When the casual college football fan thinks of the linebacker position, one program always stands out: Penn State. It’s called “Linebacker U,” after all. Jack Ham and others started the great tradition in the late 1960s, and it’s truly been a trend ever since. Perhaps no decade was more decorated for Penn State linebackers than the 2000s. You know the names: Sean Lee, Dan Connor and Paul Posluszny, among others. All three made the cut for BTN’s loaded list of top linebackers of the 2000s. Among the other recognized players, there’s the nation’s all-time leading tackler, a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a guy who won three BCS bowls. Watch a clip from Tuesday’s show and see the entire list in this post.
What’s one of the reasons Illinois players had such an impact in the NFL lately? Tonight’s edition of The Next Level profiles Lou Hernandez, Illinois’ strength and conditioning coach who has helped several Illini become professionals. Also tonight: The crew interviews Penn State’s Devon Still and we look at how one-time Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh is faring in his first year as coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Join Rick Pizzo, Jon Jansen, Russ Lande, and Brandon Williams tonight at 7 p.m ET & again at 8:30 p.m.
Week 5 of the NFL season is in the books, and Big Ten products compiled a number of solid performances. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how ex-Big Ten stars performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday morning, Brent Yarina will single out the Big Ten’s best offensive, defensive and special teams performances, plus link to their NFL.com highlights. See his Week 5 winners in this post.
Monday night on “Big Ten Breakdown,” Mike Hall interviewed Nebraska star Lavonte David. The senior linebacker forced the fumble that led to 28 unanswered points and helped Nebraska card its biggest comeback in program history Saturday night against Ohio State. Trailing 27-6 midway through the third quarter, David stripped the ball from Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, and Taylor Martinez scored two plays later to make it 27-13. From there, it was all Huskers. Watch now as David breaks down the game-changing play in Monday’s BTN interview.
Six games in, six games to go. We officially reached the midway point of the 2011 college football season following the completion of Saturday’s slate of games. It’s been an eventful first half, for sure, as Illinois and Michigan are off to surprising 6-0 starts and perennial power Ohio State is 3-3, including 0-2 in Big Ten play. And we can’t forget to mention Wisconsin, the Big Ten’s clear favorite after humiliating its first five foes by a combined score of 242-51. Seeing as how we’re halfway home, I wanted to rank the conference’s top 10 players thus far. See the list in this post.
At 6:30 ET tonight on The Big Ten Pulse, Rick Pizzo (@BTNRickPizzo), Derek Rackley (@DRack48) and Tim Doyle (@BTNTimDoyle) discuss all the latest happenings in the Big Ten, including whether Nebraska’s historic comeback against Ohio State saved its season. The crew also will debate which Big Ten team features the strongest defense. Who’s your pick for the best defensive unit? Leave it as a comment at the bottom of this post. Watch now as our crew debates which undefeated team they’d most like to coach in this Web-only segment.