Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Big Ten Morning Briefing: Quarterbacks still a mystery
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Several more Week 1 depth charts came out Monday, but few major questions were answered. Penn State still doesn't have a starting quarterback, and neither does Indiana or Michigan. The first Big Ten coaches' teleconference is later Tuesday, so perhaps some light will be shed on the league's top position battles. Check back for updates.
- ESPN TV analyst Kirk Herbstreit says the Big Ten has been in an "identity crisis" since 2006, George M. Thomas writes in the Akron Beacon-Journal.
- Illinois linebacker Martez Wilson was surprised to end up on the Butkus Award watch list after never starting a game last fall. Now Wilson has the chance to back up all his hype, Stu Durando writes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Illini defense isn't the only unit looking for better results Saturday in St. Louis, Mike DeArmond writes in The Kansas City Star.
- Having Jerimy Finch eligible for this season will help Indiana, but don't expect the Florida transfer to play right away, Chris Korman writes in the Bloomington Herald Times (subscription required).
- Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz didn't go through the normal application avenues to land his first head-coaching job at Maine, Marc Morehouse writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Iowa is finalizing its future schedules, which probably won't change the belief that the Big Ten takes it easy in the nonconference, Eric Page writes in the Quad City Times. Iowa's streak of sellouts could come to an end Saturday against Maine.
- Rich Rodriguez doesn't mind rocking the boat at a Michigan program accustomed to the status quo, Drew Sharp writes in the Detroit Free Press. Don't be surprised to see two quarterbacks play in Michigan's season opener, Mark Snyder writes in the Detroit Free Press. Count on plenty of true freshmen being on the field, John Heuser writes in The Ann Arbor News. The Wolverines will start a new tradition, the "Victors Walk," before each home game this season, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News. I'll have to check that out on Saturday.
- Michigan State's new facility is long overdue and could have benefited previous coaches, Tim Staudt writes in the Lansing State Journal. The Spartans haven't beaten a Pac-10 team on the road since 1957, Joe Rexrode writes in his blog. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises expects Sparty to start 7-0.
- Heralded Minnesota freshman quarterback MarQueis Gray is off the team, at least temporarily, because of an academic eligibility issue, Myron Medcalf writes in the Star Tribune. Redshirt freshman wideout Damien White has left the team, Marcus Fuller writes in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Footwork could be the key to C.J. Bacher's consistency this fall at Northwestern, Lindsey Willhite writes in the Daily Herald. Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald is high on wide receiver Jeremy Ebert, the only true freshman on the Week 1 depth chart.
- Quarterback Todd Boeckman's surge of confidence is unmistakable at Ohio State, Tim May writes in The Columbus Dispatch. The Buckeyes seem to be taking no chances with hobbled running back Brandon Saine, Doug Lesmerises writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Columbus Dispatch columnist Rob Oller is sick of SEC fans.
- Don't hold your breath for a starting quarterback to be named at Penn State, Jeff McLane writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Nittany Lions defensive end Mo Evans is setting the bar extremely high, like 24 sacks high, Todd Irwin writes in The Altoona Mirror. The Spread HD will look a lot like Penn State's 2005 offense, and the team needs some players to step up at linebacker, Bob Flounders writes in The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News.
- Purdue's Cory Benton finally gets his shot to start at center this fall, Tom Kubat writes in The Journal and Courier. The Boilers are still waiting for wideout D.J. Donley, a transfer from Georgia Tech, to arrive on campus. Donley might have to attend a junior college this season.
- Wisconsin starting safety Jay Valai doesn't lack much confidence, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Badgers offensive coordinator Paul Chryst doesn't have a set system for developing quarterbacks, Jim Polzin writes in The Capital Times. The Badgers hope to end their Big Ten title drou
ght this fall. Ohio State fans aren't the only ones celebrating the Big Ten Network-Time Warner Cable deal, Don Walker writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.