Big Ten links: Scroll through Tuesday's best headlines

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten links: Scroll through Tuesday's best headlines

Oakland coach Jack Del Rio thinks Connor Cook has a perfect situation with the Raiders. He just may be right, as Cook can develop behind Derek Carr.

“It’s a perfect situation, he does not have to come in here and be the face of our franchise right away,” Del Rio told SiriusXM. “He has a chance to come in here and learn the playbook and become a good teammate and join this organization and do everything he can to help us be a better team by being at his best every day. That’s what we’re expecting from him.”

Could Carr be the next Kirk Cousins?

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Rutgers appears to be copying Michigan’s recruiting flyers via social media.

You know what they say: Imitation is the best form of flattery.

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Mark Montieth of NBA.com has some brutal analysis of Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan, who is auditioning for NBA teams. It sounds like Swanigan is nowhere near NBA-ready … and never may be an NBA player. Go back to school, kid. In fact, it sounds like you should stay four years.

Montieth notes that Swanigan doesn’t have the quickness to defend NBA players on the perimeter, the explosiveness to rebound against taller players, or the shooting touch to score away from the basket, as exposed by his 29 percent 3-point accuracy at Purdue.

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James Franklin is entering this third season on the job in State College. And Pennlive.com has taken a look at how his Big Ten peers fared in their third seasons.

The third season is a crossroads for many coaches. In fact, it can be looked at as a get-over-the-hump season. Gone are the days of the five- and six-year rebuild. Fan bases and others demand quicker results. Three years? That should be long enough, right?

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Incoming Nebraska RB Tre Bryant is drawing comparisons to … Ameer Abdullah. How about that?

But Omaha.com says he could have a tough time cracking the lineup as a freshman. Coach Mike Riley, offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf and running backs coach Reggie Davis aren’t opposed to using true freshmen, considering Devine Ozigbo played a hefty role in 2015. But they also like Ozigbo, Terrell Newby and Mikale Wilbon as a top three rotation. Breaking into that trio may be tough. Bryant knows that. Stay tuned.

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Good read from Gannett on how Big Ten officials know they are the pace-setters. It’s a lot about football.

“Football’s what’s really driving our institutions. … You’ve got to continue to keep that game as healthy as you possibly can at all levels,” Nebraska A.D. Shawn Eichorst said. “This is a national recruiting situation. If you’re in a region that has the population and the talent, it might be a little different. But the majority of us don’t.”

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Iowa received a big boost last week when Peter Jok opted to return for his senior season. And, it will be a season when he likely will get a chance to be a star. Can he do it all? He better for a team that lost a lot of key personnel. I think the guy can be really, really good. On many nights last year, he was the Hawkeyes’ best player.

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Purdue’s defensive line was a concern entering the offseason. Now, it’s an even bigger worry, as big DT Ra’Zahn Howard is transferring. Not good. The big fella was needed to help plug the middle vs. the run. Now, what?

The Boilermakers likely will start sophomore Eddy Wilson in Howard’s place alongside senior Jake Replogle on the interior. But there’s little proven depth at nose tackle or defensive tackle. During spring ball, walk-on Ryan DeBusk, little-used Langston Newton and Keiwan Jones (coming off ACL surgery) all got No. 2 snaps. Gulp. Purdue was last in the Big Ten in rush defense in 2016 (214.9 ypg).

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Nice story from InsideNU.com on the special bond among the Northwestern running backs. This will be a nice group of backs in 2016 led by Justin Jackson.

“There’s a brotherhood in there,” offensive coordinator Mick McCall said. “And they’ve got each other’s back. If somebody goes down, it’s the next guy up. I think that’s always been that way since I’ve been here, the way Coach [Matt] MacPherson runs that room. He’s got those guys behind each other.”

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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.

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