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BTN's Tom Dienhart

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart covers Big Ten football all year. Check out these links:

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New number signifies fresh start for Wisconsin RB Corey Clement

(AP) A fresh start for Wisconsin running back Corey Clement called for a new number in spring practice. Foregoing his familiar No. 6 jersey for No. 24, Clement also has a different outlook looking ahead to his senior season as he puts the drama of 2015 behind him. “Me and Coach (Paul) Chryst are really talking about … changing my mindset and attitude toward how I approach practice each day,” Clement said after practice Tuesday. “He kind of made a joke out of it. `Can you handle 24, because 24 is really the workload number.” As in the number that

Highlights and interviews from Michigan State Football Pro Day

Expect to hear plenty of Michigan State football players’ names in this year’s NFL Draft. The Spartans held their annual Pro Day on Wednesday on the campus of Michigan State. The list of MSU Pro Day attendees included center Jack Allen, wide receiver Aaron Burbridge, defensive end Shilique Calhoun, offensive lineman Jack Conklin, quarterback Connor Cook, and others. BTN’s Lisa Byington, Jim Miller and Russ Lande were in East Lansing to take in all the action. Here is a look at highlights and interviews from MSU’s Pro Day. Is there a better college football coach at developing talent? @MSU_Football's Mark

Big Ten links: What would a 68-team football bracket look like?

If college football had a 68-team tourney like men's hoops, how would the bracket look? Which big name reportedly interviewed for the Rutgers' men's basketball job? What kind of good news did Minnesota fans get recently? Let's dive into Wednesday's Big Ten football and basketball news digest.

Video: Watch interviews from Ohio State's Pro Day

BTN aired a 30-minute “Ohio State Pro Day” show spotlighting the highlights as Buckeye players performed drills for NFL Scouts in Columbus on Friday. The show will air again – use our TVV schedule to find upcoming days and times. In this post, we’ve included a few interviews from the show. BTN’s Lisa Byington and Stanley Jackson talk to Jalin Marshall, Joey Bosa, Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller. Here are those interviews from our YouTube page:    

2016 spring football preview: Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin is aiming to get back to the summit in the Big Ten West. But there is work to do as Paul Chryst begins his second season in Madison coming off a 10-3 debut and second-place finish in the West. [ MORE: Get all of Tom Dienhart’s Big Ten spring football coverage ] Key personnel is gone. And the coaching staff has been impacted with defensive coordinator Dave Aranda leaving for a fat raise and the same post at LSU after leading a unit that led the Big Ten in scoring defense (13.7 ppg) and total defense (268.5 ypg) in

Twitter: Illinois football family reacts to Lovie Smith hiring

Lovie Smith was announced as the new Illinois football coach early Monday morning, and soon after the head coach was introduced to his new players. [ MORE: Dienhart: Lovie Smith hiring means ‘future is now’ ] Let’s just say, as expected, the players approve of the hiring of a former NFL coach who led the hometown Chicago Bears to Super Bowl XLI. The Illini gave Smith a standing ovation at his introduction in the team room. Watch the reception in the video above. Also, check out some of the Twitter reaction from the Illinois football family below. *** Speaking of Illinois

Dienhart: Lovie Smith hire means 'future is now' for Illinois

New Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman showed the league he means business about exacting change—now—by firing Bill Cubit on his first day on the job and hiring Lovie Smith two days later. [ MORE: Twitter: Illinois football family reacts to Love Smith hiring ] The future is now. No sense in waiting to turn the page. It’s all about authoring a better tomorrow in Champaign for a consistently underachieving program. So, Whitman felt Cubit wasn’t the future. And, he acted. With lightning speed and authority by inking Smith to a six-year deal that will pay him $2 million annually for

Big Ten links: Lovie Smith hire, Ohio State replacements & more

In the span of three days, Illinois fired and hired a coach. Lovie Smith brings instant credibility. Bob Asmussen has pros and cons to Smith’s hiring. There is great opportunity in Champaign. It will be key how Smith shapes his staff. Who will be his coordinators? And key recruiters are ultra-vital. And, the guy who got fired, Bill Cubit, was shocked—to say the least—about getting canned after making over his staff in the offseason. “Just shock, it really is,” Cubit told IlliniInquirer.com on Saturday afternoon. “My biggest thing really is No. 1 the players and then No. 2, it’s the

A look at Big Ten players who caught Peyton Manning TD passes

It’s official: Future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning has retired. The former Indianapolis and Denver signal-caller made the announcement Sunday, nearly one month after leading the Broncos to Super Bowl 50. Manning finishes his career with a laundry list of NFL records, including all-time touchdown passes (539). For a little fun, and to put a Big Ten perspective on Manning’s retirement, let’s take a look at the Big Ten names who caught at least one of the quarterback’s 539 career scoring strikes. Dallas Clark (Iowa): 44 Eric Decker (Minnesota): 24 Ken Dilger (Illinois): 7 Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio State):

Dienhart: 'This is a fun, exciting ... and scary time for Illinois'

Illinois is turning the page … again. [ MORE: Miss Josh Whitman’s press conference? Watch it on BTN2Go ] New A.D. Josh Whitman isn’t wasting any time in putting his stamp on the program, dropping a bomb by firing Bill Cubit on Saturday, his first official day on the job. What’s next for Illinois, a school that since 2011 will have had four football coaches, three athletic directors and two hoops coaches? Illinois’ football program remains mired in tumult. Just last August, then A.D. Mike Thomas fired Tim Beckman a week before the season started amid allegations he had mistreated