Latest Tom Dienhart News

Will Hawkeyes bounce back and make bowl?

Everyone associated with the Iowa football program would love to forget the 2012 season. It was a struggle all around, in pretty much every facet, as the Hawkeyes finished 4-8 and missed out on a bowl game for the first time since 2007. Can this year’s new-look team get back to the postseason? BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their thoughts in this post.

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Web links: On new football stars & spring report cards

Iowa has produced some great offensive linemen under Kirk Ferentz. In fact, since 2003, 13 Hawkeye offensive linemen have been drafted—guys like Robert Gallery, Bryan Bulaga and Riley Reiff, among others. Who is the next great one? Check out tackle Brandon Scherff. In fact, I wonder if Scherff may be Iowa’s most talented player on offense. Think about it.

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Dienhart: ACC agreement could halt realignment

News that the ACC announced a grant of rights agreement may put the kibosh on conference realignment, including any future plans the Big Ten may have had. The grant of rights agreement pledges a school’s media rights to a conference for a set number of years. If a school leaves a conference under those terms, it would forfeit those rights to the former conference.

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Web links: Michigan's No. 1 jersey, spring ball & more

It was a big weekend for spring football games, with Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State holding events. So, let’s start daily links there. Bob Flounders of the Harrisburg Patriot-News has some final thoughts on Penn State’s spring game right here.

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Debate It: Can Wildcats win Legends Division?

The way Northwestern finished the 2012 season, culminating in the program’s first bowl win since the 1948 Rose Bowl, coupled with the fact it returns much of its skill position talent, expectations are quite high in Evanston. In fact, some are wondering if the Wildcats – yes, the Wildcats – have what it takes to play for their first Big Ten title since 2000. Do they? BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina discuss in this post.

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Dienhart: Joel Stave, Badgers looked impressive

Wisconsin took its next big step in the new Gary Andersen regime today in the spring game. Many key players sat out the game, but the Badgers debuted their new 3-4 defensive scheme. And the offense came out throwing for a unit that needs to find a quarterback and some playmaking receivers. Here are some observations.

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Dienhart: Plenty of questions remain for MSU offense

Michigan State entered spring drills with few big questions on defense. In fact, the Spartans may have the Big Ten’s top defense—again. But the offense still has some big questions to answer after the spring game today. Here are some observations.

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Dienhart: What to make of PSU QB situation?

Penn State took its next steps forward in Year Two under Bill O’Brien. In the spring game, there were signs of many things to build on going forward, including a strong offensive line, nice collection of skill players on offense and a veteran secondary. Here are some observations from today’s spring game.

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Reader mail: Fans ask, football expert answers

Time to reach into my Big Ten mail bag. With spring football winding down, gridiron is on the minds of many of you. So, let’s get started. Oh, and thanks for all of the terrific virtual cards and letters. Great stuff!

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Spring Preview: First look at Wisconsin

Wisconsin begins a new era after Gary Andersen was hired from Utah State as the Badgers program’s third coach since 1990. Andersen inherited a full cupboard after Bret Bielema bolted for Arkansas, so the new coach’s task is a bit easier as he pursues the program’s fourth Big Ten title in a row. But issues must be settled, beginning with the quarterback and secondary. Some work was accomplished this spring, but more remains.

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Today's links: Big Ten football & hoops notes

Much was made last year about Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez working with quarterback guru Steve Calhoun in southern California. But, the results were good. Well, Martinez will be back at it in May, looking to further hone his technique for a big senior season send-off.

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Q&A: What Bill Cubit sees in Illinois

The Illinois offense was broken in 2012. How bad was it? The Fighting Illini ranked 11th in the Big Ten in rushing (127.8 ypg); 11th in passing (168.8 ypg); last overall (296.7 ypg); last in scoring (16.7 ppg) during a 2-10 debut season for Tim Beckman that saw the Illini finish 0-8 in the Big Ten.

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Spring Preview: Spartans looking to bounce back

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: McGary, Robinson team up to stay on

Trey Burke announced he was leaving Michigan after two seasons. And Tim Hardaway, Jr., followed him out the door soon thereafter after three seasons in Ann Arbor. But Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III are returning after sensational freshman seasons.

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Dienhart: Harris' decision to stay a good one

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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