Chat with Adam Rittenberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Big Ten reporter Adam Rittenberg will stop by to talk college football.
Rittenberg joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four years at the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, where he covered sports at Notre Dame, Northwestern, DePaul and several other colleges. He lives in Chicago.
Send your questions now and join Rittenberg Thursday at noon ET!
Adam Rittenberg (12:01 PM)
Hey guys, I'm here. Big news at Penn State. Let's get started!
Adam, what did you think of Myers coaching ability in the last two OSU games. OSU was favored in both...
Adam Rittenberg (12:02 PM)
It wasn't his finest moment in either contest, particularly in the fourth quarters. I thought he prepared his team relatively well for Clemson, but there's only so much you can do when the defense is so banged up and young. The big mistake he made in both games was going away from Carlos Hyde at the end.
Eddie (Hoboken, NJ)
Hearing that Franklin accepted! How amazing will that be for Penn State? Can he hang with Hoke/Meyer, et al.?
Adam Rittenberg (12:03 PM)
From a recruiting standpoint, he's a home run. He'll recruit more like Meyer does, which rankles some in the Big Ten but is ultimately what the league needs. I think PSU can compete for titles with Franklin, but how long does he stay? He has never remained in one place very long.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Kevin Wilson landed a big recruit this week with the commitment of Dominique Booth? How would you rate the job he's done in Bloomington, and the current status of his rebuilding project?
Adam Rittenberg (12:04 PM)
Booth is a good addition, Tony, especially with Cody Latimer somewhat surprisingly jumping early to the draft. From a recruiting standpoint on both sides, Wilson has done well. But the defense is still a joke in games. Until that changes, he'll be no different than Lynch, Cameron or the other offense-first coaches we've seen at IU. It all comes down to the defense.
With Doug Nussmeier joining the UM Staff, as OC, is there any possibility that he'll stay and perhaps become the next HC (when Hoke retires)?
Adam Rittenberg (12:05 PM)
I guess I don't know where that's coming from Dave. You hire a guy under Brady Hoke and then replace Hoke with him? Doesn't make much sense to me. Plus, would Michigan want to hire a first-time head coach? I think the Wolverines can do a little bit better if they choose to replace Hoke.
Hi Adam. I can't believe there will be no football for 9 long months. I'd leave the 70 degree weather here for sub-zero Chicago if it meant the Buckeyes would just play a few more games. What do tOSU fans have to be most excited about next year?
Adam Rittenberg (12:07 PM)
Enrique, having lived through minus-40 wind chill on Monday, I'd gladly trade places with you, bud. The offseason is long and not much fun, but Ohio State fans should be excited that Braxton Miller seemingly is coming back for his senior season. The offense has to reload along the line but should be very good again. And the young defense should get better, especially up front with guys like Joey Bosa. I also liked what I saw from Jamal Marcus in the bowl game. But Ohio State has more question marks right now that it did a month ago.
Adam, I know nothing is official yet, but do you know anything about the timing of how the UM OC hire went? I have to think that Hoke had been talking to Nussmeier for a while, because I find it hard to believe all that was accomplished in less than 24 hours. Also, what do you think it means for Funk, who has come under fire but is an excellent recruiter?
Adam Rittenberg (12:09 PM)
The process definitely had been in the works for at least a week, GBK. I like that Hoke had a plan in place, even if the timing, a day after some recruits enroll early, raised a few eyebrows. Darrell Funk's fate is tied to the line's improvement this fall. The recruiting has been strong, but if we see more of the same, you have to look at the coach and whether he's developing the talent well enough. So it's a big year for Funk, especially under a new boss of sorts in Nussmeier.
Adam, what I meant was that if Nussmeirer works out and sticks around, that he'll have the opportunity to become HC (as opposed to leaving for another school).
Adam Rittenberg (12:10 PM)
But that's assuming Michigan fires Hoke, which is assuming Michigan struggles again this season. And if Michigan struggles, the offense probably will have something to do with it. So it's all connected in my view. If Nussmeier succeeds, Michigan succeeds, Hoke stays and Nussmeier maybe gets a head-coaching job elsewhere.
C-Nags (BIG Apple)
I hope PSU included another large buyout so we aren't having this same discussion in 3 years!
Adam Rittenberg (12:11 PM)
The contract will be fascinating, C-Nags. Franklin has been a job-hopper throughout his career. His name is always mentioned for jobs. It will be again when SEC vacancies open up in the future. Penn State has to ensure this isn't another 2-year stopover.
Jeff (Fort Wayne)
Hey Adam love the blog. Since Louisville decided to go with Petrino, when and where do you see Pat Narduzzi ending up at. Will he have to go to a mid major and build a program before being considered for the upper echelon jobs in college football.
