Minnesota linebacker Gary Tinsley was found dead in his campus apartment Friday morning, university officials said. He was 22. Tinsley was found unresponsive in his apartment at Roy Wilkins Hall on the Minneapolis campus, according to the university police chief. Tinsley completed his eligibility at the end of the 2011 season. He lettered all four years and started every game over his final two seasons with the team. He was No. 2 in total tackles with 87 last season and finished with 198 total tackles for his career.
Ohio State saw star center Jared Sullinger turn pro earlier this week after his sophomore season. But the Buckeyes got good news today with Deshaun Thomas’ announcement that he would return for his junior season. “Deshaun, his family and our coaching staff have spent the last week evaluating his future,” Ohio State coach Matta said. “Deshaun determined he wants to remain a Buckeye. We are looking forward to building on the success our team enjoyed in 2011-12 with Deshaun playing a significant role next year.”
You have questions, I have answers in this week’s mail bag. A lot of football queries, as April is the month of the spring football game. As always, thanks for the questions. Great ones, as usual. Keep them coming! In addition to filing regular football fix posts, writer roundtables, and one-on-one interviews, I’m monitoring the news around Big Ten practices. And I’ll be going to a few Spring Football games, too. Stay in touch with me on Twitter (@BTNTomDienhart) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BTNTomDienhart), too.
How is strength training going at Penn State? What does Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead say he needs to do better? And what is Illinois coach Tim Beckman looking for this spring? It’s that time of day—time for a dose of Big Ten grid bits. What are scribes across the Midwest banging their keyboards about? Check it out.
Playing in its first NCAA Frozen Four game since 2005, the Minnesota men’s hockey team was eliminated from the tournament with a 6-1 loss to No. 1 overall seed Boston College at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. The Eagles have handed the Gophers their last two NCAA Tournament losses. The Eagles (32-10-1) will carry an 18-game winning streak into Saturday night’s Frozen Four final against Ferris State, which beat Union College 3-1 in the first semifinal. Boston College is seeking its fifth national title. Minnesota (28-14-1) made its first Frozen Four appearance since 2005. Full bracket at NCAA.com. And read more at GopherSports.com.
The building continues in Minnesota for second-year coach Jerry Kill, who is coming off a 3-9 season and last-place finish in the Legends Division. Hope floats in Minneapolis, but Kill has a long to-do list if he wants to get the Golden Gophers back to the postseason since Tim Brewster took them to consecutive bowls in 2008-09. The top priority? Improving a porous defense that finished 11th in the Big Ten vs. the run (186.4 ypg), ninth against the pass (216.7 ypg) and 10th overall in the Big Ten (403.1 ypg).
The Big Ten Network will stream Purdue’s spring football game live at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 14, on both BTN2Go and the Big Ten Digital Network. BTN also will have highlights and analysis from that day’s Big Ten spring games at 9:30 p.m. ET on B1G Tonight Spring Football Edition with Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith. The Purdue game will air on BTN at 7 p.m. ET Monday, April 16.