Big Ten links: Can Iowa football build off of 2015 success

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten links: Can Iowa football build off of 2015 success

Iowa kicked off spring drills on Tuesday coming off a 12-2 season for the ages. But some questions must begin to be answered.

Sustaining success has been an issue for Kirk Ferentz. HawkCentral.com notes that the only time in school history that Iowa has recorded consecutive seasons of double-digit wins was Ferentz’s glory days of 2002 to 2004 when those squads combined for 32 wins and three straight top-10 national rankings. But after the 11-2 season of 2004, Iowa’s 2005 team tumbled to 7-5. Ditto after the 11-2 of 2009, when the 2010 group with enormous expectations faded to 8-5.

“We haven’t sustained (success) so well at times,” Ferentz said. “It really gets down to the same story. Every January you start over again.”

Iowa must firm up its offensive line and kicking. And more is needed from the wideouts.

More Iowa: It looks like a decision on DE Drew Ott’s future may soon be made. Can I get a “hallelujah?”

Kirk Ferentz remained hopeful Tuesday that Ott would be allowed to return to the Hawkeyes’ roster in 2016, but also held back in criticizing the length of the process.

“We’ll just kind of bite our tongue,” Ferentz said. “Everybody’s working hard at it. I guess you have to get the right people together, the right time, that type of thing. Who knows?”

***

The hiring of Josh Whitman as A.D. at Illinois drips with intrigue. The wunderkind A.D. is just 37 years old. Is bringing him on board a risk? Yep. But the payoff could be big, too. Check out this piece by Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette. The young Whitman has a lot on his plate.

***

There are many eyes on Nebraska’s offensive line this spring. The unit has a lot to prove. But it looks to have a leader in senior center Dylan Utter.

The changes up front include, as chronicled by Omaha.com:

  • After starting all 13 games last season at left guard, Utter was moved to center to replace Ryne Reeves.
  • Nick Gates swung from right tackle to left tackle, where Alex Lewis had been a two-year starter. David Knevel went from left tackle to right tackle.
  • Foster settled at left guard after also working some at right in the past. Corey Whitaker is with Farmer at right guard, after previously being needed for backup depth at tackle. Paul Thurston also is getting some snaps at guard after spending the majority of his previous time at center.

***

Speaking of offensive lines, who was on Ohio State’s at its third spring practice?

Bill Landis of Cleveland.com says Pat Elflein was going to be the center, Billy Price was going to be the left guard and Jamarco Jones and Isaiah Prince were going to be the tackles — not matter which side they ended up on. But who would play right guard? On Tuesday, during Ohio State’s third practice of the spring football period, it was redshirt sophomore Demetrius Knox.

***

A good podcast from Pennlive.com. A question that’s addressed: How many true freshmen will play in 2016? I bet a few do along the offensive line, including Michal Menet.

***

Rutgers introduced its new hoops coach on Tuesday. Welcome, Steve Pikiell. Here are contract details from NJ.com.

Pikiell’s starting salary still will be the lowest in the Big Ten at $1.4 million, but it will have annual increases of $100,000 that will push it closer to the median in the league.

And Steve Politi of NJ.com has five observations on the hire. Pikiell won the press conference … and that was important.

***

So, Purdue freshman Caleb Swanigan is going to test the NBA draft waters. Interesting. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

***

Email Tom Dienhart using the form below.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.

Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

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, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

Advertisement

BTN Plus on BTN2Go

BTN Plus on BTN2Go

all times ET
Tomorrow
4:00 PMMaryland at Michigan St.Watch
Friday Sep 30
2:30 PMNorthwestern at Rutgers Watch
3:00 PMIowa at IndianaWatch
7:00 PMMichigan St. at Penn St.Watch
7:00 PMMinnesota at IndianaWatch
7:00 PMMichigan at Rutgers Watch
8:00 PMIndiana at NebraskaWatch
8:00 PMMaryland at NorthwesternWatch

Watch hundreds of live non-televised Big Ten events via BTN Plus on BTN2Go.