Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, May 7, 2013

Is there a harder working writer than Mike Griffith of Of course not. Today, the Spartans writing machine has four talking points on Michigan State. Please read if you wanna impress your friends at the barber shopLearn this stuff, and you?ll wow and impress your friends. The tips about the quarterbacks are pure gold, Jerry. I've also got more Big Ten links in today's post.

If Penn State is going to playing true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg this fall, this is an ideal offense for it. Hey, I?m not the only one who thinks that way. Nittany Lions coach Bill O?Brien feels the same way, too. And his opinion matters more than mine.

Why is the 2013 Penn State offense perfect for a neophyte QB? The presence of myriad veterans should soften the incorporation of true freshman quarterback.

"The fact that everybody is not new is a good thing," O'Brien said on a caravan stop. "Like, if this was last year and you had a freshman quarterback playing last year with a bunch of guys that were just learning the system for the first time, it would be very, very difficult. So, the fact that we're a year into the system and we've got a lot of veteran players that played for us last year that produced and played well, I think that helps a young quarterback."

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More from Bill O?Brien, who reveals here that he starts from scratch on offense each spring.

O?Brien wants to play fast, as his ?NASCAR? offense set a quick tempo last season-and surprised many defenses. Now, he thinks things are smoother, since the staff understands the offense he had to basically teach them last season. Still, O?Brien started over this spring.

?I'll never forget this, you're coaching (quarterback) Tom Brady and every year you go right back and you start from scratch and you teach these guys from the bottom up, the whole offense again,? O?Brien said at a caravan stop.


"And as you're doing it, you implement the changes that you make for each year. I think we've made some good changes, still with the emphasis of playing at a high tempo."

Here is an inspirational video of Michigan strength coach Mike Barwis delivering an emotional speech on Brock Mealer?s fight to walk.

Good stuff.


Another video to get you going: This time, it?s Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell rapping as a sixth grader.

I?m glad he?s good at basketball.


Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal tackles a big question for Michigan State fans: Who would you rather have: Adreian Payne or Jabari Parker?

Couch goes with Payne. No shock there. It?s hard to not be impressed with Payne?s emerging game and experience. He appears primed for a huge senior season after eschewing the NBA. But Parker is supposed to be one of those special talents that arrives every three to five years. Because of that, I still think you have to go with the high school mega star over the veteran whose skills finally are coming together-even though they play different positions.


The great Loren Tate of the Champaign News-Gazette has a Q&A with Illinois A.D Mike Thomas.

Thomas has been very active in his nearly 21 months on the job. He hits on a variety of topics here, from the new naming rights deal for Assembly Hall to sagging football attendance.


Pretty neat deal here: Pat Harty of has selected his 10 best Iowa players of the Kirk Ferentz era.

It?s fitting that Harty?s No. 1 player is offensive tackle Robert Gallery, seeing as how linemen are Ferentz?s forte. Gallery would top my list, too.


Purdue?s reputation as the ?Den of Defensive Ends? continues to earn stature with Ryan Kerrigan emerging as a star with the Redskins.

Yes, Kerrigan is an outside linebacker in the NFL, but he was an end with the Boilermakers. Check out this roll call of former Purdue defensive end greats: Rosevelt Colvin, Anthony Spencer, Keena Turner, Shaun Phillips, Lamar Lundy, Rob Ninkovich, Chike Okeafor, Cliff Avril. No Big Ten school can match this. Go ahead and try to find one. You won?t be able to. Oh, and junior Ryan Russell is ready to add to this tradition.


BTN announced its prime-time football games on Monday. The ABC/ESPN family did likewise recently. Alas, Iowa won?t be in any of the night-time telecasts. It?s the first time since 2008 that Iowa won?t have any prime-time games.

The Big Ten Network has 12 live prime-time football telecasts in the 2013 season. Six prime-time games involving Big Ten teams will be aired by ESPN/ABC. I still think Iowa should have been given a prime-time game. Each Big Ten school should have at least one per season.


Always fun to listen to the great Mike Hlas? podcast. Here is the latest from the uber-talented Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist, when he talks to former Hawkeye TE Brandon Myers of the New York Giants.



My take: One of the best lines in recent college history. Ask the 1995 Florida Gators.

My take: The guy was amazing.

My take: Two words: Hot. Cocoa.


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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