Former Northwestern coach Dennis Green passed away at 67

Dennis Green

Green: Big Ten's 1st African-American head football coach

Long before his infamous “They are what we thought they were” rant in 2006 as coach of the Arizona Cardinals following an epic press conference meltdown, Dennis Green cut his teeth as a player and coach in the Big Ten. Now, he has passed away at age 67.

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Big Ten links: Catch up with Friday's news digest

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Who could have been the Nebraska football a few years ago? The answer may surprise you. Also, breakout players at Penn State, updates on Purdue’s search for a new athletic director, and more. Read Friday’s round up of Big Ten headlines.

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Big Ten Mailbag: Your Big Ten football questions answered

Nov 27, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Parker Hesse (40) returns a pass for a touchdown during the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Parker Hesse pick-six at Nebraska

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hot … it’s late July … let’s do a mailbag to cool down! The football questions are coming hard and fast. Should I have ranked Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers among the Big Ten’s top 10 linebackers? Can Iowa start 12-0 again? What is Minnesota missing from getting over the hump?

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Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 defensive backs

Oct 31, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Desmond King (14) returns an interception 88 yards for a touchdown during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa won 31-15. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Desmond King houses pick at Maryland

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Is there a better defensive back in the nation than Iowa’s Desmond King, the reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner? Probably not. He emerged last year as a special talent for a Hawkeye defense that helped the program race to a school-record 12-0 start en route to winning the Big Ten West and earning the school’s first Rose Bowl bid since the 1990 season.

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