Today's links: Quick hits on latest Big Ten news

Pay attention, class. And sit up and sharpen your pencils: The great Bob Flounders of the Harrisburg Patriot-News offers some Penn State Numerology 101. Among the key numbers is 3, or the number of true freshmen who are competing at the nose tackle spot next to DaQuan Jones. They are Austin Johnson, Derek Dowrey and Brian Gaia. Jones figures to be a stud. The others? More PSU: The Nittany Lions will play their spring game this Saturday. Here are six second-year players to watch.

I am intrigued by redshirt freshman RB Akeel Lynch. Was the first time I saw him on the BTN summer bus tour. Kid looks like a stud. Another future stud: redshirt freshman LB Nyeem Wartman.

Yes, here’s more Penn State: The defense has a chance to be good this season, even with some big holes along the front seven. A key: tackle DaQuan Jones needs to have a big season.

Speaking of Penn State, Miami is reportedly optimistic about scheduling a future game with the Nittany Lions. Remember: These teams played in that iconic Fiesta Bowl for the national title after the 1986 season. According to the Miami Herald, the game or games could be at a neutral site.

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No doubt, Iowa needs improvement in a lot of areas coming off a 4-8 season. One place to watch is the defensive line, which needs to get bigger—and, frankly, better.

On the subject of Iowa, Brian Ferentz says being on Twitter and having alternate uniforms aren’t his father’s style. Well, a big key to life and success is adapting. Time waits for no one. We all need to embrace change. Or, ultimately, we will perish.

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If Illinois wants to succeed, it needs some stability, says the great Loren Tate of the Champaign News-Gazette. Check this out: Since 2008, the Illini have had two head coaches and 33 assistant coaches. And only one assistant has been around for four seasons in the span: d-line coach Keith Gilmore, who left for North Carolina after last season. Another head-shaking/amazing factoid: sixth-year offensive tackle Corey Lewis is on this third line coach.

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No shock here: The Purdue defensive depth chart is in flux. Mike Carmin of the Lafayette Journal-Courier has a Q&A with coordinator Greg Hudson to explain more. There even is video of Hudson and his beautiful bald head!

My quick take on the Boilermaker defense: I like the line and secondary. And I LOVE Hudson as coordinator. But the linebackers? Ugh. This position has been beyond bad for almost a decade. This year, the purported top linebacker—are you ready for this?—is a former quarterback: Sean Robinson. Enough said.

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Should Nebraska promote quarterback Taylor Martinez for awards? Yes, it has come to debating this in Lincoln with spring football over.

Me? I say there’s no need to promote players. If they are good enough, their performance will do all the promoting—especially at a school like Nebraska.

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If you are going to this Saturday’s Wisconsin spring game, you won’t see the following players who will be held out.

LB Chris Borland; DE Ethan Hemer; S Dezmen Southward; RB James White; OT Ryan Groy; WR Jared Abbrederis. And expect DT Beau Allen and DE Brendan Kelly to play, either. That’s a LOT of key players. Not sure what we really will learn. Oh, well: Enjoy the day and go to State Street Brats!

Take a peek at new Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen’s “core values” and his “plan to win.” Nice stuff.

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Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Ohio State took its first steps toward a promising 2013 this spring. Bottom line: Urban Meyer won’t settle for complacency coming off a 12-0 season. But now, the REAL pressure starts. The NCAA shackles are off. Expectations are sky high. How will the team deal with it all?

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The late-signing period has begun. And Michigan State recently landed Gavin Schilling, a 6-9 gem from Nevada. He figures to play a lot of Adreian Payne bolts for the NBA.

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And finally, from Dog Bites Man Department: Tim Hardaway, Jr., officially confirmed what we all had speculated for what seems like years: He will turn pro after three years at Michigan. This despite some spotty draft projections.

I wonder: If his draft status is murky AT ALL, why not just come back for one more season? Get closer to graduation and play for what should be a very Wolverines teams. Right? Doesn’t THAT make the most sense? Oh, well.

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TWEETS THAT MATTER

Nothing Miles does surprises me.

You know Nebraska’s new hoop arena is gonna instantly be the best in the Big Ten.

That’s why they are smart coaches. And good coaches.

I guess I disagree. I like Nebraska in the Legends.

Who wants to sing after a loss? Not me.

True. But, if Mitch McGary and/or Glenn Robinson III leaves? Hmmm.

New flash: There’s difference between knowing what it take to do something and being able to do it.

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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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Doug on 4/18/2013 @ 10:56am EST Said:

If Michigan can’t win the big ten with Burke and Hardaway, they sure aren’t going to win it without them. Dakich is a goof, and like you said Tom, if McGary and or GR 3 leave, yikes ! I also agree with you Tom, Legends is Nebraska’s to lose.