On Monday, I predicted who would be the starting quarterback for each Big Ten East team. So, in an attempt to be fair, it’s time to share my Big Ten West predictions–even if most of the starting situations are settled. Here goes. ILLINOIS Wes Lunt. Tumult has been the order of the day in Champaign, where there have been three head coaches since August. But the arrival of Lovie Smith brings the prospect of better days. Smith had to be pleased to find Wes Lunt, a veteran hand who looks like an NFL quarterback. But Lunt needs to improve as
Things have to improve at Purdue. Darrell Hazell knows this, which is why his staff has been radically altered. In all, there are five new assistants—and a holdover in a new role. Perhaps no new assistant is more vital than defensive coordinator Ross Els. He was coaching high school ball in Nebraska last year—now, he has one of the biggest rehab projects in the Big Ten. The defense Els inherits in West Lafayette is a mess. Where to begin? How about learning how to stop the run? Last year, the Boilermaker defense was shredded for a league-high 214.9 rushing yards
The calendar reads early April. And spring football is in full gear (Michigan actually is finished) with the start of the 2016 season months away. [ MORE: Get all of our spring football coverage ] But let’s look into the crystal ball and try to predict who will start at quarterback for each Big Ten East team in the opener. I will look at the Big Ten West tomorrow. INDIANA Richard Lagow. Nate Sudfeld leaves as the school’s all-time leading passer, but Lagow could be the elixir to IU’s quarterback ailment in what is shaping up as a battle with
Year Two under Jim Harbaugh gained more momentum with the spring game on Friday. And, excitement continues to grow coming off a 10-win debut for Harbaugh. But questions loom for a Michigan program that is looking for its first Big Ten title since 2004. Here are four observations. 1. It looks like Wilton Speight—yes, Wilton Speight—has emerged as the leader in the quarterback race to replace Jake Rudock. The 6-6 Speight engineered two TD drives to lead his squad to victory in the spring game. The sophomore hit 5-of-6 passes for 46 yards with a scoring toss to star tight
Football is here as the Michigan Wolverines kicked off the 2016 spring football season with the first Big Ten spring game of the year.
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
(AP) A fresh start for Wisconsin running back Corey Clement called for a new number in spring practice. Foregoing his familiar No. 6 jersey for No. 24, Clement also has a different outlook looking ahead to his senior season as he puts the drama of 2015 behind him. “Me and Coach (Paul) Chryst are really talking about … changing my mindset and attitude toward how I approach practice each day,” Clement said after practice Tuesday. “He kind of made a joke out of it. `Can you handle 24, because 24 is really the workload number.” As in the number that
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.