Adam Rittenberg (12:12 PM)
Jeff, we'll see if the trickle-down effect puts Narduzzi in the mix for a job like Vanderbilt, although I doubt it. He has the luxury of waiting for the right major-conference job to open up. He'll be getting a raise at MSU and loves his situation there. I'd think if Illinois comes open in a year, he'd have an excellent chance. He would be interested in that job, I've been told.
MarkyMark (the Mountains)
Why hasn't anyone mentioned that Saban was letting Nussmeier go?? And then uofm comes in and pays him top 5 money? If he was such a great OC, why didn't sark bring him to USC?
Adam Rittenberg (12:14 PM)
The Saban-Lane Kiffin thing is fascinating, and it seems like Saban wants Lane for the next phase of Alabama's offense, sans McCarron. Nussmeier left Sark at Washington for the Alabama job, a better gig, so I don't think Sark not taking him to USC means anything.
Mike (Psu Class of 2013)
Best hire possible for PSU? I think he is a better Coach than Bill and equally good recruiter.
Adam Rittenberg (12:15 PM)
I'm not sure he's a better coach than O'Brien, Mike. Coaches like Franklin and Pat Fitzgerald get a lot of credit -- perhaps too much credit -- for winning at places that are perceived to be dead ends. I will say as a recruiter, Franklin is right up there with Urban Meyer in the Big Ten and superior to O'Brien, although O'Brien could sell the NFL background.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
What's the deal with Noah Spence? Is there any validity to his father's claim? Or is this the typical I didn't read the label, or know what I was taking type excuse?
Adam Rittenberg (12:17 PM)
Their claim is he didn't intend to take the ecstasy and was unaware someone had put it in his drink. But a positive test is a positive test, and the Big Ten was within its rights to impose a full year suspension before reducing it to three games. It's an unfortunate situation, but the rules are pretty clear (first positive test: full year suspension; second positive test: eligibility revoked).
How do you think the new bowl lineup will be adapted by the fans of the great conference? Maybe a poll for the new bowl your excited for?
Adam Rittenberg (12:19 PM)
Good idea, Badger. We'll put that together at some point. I do think Big Ten fans will embrace the new lineup, especially the two additional California bowls (Holiday, Fight Hunger) against the Pac-12, as the Rose Bowl won't be a guarantee once every four years. Nashville is a little closer to the Big Ten footprint for Music City Bowl, and there are a bunch of Big Ten fans living in the New York market who can attend the Pinstripe Bowl.
Ed (Queens Village)
With James Franklin likely on board. Will he able to lure kids from Philly, Pittsburgh, and SEC country where he coached before?
Adam Rittenberg (12:20 PM)
He's a Pennsylvania native, and his top assistants have roots in PA, New Jersey and Maryland. I think he'll do really well in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and particularly the Maryland/DC area. And yes, he'll continue to recruit the South, which Penn State largely ignored under Joe Paterno. You have to recruit the South hard to compete nationally and even in the Big Ten with programs like Ohio State. Franklin will do so.
Speaking of coaching recruiting abilities, will you guys start following top recruiting battles between Big Ten teams? Take Malik McDowell for example.
Adam Rittenberg (12:22 PM)
We'll keep track, Josh, but our recruiting staff does the lion's share of that coverage. Tom VanHaaren is exceptional at what he does. You should follow him on Twitter (@TomVH) and all of his Big Ten recruiting coverage. The guy is really plugged in.
Is Ameer Abdullah wearing a Husker helmet next year or is he playing on Sunday? And if he does go pro, is it the best decision for him at this point in time?
Adam Rittenberg (12:23 PM)
We're hearing Ameer is likely to stay. He has some interest in turning pro, but it sounds like his family wants him at Nebraska for another year. I can never fault a running back for making the jump, and Ameer has proven himself at this level with 11 100-yard rush games this past season. But I also think he can get better in college with another year.
Mike (Psu Class of 2013)
Do you think O'Brien was that great of an overall coach? I thought his offense was very good most of the time but is 2nd half adjustments and defenses were not good. PSU lost a lot of games in the 2nd half.
Adam Rittenberg (12:24 PM)
Few coaches would have won games with the defense Penn State had this past year, Mike. Very depleted and not very talented overall. O'Brien modernized the Penn State offense and got a lot out of that group. He's a good coach.
Does Franklin keep LJ on as defensive coach?
Adam Rittenberg (12:26 PM)
Big decision for sure, and there will be some pressure for him to do so. Franklin seems very loyal to his staff, though, including D-line coach Sean Spencer, who has been with him for all three years at Vanderbilt. If you keep one coach from the current staff, though, it'd be LJ. But does he want to stay?
Buzzmaster (1:17 PM)
Hey everyone, we had some technical difficulties out of Adam's hands that stopped the chat short today.