Live chat: Answers from's Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart chatted with readers Monday (check out his previous chats in the chat archives).  Look back at the Q&A he conducted with Big Ten football fans and be sure to read his work all week long.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (31 Comments) staff on 11/28/2011 @ 10:55am EDT Said:

We’ll be posting your questions and Tom Dienhart’s live answers here beginning at noon ET. Questions are flowing in but keep them coming! Lots to talk about today.

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:00pm EDT Said:

Ready to talk some grid? Big week! First Title Game! staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:01pm EDT Said:

Welcome Tom. Let’s get this thing rolling with our first question….

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:01pm EDT Said:

I think I am leaning toward Wisconsin in the title game. I can’t wait to see the matchup between the Badger offense and MSU defense. Will be iconic.

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:06pm EDT Said:

I think getting Urban Meyer will be HUGE for the league. He is one of the nation’s top coaches, winning two national titles in five years at Florida. He can recruit, build a staff and coach. And he will walk into one of the best jobs in America at OSU. With Meyer on board, the Big Ten’s national fortunes in the postseason have to improve.

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:08pm EDT Said:

The Leaders Division will have three new coaches in 2012 at Ohio State; Illinois; Penn State. Plus, Indiana’s Kevin Wilson only will be in his second season. staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:09pm EDT Said:

From Cameron: How does Urban Meyer’s spread offense at Florida fit with the existing talent at Ohio State? Would he mold his approach next year to the talent there now or make them fit what he wants to do? Seems like a big learning curve for the kids already there.

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:13pm EDT Said:

Good question. I think Braxton Miller could be a good fit for the offesene, and I’m guessing that Meyer will use the same attack. But there will be a learning curve. And I wonder how the offense will impact recruiting receivers. Meyer also favored small, quick backs at Florida. How will that impact bigger RBs already on campus?

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:14pm EDT Said:

I think Meyer is smart enough initially to not force his talent to do things it’s not capable of. But, over time, I think he will recruit to his scheme. staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:16pm EDT Said:

From Jonathan: Could TE Jake Stoneburner really explode next season for Ohio State, because Urban Meyer recruited him at Florida (out of Dublin, OH) and continued to compliment Stoneburner during the one OSU game he broadcasted (against Akron). Could Stoneburner be used as the main threat like Aaron Hernandez?

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:19pm EDT Said:

Yes, I could see Stoneburner being used a lot by Urban. At Florida, Meyer had some good tight ends, and he liked to use them. In 2009, Meyer coached Aaron Hernandez, who won the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end. Meyer’s offense likes to use crossing routes with the tight end, and also send them down the seams. Any tight end in America would love to play in the offense. staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:20pm EDT Said:

From Gordon Connor: What is the best metric for comparing running back Monte Ball with Barry Sanders for touchdowns in a season? Is it TDs for season, TDs per game, TDs per touch, or TDs for minutes played? Ball did not play in the 4th quarter of nearly 50% of the games played this season. I don’t know about Barrys 87 season game playing minutes, hence I feel TDs per touch ratio would be the most accurate comparison metric.

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:25pm EDT Said:

FYI: Sanders’ big year was 1988, when he ran for over 2,600 yards and scored 39 TDs. He did so in 11 games, as bowls didn’t count back then in stats. As you said, I think the best way to compare Ball with Sanders is “TDs per touch” ratio. Counting his bowl, Sanders carried the ball 373 times and caught 19 passes. Ball has run 248 times this year with 17 catches. So, as you can see, Ball is scoring at a greater clip. He should be getting more Heisman love. He will from me on my ballot! staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:25pm EDT Said:

From Andy Coppens: What have you seen from Russell Wilson since that MSU loss that makes you think he’s capable of playing better this time around?

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:29pm EDT Said:

In the first game vs. MSU, Wilson hit 14 of 21 passes for 223 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs and ran 8 times for 30 yards and a score. Not bad. And that was ON THE ROAD. Wilson has continued to get better as the year has gone on. If he has similar numbers on Saturday night in Indy, I like the Badgers’ chances, especially if Montee Ball is running wild to give the offense tremendous balance. staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:29pm EDT Said:

We’re 30 minutes into today’s live chat here and your questions are great. Tom will stick around for anoher half hour so keep the questions coming.

From Alton: If Urban Meyer seems healthy to coach again could his medical condition possibly make his career at OSU a short one and make this more of a risk vs a good move by Ohio State knowing of Meyer’s heart issue?

