BTN Tour Mailbag: Gophers & much more

Throughout the seasons, I answer your Big Ten football and basketball questions in my Big Ten Mailbag. During the BTN summer bus tour, I’m fielding questions from every stop along our 3,000-plus mile trek across Big Ten country. We saw the Gophers practice Saturday, and Minnesota fans sent me some questions. We’ll be at Wisconsin practice Monday, and here’s what I want to see from the Badgers. If you have a question, send it to me in the box at the bottom of this post or tweet it to me (@BTNTomDienhart).

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DiNardo: Minnesota football practice tweets

The BTN bus tour hit Minneapolis on Saturday, and that means it’s time for analyst Gerry DiNardo’s post-practice tweets – a feature he’ll provide after all 12 stops across Big Ten country. Did you miss our Minnesota Preview Show on Sunday night? Watch it on BTN2Go. And on Monday, we’re headed to Wisconsin practice. Get senior writer Tom Dienhart’s Wisconsin practice preview.

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Dienhart: Things I learned at Minnesota

MarQueis Gray

Tom Dienhart's Take Away on 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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Did You See This? Illinois' Tim Beckman takes ice bath

It was a hard days work for Illinois football coach Tim Beckman on Friday. Or perhaps, he really felt like bonding with standout linebacker Jonathan Brown. Either way, the first-year head coach capped Friday’s practice with a plunge in the ice bath. No joke. And from the picture @IllinoisFootball tweeted, it sure seemed as though Beckman enjoyed the cold temperatures. See the photo in this post.

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