Latest Tom Dienhart News

Dienhart: Let's rank Big Ten offensive lines

It all begins up front. Ask any coach. Without good blockers, skill talent is diminished—and offenses flounder. The Big Ten has some potentially strong blocking units, which has hopes high in several precincts. Here’s my ranking of the Big Ten offensive lines, starting with two of the conference’s biggest powerhouse programs.

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Dienhart: Thoughts on Paterno family lawsuit

Well, the Paterno family is suing the NCAA. We all knew this day was coming, right? As if you needed more evidence, the lawsuit illustrates the deep divide and chasm in Happy Valley—so says Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports.

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Which school had best 2012-13 B1G athletic year?

This is interesting. From the JournalStar.com, here is the composite Big Ten 2012-13 standings, showing the average finish among each school’s men’s and women’s teams. A big year for Michigan, which is on a roll. The Wolverines took Big Ten titles in softball, men’s gymnastics, women’s cross country, women’s tennis and men’s swimming. Wait until the football team really gets it going.

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Indiana's Seth Littrell: 'We have a long way to go'

Indiana continues to improve under Kevin Wilson, who debuted with a 1-11 mark in 2011 but improved to 4-8 last season. And, a big reason for that was the play of a prolific offense led by coordinator Seth Littrell. The Hoosiers had one of the Big Ten’s top offenses last season, ranking No. 2 in total offense (442.0 ypg); No. 1 in passing (311.2 ypg); No. 4 in scoring (30.8 ppg). But it wasn’t enough to carry the program to its first bowl since the 2007 season.

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Dienhart: Huskers pace Big Ten receiving corps

When you think of Nebraska, you don’t typically think of receivers. You think ground-pounding offenses that play physical football behind big lines and star running backs. Well, this year’s edition of the Cornhuskers has some very good receivers. In fact, it’s the best collection in the Big Ten. Here’s my ranking of the Big Ten receiving units.

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Dienhart: Which Big Ten team tops our RB ratings?

The Big Ten lost its top two rushers in Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball. And Nebraska standout Rex Burkhead also is gone. But most of the conference’s other top running backs are back. Here is how I rank the Big Ten running back units, and it’s my latest look at how the various football teams units stack up by position. Read the others right here. Agree? Disagree? Tell me in the comments below, email me about here, or track me down on Twitter (@BTNTomDienhart).

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Web links: Hazell's making the right moves

So far, so good for new Purdue coach Darrell Hazell. He’s still 0-0. Optimism bubbles. The honeymoon continues. Purdue A.D. Morgan Burke seems very pleased with his hire. In fact, he thinks Hazell has answered every key question up to this point. I’m not gonna argue with that. Hazell has impressed. He also has built a good staff and energized the players. This is my first link in today’s daily Big Ten headlines.

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Reader mail: Big Ten questions pouring in

It’s time to reach into my weekly mailbag. Lots of interesting cards and letters this week. Brady Hoke? Penn State schedule predictions? Indiana football on the rise? Ohio State and the chip on its shoulder?

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2013 rankings: How do Big Ten QB units rate?

Quarterback play hasn’t been at an elite level in the Big Ten in recent years. In fact, many feel that’s one reason for the conference’s struggles. But this year’s collection of passers teems with potential.

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Web links: Purdue's Burke on Big Ten, SEC

Ever wonder why the SEC is on such a dominant run and the Big Ten is, well, seemingly playing catch up like every other league? Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke offers up what he thinks to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel is the difference between the Big Ten and SEC business models.

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Badgers have slate built for success

First-year Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen has a schedule that’s built for success. The Badgers should start no worse than 3-1—maybe even 4-0—as they head to Ohio State on Sept. 28. After visiting the Horseshoe, the Badgers don’t have a lot of heavy lifting.

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A look at NBA mock drafts and Big Ten players

The NBA conducted its draft lottery Tuesday night, setting the order of the 2013 draft which will be held June 27. And the Cleveland Cavaliers won for the second time in three years. Now, speculation has begun anew as to which teams will take what players now that we know the order.

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Q&A: Shoop excited to call plays for Hazell, Purdue

John Shoop long has admired Purdue’s offensive tradition from afar. Now, he gets a chance to add to that tradition by pushing the buttons on the Boilermakers’ attack under first-year coach Darrell Hazell.

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Web links: Craziest B1G athletes & so long Little Caesars

The struggles of the Michigan State offense last season are well-documented. Points were difficult to come by for an attack that lost five games by a total of 13 points. All the while, quarterback play came under scrutiny. Michigan State quarterbacks coach Brad Salem says the competition between Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook is “pretty even.”

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Schedule Analysis: Boilers face tough slate

First-year coach Darrell Hazell has his work cut out for him, playing arguably the toughest schedule in the Big Ten. There is no more challenging non-conference schedule in the conference, with a trip to Big East co-champ Cincinnati and home games vs. Notre Dame (BCS title game) and Northern Illinois (Orange Bowl). Getting one Big Ten road victory may be a difficult proposition, too. Bottom line: A 1-6 start isn’t out of the question.

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