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:34pm EDT Said:

You raise a fair question. By all accounts, Meyer had BAD health issues related to his heart. And this is a guy who is only 47 and apparently in good health. He apparently neglected his well-being when he coached (exercise, sleep, etc.) Has he changed by sitting out just ONE year? I don’t know. It seems we all are wired a certain way. And Meyer only knows one way to succeed as a coach, it would seem. Work, work, work. We usually do change after a life-altering event. Time will tell for Meyer. I sure hope he takes care of himself better and gets some balance in his life for his sake and OSU’s sake. staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:34pm EDT Said:

From Doug Mack: Don’t you think the Big Ten needs a black head coach? Is there anything like the Rooney rule in the NCAA?

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:38pm EDT Said:

NO Rooney Rule in college sports. But I know Keith Floyd at the Black Coaches Association stays on top of things and monitors progress, etc. Northwestern has had Dennis Green and Francis Peay. That’s it, as far as black football coaches go in the Big Ten, right? Not a really good track record. Perhaps Illinois will hire a minority. There are MANY good candidates for that job: Kevin Sumlin; Willie Taggart; Kirby Wilson, an alum of U of I. Let’s see what AD Mike Thomas does. staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:39pm EDT Said:

From James: Tom, do you think the Illini will give a rightful look at (Vic) Koenning to take over? The defense always played inspired for him.

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:43pm EDT Said:

I like Koenning and think he’s a great coach. He even was head coach at Wyoming, but it was a disaster (5-29, 2000-02). I just don’t see Illinois hiring ANYONE off this staff to be head coach. Sorry. Again, I expect Illinois to hire a coach from the offensive side of the ball. And I think the school may be willing to look at guys with no head coaching experience who are younger. Or, young head coaches with little experience. Guys I like:
Kevin Sumlin, Houston HC
Paul Chryst, Wisco OC
Kirby Wilson, Steelers RB coach, Illinois alum
Willie Taggart, WKU HC
Todd Monken, Okie St. OC
Larry Fedora, USM HC
Butch Jones, CIncy HC
Ed Warinner, ND co-OC staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:44pm EDT Said:

From Jonathan: As it is being reported by various Ohio media outlets now, Luke Fickell will be offered the Defensive Coordinator position with Ohio State under Urban Meyer. Would this be a good move for Luke Fickell or should he try for head coaching positions at another school? The OSU defense struggled at times and declined late, could this continue if Fickell was the DC next year?

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:48pm EDT Said:

First off, Fickell wasn’t really that involved with the defense this year, letting Jim Heacock run the ship. Secondly, I think it would be smart for Meyer to retain Fickell and many defensive staffers. I am told the coaches on that side of the ball all are good. Fickell is a young, bright mind who knows the personnel and can relate to players. And if I’m Fickell, I think I sit tight at OSU if given the chance. I guess he could try for a MAC job (Ohio may open if Solich retires; Akron is open but a TOUGH job) but that can be a gamble. staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:49pm EDT Said:

From Erik: Will Nebraska be a slight favorite in their bowl game against an SEC opponent?

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:53pm EDT Said:

It depends on who Nebraska is matched up with. I could be. Once you get outside of LSU, Bama, Arky and UGA, the SEC isn’t THAT good. I could see the Huskers being favored vs. South Carolina, Florida, Vandy, Auburn–teams it may have a good chance to be paired vs. in a bowl game. But no way Big Red would be favored vs. UGA or Arky. LSU and Bama are title game bound, of course. staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:53pm EDT Said:

OK, time for one more question for Tom and then we’ll let him go. He’s got a busy week ahead covering the news leading up to the Big Ten Football Championship, not to mention he’ll be at the game, too. On that note, this next question speaks to the passion of the typical Big Ten football fan, for sure…

From Mike H.: I know it’s early but who would be your two teams to play in NEXT YEAR’S Big Ten Football Championship game?

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:57pm EDT Said:

Love it! Always looking ahead! It’s fun. I am going with Michigan from the Legends, followed closely by Nebraska. In the Leaders, I’ll say Ohio State. Too may questions at Penn State. And Wisconsin will lose Russell Wilson and Ball may turn pro. Still, I think the Badgers will be right on OSU’s tail and could win. So, my “Top Four” for 2012:

1. Michigan
2. Nebraska

1. Ohio State
2. Wisconsin

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 11/28/2011 @ 12:58pm EDT Said:

Thanks a lot for stopping by! Great questions. See you all next week at noon ET right here. Enjoy the title game. staff on 11/28/2011 @ 12:58pm EDT Said:

Tom, great stuff as always. Thanks to everyone for the questions. We’re signing off now. Enjoy the big week ahead.

Phil Button on 12/4/2011 @ 9:25pm EDT Said:

Hire Kirby Wilson for Illinois Head Coach. He is the best bet for the new athletic director. What do you think?

    Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 12/4/2011 @ 11:39pm EDT Said:

    I think Kirby would do well. He loves the school and has great experience in the NFL and college ranks. But it doesn’t sound like he will have much of a chance.