Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, July 2, 2013

No doubt, Penn State defensive end Deion Barnes is a future star after a sensational debut in 2012 that saw him notch a team-high six sacks as a freshman. But he?ll have to deal with some extra attention this fall, as he?ll be a marked man.

?Everybody's going to turn their protection to him, so he's going to learn to work through that," said d-line coach Larry Johnson. "He's got to stay calm and really just continue to be part of the defense and play fast. His sacks and production will come. If he goes and pushes the panic button, having to get a sack every game, then he could struggle.

I still expect Barnes to be among the Big Ten?s top ends.

FERENTZ TALKS NO-HUDDLE: Ever wonder what Kirk Ferentz thinks of the no-huddle offense that will be deployed on occasion at Iowa? Well, here you go.

?The good thing is that it helped our defense, first and foremost,? Ferentz said. ?They?re going to face a lot of it. And it forced our guys offensively to concentrate more.?

Hey, even traditional coaches like Ferentz will try almost anything to reverse a losing trend. How much did the offense struggle last season? Iowa lost its last six games to finish 4-8 in 2012. The Hawkeyes averaged just 310.4 yards, the fewest since 2000. The 19.3 points a game were the fewest since the 2007 season. So, the no-huddle doesn?t seem like such a bad idea, huh?

AARON HERNANDEZ'S BROTHER: Hawkeyes G.A. D.J. Hernandez is the brother of the now notorious Aaron Hernandez.

Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette says the situation could be a distraction. There is no doubt about that. A recent incident that sparked a brawl at a Connecticut diner where D.J. Hernandez was eating only added a layer of weirdness to everything.

For now, Iowa isn?t making anyone available to talk. But, as Hlas points out: You can set the agenda for a lot of things if you?re Hawkeye football, but this isn?t one of them.

THANK YOU, DR. TOM: Nebraska legend Tom Osborne recently had his last day on the job. Check out this Q&A with the icon. No doubt, we likely won?t see another like Dr. Tom.

Regular readers of his post will enjoy this Q-A exchange:

Q: (Nebraska president) Harvey Perlman and you helped Nebraska land in the Big Ten Conference. Can we revisit that decision and put it into context?

A: The situation we were in with the Big 12 was somewhat untenable. We had several schools openly talking about leaving and reading between the lines, there may have been an agreement between those schools and another major conference. They hit a stumbling block and it fell apart, but we didn't know it was going to fall apart.

ILLINI'S ROCK: The Champaign News-Gazette is getting fired up for the coming season by counting down the 50 most important Fighting Illini players of 2013. The countdown is at 43, WR Fritz Rock.

ANDERSEN'S OBJECTIVE: What?s new Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen?s first goal? To build trust with the players. It?s something he had to do just four short years ago when he took over Utah State. And he had great success at it.


My take: I agree about Ohio State being in the national title game; not so sure about Michigan State in the Outback Bowl.

My take: Oh, c?mon! The Badgers are loaded. This team has at least nine wins in it.

My take: These things are beyond silly. Just a sea of names.

My take: Hey, it?s not Pasadena, but it would beat missing the postseason-again.

My take: Good, because he?s gonna have to be a stud this winter.

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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