of this season and 2009, Illini coaches aren't letting McGee's talents go to waste. McGee made his debut as a wide receiver last Saturday against Iowa and caught two passes for 14 yards, including a critical 9-yarder that helped to set up the game-winning field goal. McGee will remain Williams' primary backup at quarterback, but he won't be spending much time holding a clipboard. "We all know when he gets the ball in his hands he can fly," head coach Ron Zook said. "We'll be able to expand on that. He's a heck of an athlete."

Iowa -- Linebacker Dezman Moses returned to practice during the bye week after being suspended four games. Moses was charged Sept. 21 with public intoxication. He played in Iowa's first few games and will be available Saturday when the Hawkeyes face Penn State. Senior safety Harold Dalton's future looks grim after an arrest early Sunday for his role in an Iowa City bar fight. Head coach Kirk Ferentz said its "very doubtful" Dalton will return this year. "The common denominator, alcohol, is so often involved," Ferentz said. "That's a common denominator. Our uncommon denominator in this case is that [Dalton is] an older player. We've talked about that before. I'm a little more understanding with younger guys. But it's really disappointing."

Northwestern -- The Wildcats likely will use two quarterbacks Saturday against Ohio State, but the prospect of using both players on the field at the same time is highly unlikely. Backup Mike Kafka showcased his dynamic running skills at Minnesota with a Big Ten quarterback-record 217 rushing yards. Kafka might be an effective weapon in the backfield with starter C.J. Bacher or lined up as a wide receiver, but head coach Pat Fitzgerald doesn't want to take the risk with his second-string quarterback. Third-stringer Dan Persa, who already is being used on special teams, would be a likelier candidate to see playing time elsewhere. "We're not opposed to doing that," Fitzgerald said, "but not necessarily with the second quarterback."

Ohio State -- The starting offensive line from the Buckeyes' Oct. 25 loss to Penn State will remain intact Saturday at Northwestern, but the second unit could have a different makeup. Ben Person, who has started games this season at left guard, might need surgery for a leg injury and likely will miss Saturday's game. True freshman J.B. Shugarts -- previously ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury -- will be available in reserve duty if needed. Another freshman, Mike Adams, remains out with a foot injury.

Wisconsin -- Tight end is one of the most important positions in Wisconsin's offense, but it's a spot where injuries have hit especially hard. After losing Garrett Graham earlier this season, the Badgers have seen Travis Beckum and Lance Kendricks sustain broken left legs in consecutive weeks. Graham and Mickey Turner now will share the duties at tight end for Saturday's game at Indiana. Turner is more of a blocking tight end but can be effective as a receiver, an area where Graham shines. Wisconsin will continue to emphasize double tight end sets in the offense. "Can you get out of it what you need? Yeah," offensive coordinator Paul Chryst told the Wisconsin State Journal. "Can you get out of it what you got in the past? No."