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
Change is the operative word at Rutgers, as Chris Ash continues to put his stamp on the program after taking over for Kyle Flood. [ MORE: Get all of Tom Dienhart’s Big Ten spring football coverage ] Ash has work to do after arriving from a gig as defensive coordinator at Ohio State. Good thing his area of specialty is defense, as the Scarlet Knights need a lot of help on that side of the ball. Rutgers ranked No. 13 in the Big Ten in total defense in 2015 (462.0 ypg) and 12th in scoring (34.9 ppg). The back seven
For Purdue this spring, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart will be watching three areas for the Boilermakers: Quarterback, offensive line, and defensive line. And there is work to do in all three areas.
Change is the theme as James Franklin begins this third season at the helm of Penn State. [ MORE: Get all of Tom Dienhart’s Big Ten spring football coverage ] The staff has been altered radically. Franklin fired offensive coordinator John Donovan and shockingly saw defensive coordinator Bob Shoop leave for Tennessee. And offensive line coach Herb Hand also high-tailed it, bolting for Auburn. Plus, a raft of players transferred after a season that ended with four losses in a row. Is this a cause for alarm? No matter your spin, there is no denying that 2016 is a big
Urban Meyer has lived a charmed life since taking over Ohio State in 2012, posting a 50-4 overall record and a 31-1 Big Ten mark. His crowning feat was winning the 2014 national championship, and last year’s team looked poised to repeat before a late-season stumble at home vs. Michigan State. [ MORE: Get all of Tom Dienhart’s Big Ten spring football coverage ] Now, Meyer faces some big challenges next season. Yes, he will have some building blocks for his fifth squad, but questions loom. A big one: Who will be the running back with Ezekiel Elliott gone? Bri’onte
Jim Harbaugh basked in the sun Monday, spending six hours on the practice field with his Michigan Wolverines. Back home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it was cloudy and gray, temperatures were in the 40s and the locals were preparing for snow.
Optimism bubbles in Lincoln. Yes, Mike Riley’s debut didn’t go smoothly. It seemed each week, the Cornhuskers found a new way to lose a game. But the squad finished with some mojo, going 3-1 in its last four games with a bowl win vs. UCLA in an otherwise vexing 6-7 season. [ MORE: Get all of Tom Dienhart’s Big Ten spring football coverage ] The Huskers welcome back lots of talent on both sides of the ball, giving the staff a nice nucleus to work with. But some areas need to develop. In particular, keep an eye on the quarterback
Michigan State has become an elite program that year in, year out, will battle for the Big Ten title.
Jerry Kill is gone. The Tracy Claeys era has begun. And, change is brewing … it has been for several months. The program is on solid footing, having been to a bowl each of the last four seasons. But the staff has been altered with a new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and offensive line coach. Still, there is momentum coming off a bowl win that capped a disappointing 6-7 season. Claeys let go offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Matt Limegrover and quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski. Jay Johnson was hired from Louisiana-Lafayette to run the offense and coach quarterbacks, while Bart Miller was
Jim Harbaugh’s debut could not have gone much better. He inherited a 5-7 team and turned it into a 10-3 squad that punctuated the season with a domination of Florida in the Citrus Bowl. The losses all were “quality,” as the Wolverines fell at Utah in the opener–barely, vs. Michigan State (in one of the craziest endings ever) and vs. an Ohio State club that no doubt is the better program … for now. [ MORE: Get all of Tom Dienhart’s Big Ten spring football coverage ] The future bubbles with promise, as Harbaugh continues to fold in talent that