Big Ten Links: How has Huskers offense improved?

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez says he’s excited to show the progress of the Husker offense, and that’s good, because the attack must show improvement if Nebraska is to reach the goals some think it can attain. I just think with this being the second year under coordinator Tim Beck, the attack should be better. Plus, there are some nice weapons, including a deep collection of receivers and stud running back Rex Burkhead. Now let’s get to some more Big Ten links.

Beckford out: News that starting Purdue linebacker Dwayne Beckford has been suspended following his arrest on Monday is damaging for the Boilermakers.

Beckford is by far the Boilermakers’ top linebacker, a veteran cog in the middle of what was a somewhat suspect group of Purdue linebackers—with Beckford. Now, without Beckford—who was suspended for the bowl after last season and spring drills after a run-in with the law–questions persist even more so for the unit. Yes, the Boilers have a nice set of d-linemen and two top-notch cornerbacks. But the linebackers still must be able to make plays. With Beckford out, Antwon Higgs and Sean Robinson are in line to take over for a corps that has Will Lucas and Robert Maci penciled in to start at the other slots.

Make a call: How good will Iowa be this season? Check back in, oh, three months.

Uncertainty is the buzz word around Iowa City. How will the overhauled coaching staff perform? Who will run the ball? Is the receiving corps OK without Marvin McNutt? Will the defensive line develop? In the end, this may be an 8-4 team, according to Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. And, I think he’s right.

Back at it: Michigan received word yesterday that wideout Roy Roundtree is healthy and ready to go after knee surgery earlier this month.

And that’s good news for an offense that needs playmakers on the perimeter. And it’s especially good news with that huge season opener vs. Alabama looming on Saturday. But will running back Fitz Toussaint play vs. the Tide? He was listed No. 1 on a depth chart the school issued yesterday.

For now, Brady Hoke isn’t saying. But he will … soon.

Keeping it going: Traditions? Urban Meyer is all about them at Ohio State.

He plans to still have his players do a pregame walk from the team hotel to St. John Arena for an appearance at the Skull Session. And after games, the team still will serenade adoring fans with “Carmen Ohio.” And Meyer will introduce a new tradition: 23 minutes before kickoff, the players will go to the south end zone and engage students in “quick cals,” which will he hand gestures and vocalizations in unison. Hey, I’m all about traditions. The more, the better.

Everybody pitch in: Running back by committee appears to be the plan at Minnesota.

Why not? The Golden Gophers appear to have several good options, including Donnell Kirkwood, James Gillum, David Cobb, Devon Wright and K.J. Maye. Now, will the line get a push? And will quarterback MarQueis Gray prove to be an improved passer? If so, Minnesota could have a salty offense.

Sing it: Mania over Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has hit a new level with the release of a music video called “I Love You, Denard.” Really. I’m not making this up.

He’s back: Earlier this month, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball suffered a concussion after he was assaulted. Now, he’s ready for action.

But, honestly, how much will the Badgers need to use Ball vs. FCS Northern Iowa in the opener? In fact, Wisconsin may not need to use Ball much at during what is considered by most people to be a soft non-conference schedule. Guys like James White and Melvin Gordon can more than carry the load at running back for Wisconsin.

TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: I, for one, am excited to see the USC transfer and what he can infuse to what should be a great collection of Wildcat receivers.

My take: This is good, as it indicates some nice depth in the back end of the defense.

My take: Don’t you wonder what Woody Hayes would think?

My take: This is an amazing fact, with the only Big Ten with a more impressive resume over that span being Ohio State.

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart, and you can subscribe to it all via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.

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