Links: Buckeyes impress as spring ball continues

Count Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston among those who are an Ohio State believer after watching the spring game. Who can blame Livingston? There is a lot to like about this edition of Ohio State. No doubt, the Buckeyes’ second spring game impressed even Urban Meyer.

“It’s night and day in terms of grasping the offense and understanding the concepts (compared to last year’s spring practice),” Meyer said. Fueling the optimism for a big 2013 is quarterback Braxton Miller, who was good but not spectacular in the spring game. Still, he looks poised to build on a big 2012. Read more links in this post and watch video highlights from all of the weekend’s games

[ WATCH SPRING HIGHLIGHTS: Michigan | Purdue | Northwestern | Indiana | Nebraska ]

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Here is something that would be kinda cool: a Penn State series with Virginia Tech. Well, the Hokies have an interest. What say you, Nittany Lions?

Oh, and Penn State fans: Remember quarterback Paul Jones? Well, he has settled in nicely at Robert Morris, thank you.

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Trey Burke made it official on Sunday by declaring for the NBA draft. Yes, it was anticlimactic. But now, drama lurks as we wait to see what fellow Wolverines Tim Hardaway, Jr., Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary will do. The three players have until April 28 to declare early for the NBA draft. Robinson and McGary are projected by many to be mid-to-late first-round selections; Hardaway looks like a second rounder.

Here is a nice, long ode and goodbye kiss to Trey Burke, complete with video. Thanks, Trey! Michigan is gonna miss ya!

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Pat Harty of  HawkCentral.com has 15 Iowa players to watch.

Make no mistake about it: This is a key season for Iowa, which went 4-8 in 2012 and had just seven touchdown passes. Quarterback is vital spot that must improve, which is why Harty has the three signal-callers in competition for the job on his list: Jake Rudock; Cody Sokol; C.J. Beathard.

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Minnesota is deep into spring ball. Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has some highlights of what has gone on thus far right here. Among them: the biggest surprise. It’s Eric Murray, who has emerged as a starting corner after playing mostly special teams last year. Redshirt freshman quarterback Mitch Leidner also has impressed, but sophomore Philip Nelson still apparently has a grasp on No. 1.

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The great Tom Oates of Madison.com says we are focusing too much on the offense under new Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen.

Watch the defense, which will be more deceptive and aggressive than people are used to seeing from Wisconsin, says Oates. So, how different is the new 3-4 alignment from the effective-yet-bland 4-3 defense the Badgers traditionally have run?

“About as different as you can be,” new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said.

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No big shock here: Michigan State’s fate again rests heavily in the hands of the receivers.

From Aaron Burbridge to Bennie Fowler, heralded prospect to anointed go-to guy, and everywhere in-between—the wideouts disappointed in 2012, says Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal. Check this out: There were an estimated 66 drops.

As it stands, after nearly a month of spring practice, the same cast of receivers is likely to man most of the same positions this coming fall. MSU needs it to be in names only, says Couch.

This season rests with its pass-catchers as much as it does anyone. No quarterback can make up for wideouts that can’t be trusted to separate from defenders and to still come down with the football when they can’t.

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Football season never can get here soon enough for Nebraska fans. Until then, here’s a nice spring look at the Cornhuskers’ four non-conference opponents.

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Indiana held its spring game on Saturday. And, for Hoosiers’ fans, it was great to see quarterback Tre Roberson in action after he missed most of last season with a broken leg. Should something happen to Roberson, Indiana knows it has some nice options in Cam Coffman and Nate Sudfeld. Still, Roberson is a playmaker unlike that tandem.

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About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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