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BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart chatted with readers Monday (check out his previous chats in the BTN.com 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.
Find out more about: B1G Title Previews
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.
Ready to talk some grid? Big week! First Title Game!
Welcome Tom. Let’s get this thing rolling with our first question….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
From Erik: Will Nebraska be a slight favorite in their bowl game against an SEC opponent?
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.
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?
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. Ohio State
Thanks a lot for stopping by! Great questions. See you all next week at noon ET right here. Enjoy the title game.
Tom, great stuff as always. Thanks to everyone for the questions. We’re signing off now. Enjoy the big week ahead.
Hire Kirby Wilson for Illinois Head Coach. He is the best bet for the new athletic director. What do you think?
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.
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