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Dienhart: Things I learned at Minnesota

Anytime you watch Minnesota, you can’t help but focus on quarterback MarQueis Gray. At 6-4, 250 pounds, Gray looked like a linebacker or defensive end when I stood by him at practice. He’s a physical beast. But he also has made some great strides as a passer, which were apparent in the practice we watched. Quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski told me things are slowing down for Gray in his second season in the scheme. You could sense a maturity and confidence about Gray as he worked out. He’s older and wiser—and it showed today.

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Dienhart: Getting ready to see the Gophers

The BTN tour bus stops at Minnesota next. And there will be a lot to watch at Saturday afternoon’s practice in Minneapolis at the Gibson Nagurski Football Complex. The Minnesota Preview Show will air at 10 p.m. ET Sunday. Jerry Kill’s second team has lots of questions. On offense, I will watch to see how quarterback MarQueis Gray is passing the ball. He hit just 50.7 percent of his passes last year. That must improve, while also maintaining his vast running skills.

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Cox Communications to Launch BTN in California

CHICAGO and SAN DIEGO – Cox Communications and Big Ten Network announced Thursday that it will add BTN to Cox’s lineup in Orange County, Palos Verdes, San Diego and Santa Barbara on Aug. 15, 2012. BTN is the first internationally distributed network dedicated to covering one of the premiere collegiate conferences in the country.

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Young fans lead Gophers in Minnesota Rouser

We can only hope the Minnesota freshmen were paying attention when a couple of young Gopher fans recently led the team in the school’s fight song, Minnesota Rouser. Watch GoldenGopherGridiron‘s video of it in this post. The little guys nailed it. Nothing scared them – not the camera, not the circle of Gophers around them, not head coach Jerry Kill, on a knee, right next to them. Good stuff.

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Clothes Call: Ranking Big Ten football helmets

When Tom Dienhart wrote that Penn State should put blue ribbon stickers on both sides of its helmet, it got my attention. No helmet, it seems, is as sacred as Penn State’s  – not even Michigan’s. After all, the Wolverines are coming off a season in which they added numbers to their lids and put gray facemasks in the rotation, both nods to the past. It’s back to the usual look in 2012. The last time Penn State made a significant change to its helmet: 1987, when it went from gray to blue facemasks.

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