CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Lovie Smith speaks in calm, even tones. Each word seemingly measured and given thought before being uttered. Tuesday was a big day for the freshly minted Illinois coach as he introduced his new staff, a collection of football minds that is tasked with trying to make the Illini relevant. Smith knows what’s on the line. He knows why he’s here: Illinois football is broken. And, Smith needs to fix it. “Are the players excited?” Smith asked. “Absolutely. “They want show what they can do for their new coaches. New eyes have no bias.” The work begins April
The resume of Michigan State’s Connor Cook glistens. A three-year starter who finished his career as the winningest quarterback in school history with 34 victories (34-5 overall record, 23-2 vs. Big Ten opponents), Cook did it all for the Spartans during a spectacular career. The Big Ten Quarterback of the Year and the Unitas Award winner in 2015, Cook left campus as an all-time great. Now, the Spartans’ BMOC is gone. What’s next? Michigan State is one of several Big Ten squads that face a yawning hole under center. In fact, there are no less than nine schools with some
Chad Leistikow of HawkCentral.com has 10 things on Iowa’s spring to-do list. Keep an eye on the linebackers, as Iowa has to replace second-leading tackler Cole Fisher on the weak side. On the outside, starter Ben Niemann is out for the spring. *** Michigan State has a “best kept secret.” And his name is Andrew Dowell, who is emerging at linebacker. Dowell was the surprise of Michigan State’s camp last fall, and after earning playing time as a true freshman, he begins spring as a projected starter at linebacker, according to Mike Griffith of Mlive.com. The Spartans’ linebacking corps is
Happy Easter, Big Ten fans! [ MORE: Like this post? Check out our full Gone Viral section ] James Franklin was feeling the holiday spirit Saturday afternoon, hosting an Easter celebration for his Penn State staff and families at his home. The head coach even donned an oversized bunny suit to add to the experience. There was a pinata, too, and when the Easter Bunny stepped up to it, Franklin, a former Division II quarterback, showed he knows how to tackle. Watch Franklin leave his feet to tackle the pinata, much to the delight of the squealing children and adults,
Michigan State basketball is already talking about next year. Michigan football says it's open to renewing one special rivalry. Wisconsin football is holding a spring practice not in Florida but some place north. These football and basketball stories and more in Friday's Big Ten news digest.
Spring practices are in full swing across the Big Ten, as schools begin to answer questions as they prepare for 2016. And no position across the conference may be under more scrutiny than offensive line, which from my estimations will be a top priority for nine schools to shore up. Here is a look at the most critical offensive line situations in the Big Ten, listed alphabetically. Illinois Guard Ted Karras was the team’s top blocker. Now, he’s gone. This unit needs to get a better push after the Illini ranked last in the Big Ten in rushing (129.3 ypg)
An apology from Ohio State to Michigan. One Big 12 coach isn't a fan of a TV network. Who's in the running to replace Christian Hackenberg at Penn State? And by one measurement, a Northwestern product topped all others at the NFL Combine. All of this and more in Thursday's Big Ten news digest.
So, the latest drama in the heated Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is an interesting one. Here’s the full timeline, if you missed any of it the last 24-plus hours: Tuesday afternoon: Ohio State AD Gene Smith, while at a soccer press conference, was asked about the possibility of the football team taking a portion of a future spring practice to Florida, as rival Michigan did this earlier month. Smith shot the idea down, saying, “If we were jump starting our program, I’d probably try to do that too.” Tuesday night: After hours of speculation that Smith’s comment was a jab at
Can Iowa football follow up a 12-2 season with sustained success? Josh Whitman made a splash hiring Lovie Smith, but here's what Illinois' new athletic director has on his plate. And spring football is rolling along. Have a look at Wednesday's Big Ten news digest.
Who knows if college football teams will be permitted to take parts of spring practice to, say, Florida in the future, as Jim Harbaugh and Michigan did earlier this month. [ MORE: Like this post? Check out our full Gone Viral section ] If the rules allow for it, don’t expect Michigan’s fierce rival Ohio State to leave Columbus, Ohio, for spring break. Ohio State AD Gene Smith alluded to this while speaking to the media Tuesday. See his direct quite in the tweet above. Urban Meyer seems to agree, although he did previously seem open to the idea. Interesting