Latest One-on-One News

Dienhart: Q&A with Illinois' Billy Gonzales

Billy Gonzales is ready for this. He’s ready to take the Illinois offense to the next level under new Fighting Illini coach Tim Beckman. The Illinois attack struggled in the second half of last season in what was a bizarre campaign that saw Illinois open 6-0 and then lose six in a row before ending the year with a bowl win over UCLA.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Michigan DC Greg Mattison

No assistant coaching hire may have had as much impact as the arrival of Greg Mattison to Michigan as defensive coordinator prior to last season. Brady Hoke plucked Mattison from the Baltimore Ravens, where he served as defensive coordinator. And the results were swift and immediate during an 11-2 season that was capped by a Sugar Bowl triumph over Virginia Tech.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Northwestern's Mike Hankwitz

Northwestern is riding an unprecnedented wave of success that has seen the Wildcats go to a school-record four bowls (Alamo, Outback, TicketCity, Meineke Car Care) in a row. But to take the next step and become a contender in the rugged Legends Division, the Wildcats need to improve on defense under sage coordinator Mike Hankwitz.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Purdue's Gary Nord

Purdue offensive coordinator Gary Nord has acquired an array of offensive knowledge over the years, working for many seasons under legendary Howard Schnellenberger.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Indiana OC Seth Littrell

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson knows it. He knows his offense must be more productive. He knows it must score more points if the Hoosiers hope to pull out of a four-year bowl dry spell.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Minnesota's Matt Limegrover

It’s a building process. Minnesota offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover knows that. He’s been through this before with Golden Gopher head coach Jerry Kill at Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois and Emporia State, where he joined Kill in 1999 and hasn’t left. Limegrover became offensive coordinator in 2001, when Kill and his staff took over at Southern Illinois. I caught up with Limegrover to talk about his offense and how it’s developing as he heads in Year Two with the Golden Gophers.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Penn State's Ted Roof

Ted Roof knows the opportunity that lurks at Penn State. He knows what can be accomplished. That’s why he’s excited to be part of Bill O’Brien’s first staff. Roof also knows there’s work to do.

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Dienhart: Q&A With Michigan State's Mark Hollis

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis is on a roll. Since assuming command in 2008, Hollis has developed some of the most unique events in college sports in recent years, including staging a basketball game on an aircraft carrier last November.

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Dienhart: Q&A With Iowa's Greg Davis

After years of stability under Kirk Ferentz, the Iowa coaching staff has undergone a big transformation. How big? For the first time since taking the job in 1999, Ferentz will have new coordinators. Defensive coordinator Norm Parker retired, while offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe left to take a job with the Miami Dolphins. Ferentz promoted defensive backs coach Phil Parker to run the defense. But Ferentz went outside the Iowa family when it came time to find an offensive coordinator and hired Greg Davis.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Ohio State's Ed Warinner

Urban Meyer has built an impressive staff at Ohio State. On defense, Meyer retained coordinator Luke Fickell and lured Everett Withers from North Carolina to help run the unit. On offense, Meyer tabbed Tom Herman from Iowa State to serve as coordinator. And the offense will be co-coordinated with Ed Warinner, one of the nation’s most respected—and underrated—offensive minds.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Nebraska's John Papuchis

Bet you didn’t know that Nebraska hasn’t won a conference championship since 1999. But, it’s true. If Nebraska is to break that dry spell in its second season in the Big Ten, it will need its defense to improve. The unit must replace lots of star power, headed by the likes of lineman Jared Crick, linebacker Lavonte Davis and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. All were NFL draft picks.

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Dienhart: One-on-one with UW's Chris Ash

When you think of Wisconsin, offense usually comes to mind. Big, tough physical lines blocking for a strong running game. But the Wisconsin defense deserves credit for the program’s consecutive Rose Bowl appearances. The Badgers had the Big Ten’s No. 3 defense (316.4 ypg) in 2011 and allowed just 19 points per game (13th in the nation). I talked with co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash—who is in his second as co-coordinator working in concert with Charlie Partridge–to get his breakdown of the Badger defense. See the Q&A in this post.

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Big Ten Q&A: Michigan's Al Borges

Michigan was one of the nation’s most surprising teams last season under first-year coach Brady Hoke. The Wolverines finished 11-2, capping the remarkable season with a Sugar Bowl triumph over Virginia Tech. Some of the credit for Hoke’s remarkable debut has to go to offensive coordinator Al Borges.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Purdue's Danny Hope

Danny Hope admits that this is his best team at Purdue. He enters his fourth season in West Lafayette with a 16-21 record (10-14 Big Ten) after first arriving from Eastern Kentucky as Purdue’s head-coach-in-waiting in 2008 under Joe Tiller. Hope assumed command in 2009 and guided Purdue to its first bowl since 2007 last season, when the Boilers downed Western Michigan in the Little Caesar’s Bowl.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Michigan State's Dantonio

Michigan State is one of the hottest programs in the Big Ten—if not the nation. And the Spartans can thank Mark Dantonio. Since arriving from Cincinnati to assume command in 2007, Dantonio has forged a 44-22 record in six seasons, including a 27-13 mark in the Big Ten. And each season, Michigan State has gone to a bowl, highlighted by a win over Georgia in the Outback Bowl after last season. Dantonio also beat rival Michigan for a fourth consecutive season in 2011, forever endearing him to Spartan fans.

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