Today's links: Quick spin around Big Ten headlines

Despite being limited in spring drills as he recovers from a broken leg suffered last season, Fitz Toussaint still is on track to be Michigan’s top running back. Why not? He was a 1,000-yard rusher in 2011, showing he’s capable of carrying a big load for a team’s that needs much better production from its tailbacks this fall.

Last year? It was horrendous. In fact, the tailback production was the worst in modern school history. Thomas Rawls, Justice Hayes, Drake Johnson and Dennis Norfleet had chances in the spring to assume command, but none seized the opportunity. Derrick Green, the purported nation’s top incoming freshman tailback, could compete for the job once he hits campus this summer. In fact, Green could become Toussaint’s greatest challenger for the job.

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Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer puts a post script on Ohio State’s spring practice in this video. As you can tell, there was a lot to like—especially on offense. Me? I can’t wait to see this new Buckeye defensive line. I have a feeling the unit may end up being better than last season’s front.

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C.J. Fiedorowicz became a key part of Iowa’s passing game late last season, grabbing 14 passes in the final two games after catching just 31 the first 10 games. By the looks of things this spring, the 6-7 Fiedorowicz figures to be a key figure in 2013.

Good. Hey, Iowa has a nice history of tight end production: Dallas Clark, Tony Moeaki, Scott Chandler, Brandon Myers and Erik Jensen.

Speaking of Iowa, Pat Harty of HawkCentral.com plays Mrs. Optimist and Mr. Pessimist in this fun little read that balances Kool-Aid chugging with cold buckets of water over the head.

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Loren Tate of the Champaign News Gazette came away from the Illinois spring game convinced that quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is the man for the job in this new scheme implemented by coordinator Bill Cubit. He better be. Or, Illinois is in trouble, I think.

If anything, Scheelhaase has proven to be resilient, working with his fourth coordinator in four seasons in Champaign. And his athletic ability sure comes in handy when things break down—which might often be the case … again … in Champaign.

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The start of the season is months away, but football is on the mind of the great Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald. And he has discovered that Ohio State feels it may have the best offense in the Big Ten.

No doubt, the Buckeyes attack will be formidable in its second season under Urban Meyer. Heck, it averaged a league-best 37.2 points last season. And coordinator Tom Herman barely got through the first few chapters of his playbook. And all but two starters return in 2012. But, again, Nebraska’s attack will be good.

Bottom line: This sets up a terrific battle between Huskers QB Taylor Martinez and Buckeye QB Braxton Miller for player of the year honors. In 2012, the media selected Miller first-team All-Big Ten; the coaches opted for Martinez. Me? I think Nebraska’s offense should be the Big Ten’s best.

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Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune sat down with new Gophers coach Richard Pitino for a Q&A. Here you go.

Still want more Pitino? Dab some Mousse in your hair, slick it back and click here. This is a first-person piece from Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in which the new Minnesota coach reveals that he is currently on an “Adele” kick. You coulda knocked me over with a feather.

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Hundreds of clanked jumpers and dented rims later, Purdue guard Anthony Johnson is the latest Boilermaker to choose to leave the program. And not a ripple was felt in West Lafayette.

With Terone Johnson, Ronnie Johnson and Rapheal Davis all set to return, and with the additions of incoming freshmen Bryson Scott, Kendall Stephens and Basil Smotherman, Anthony Johnson likely would have been, ahem, squeezed for PT in 2013-2014.

So, if you are scoring at home, that’s three Purdue players who have packed their duffle bags since the end of a terribly disappointing losing season. Johnson joins Jacob Lawson and Sandi Marcius. Aside from Marcius—who would have been welcomed back after developing late last season—this is addition by subtraction. Now, how will Matt Painter use the available scholarships?

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Michigan coach John Beilein would like to see some rules changes that would make the game less physical. Hey, I’d like a full head of hair, too. Not gonna happen. The cat (rough and tumble play)  is out of the bag, Coach Beilein. There’s no turning back now, my friend. Just join the “get overly physical club.” And buy some elbow pads, too.

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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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