Latest Tom Dienhart News

Spring Preview: Spartans looking to bounce back

Andrew Maxwell

Looking Ahead to Michigan State Spring Game

Any way you slice it, the 2012 season was a disappointment for Michigan State. The Spartans were coming off back-to-back 11-win seasons—with a trip to the Big Ten title game in 2011—and were thinking big entering last season. Alas, MSU flopped to a 7-6 mark that saw the Spartans lose five home games (0-4 in Big Ten) and come up short in myriad close games. In fact, MSU lost five games by a combined 13 points. An erratic offense was at the root of the Spartans’ woes. As a result, Mark Dantonio shook up his staff.

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Dienhart: Harris' decision to stay a good one

Gary Harris

Harris Drives In Aggressively For a Layup

Gary Harris announced today that he was returning for his sophomore season at Michigan State. And he did it without a press conference, too. At 6-4, Harris would be a short off-guard by NBA standards and his ability to create his own shot also remains a work in progress.

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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.

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Spring Preview: Challenges ahead for Nittany Lions

Bill O'Brien

Looking Ahead to Penn State Spring Game

By just about every measuring stick, the 2012 Penn State season was a success—and that’s saying a lot, considering the tumult and unknowns with which the program began the season. But perhaps the scariest moment occurred after the air had been taken out of the football when rumors swirled that Bill O’Brien may bolt to the NFL. It all proved to be unfounded and O’Brien pledged his allegiance to Penn State, and that’s good because the next few seasons could be very challenging for the program as it begins to deal with the throes of severe NCAA sanctions that have trimmed scholarships from 85 to 65.

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Today's links: Can Badgers improve passing game?

Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Wisconsin will play its spring game this Saturday. And new Badgers coach Gary Andersen would like to see the passing game improve. In fact, Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that Andersen saw in the Rose Bowl last season that Wisconsin’s passing game needs to improve. The Badgers completed 10 of 17 passes for 83 yards in the 20-14 loss to Stanford.

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Will Michigan offense be better without Denard?

Devin Gardner

Back to Back Michigan Touchdowns

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It might be crazy to consider, but will the Michigan offense be better this season sans Denard Robinson? You know, the same Robinson who set numerous records with his ability to rack up eye-popping statistical days? BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina discuss the topic in this post, and their answers may surprise some.

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Dienhart: Purdue continues to forge change

Akeem Hunt

Purdue Spring Game Highlights

Purdue has turned the page for the second time since Joe Tiller stepped aside after the 2008 season, as the wraps are taken off the Darrell Hazell era. One of the top goals this spring was to change attitudes, revise expectations and get tough. Schemes were installed, as well, as Hazell and his staff got familiar with their personnel and what those players can do.

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Today's links: Quick spin around Big Ten headlines

Fitzgerald Toussaint

Michigan Spring Game Highlights

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.

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Dienhart: Indiana is a program on the rise

Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver Shane Wynn (1) prior to a game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Shane Wynn Touchdown

Kevin Wilson continues to put his stamp on the Indiana program as he enters his third season in Bloomington. The Hoosiers are looking for their first bowl trip since 2007. The team almost turned the corner last season, going from 1-11 overall and 0-8 in the Big Ten to 4-8 and 2-6. This is a program with some momentum that’s on the rise. Here are some observations from Saturday’s spring game.

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Debate it: Will Ohio State have B1G's best offense?

Devin Smith

Devin Smith Touchdown

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Give Braxton Miller and the Ohio State offense another year under Urban Meyer, and the results should improve. Heck, in Year One with Meyer, the Buckeyes averaged a Big Ten-best 37.2 points per game. With Miller and a host of his best weapons back, including Carlos Hyde, Corey Brown and Devin Smith, among others, will Ohio State have the Big Ten’s best offense in 2013? BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina discuss it in this post.

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Dienhart: Wildcats offense clicks

NU spring thumbnail

Northwestern Spring Game Highlights

Hope is floating at a high level in Evanston for what may be Pat Fitzgerald’s best Northwestern team yet. In fact, it may be the school’s best team since the 1995 squad that marched to the Rose Bowl. The Wildcats have some swagger as they put the wraps on spring practice, as Fitz prepares for—can you believe this?—his eighth season leading Northwestern. And, it could be special. Very special.

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Links: Buckeyes impress as spring ball continues

Tyvis Powell & Kato Mitchell

Ohio State Spring Game Highlights

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Count Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston among those who are an Ohio State believer after watching the spring game. Who can blame Livingston? There is a lot to like about this edition of Ohio State. No doubt, the Buckeyes’ second spring game impressed even Urban Meyer.

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Dienhart: Michigan d-line looked real good

Alex Swieca

Devin Funchess Big Catch and Thomas Rawls Touchdown

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan hopes it took the first few steps toward the school’s first Big Ten championship since 2004 Saturday in the spring game. Brady Hoke’s third team has a lot of potential after coming close to winning the Legends Division in 2012. But it’s also a program in transition on the offensive side of the ball with iconic Denard Robinson no longer around.

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Dienhart: Ohio State spring game thoughts

Ohio State Celebration

Braxton Miller Touchdown

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Urban Meyer put the wraps on his second Ohio State spring practice Saturday afternoon. And optimism remains high heading into Year Two coming off a 12-0 season. The offense showed flashes of why it could be one of the Big Ten’s best. And a rebuilt defensive front seven looked good—and only figures to improve. Yes, the Buckeyes may be the Big Ten’s top team—again.

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Dienhart: New wrinkles in Illini offense

illini_thumb

An Interview with 1965 All-American Jim Grabowski

Here are my observations from Friday night’s Illinois spring game, as Tim Beckman moves toward his second season leading the Fighting Illini coming off a 2-10 season. There were 40 players going through their first spring game, showing the youth of this squad.

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Hazell Q&A: It's time to climb to the top

Darrell Hazell thumbnail

Darrell Hazell-Gerry DiNardo Conversation

Danny Hope guided Purdue to back-to-back bowl games the past two seasons, but there was little momentum behind the program. That’s why Hope was shown the door after going 22-27 overall and 13-19 in the Big Ten in four seasons in West Lafayette and Darrell Hazell was brought in.

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Spring Preview: Illini have work to do

Nathan Scheelhaase

2013 Signing Day - Illinois

Year One under Tim Beckman was difficult. A lack of depth was a major issue in the transition from the Ron Zook era. But, Beckman didn’t stand pat, making wholesale staff changes that include a new offensive coordinator along with new offensive and defensive line coaches. This spring has been about developing chemistry, improving horrid special teams and developing a winning attitude—among other things–as Beckman continues to put his stamp on the team.

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Spring Preview: Wildcats packed with talent

Kain Colter

2013 Signing Day - Northwestern

Hopes are high in Evanston. Northwestern is coming off its first bowl victory since toppling Cal in the Rose Bowl after the 1948 season, winning 10 games for just the third time in school annals and first since the 1995 Rose Bowl squad. Now, the possibilities seem endless for what could be Pat Fitzgerald’s most talented team yet at his alma mater. NU has been to a bowl each of the last five seasons and has a legit chance to win the Legends Division if the defense continues to make strides this spring.

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