Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, October 16, 2013

It?s Wednesday, Hump Day. And, it seems Michigan Nation is still aflame over the loss at Penn State. The analysis and problem-solving boils. Brady Hoke said it. We all know it: Devin Gardner can?t carry the ball 27 times a game. Gardner actually ran it 24 times at Penn State. And when he ran it, Michigan had some success. When he didn?t run, the offense-well, it stunk. So, that?s the conundrum.

"We've really looked at what we're doing from an offensive perspective during the off week and bye week, and we made some changes," Hoke said Tuesday during the Big Ten coaches teleconference. "And we may tweak a thing here or there (moving forward), but we can't ask Devin (Gardner) to run the ball 27 times.

"You're going to get him beat up and you won't have him for the heart of the Big Ten schedule."

Oh, and here is Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges explaining his play-calling in overtime of the Penn State game. In case you?ve been under a rock, Borges? has been blasted for being ?too conservative? in the overtime stanzas.

?We?ve got the best kicker in the league, we think, especially inside of 40 yards, so we were just going to try to position it so he could finish,? Borges said of kicker Brendan Gibbons, who missed one at the end of regulation and two in overtime Saturday. ?The biggest thing is, if you try to score - aggressively try to score - you don?t give him a chance. Then everybody?s going to second-guess you. That was our approach. We threw the ball six times and ran it eight times, so it wasn?t like we reined ourselves (in) totally.?

So there is that. I?m not gonna argue. I would have done the same thing.

*** named its midseason All-American team. And some Big Ten players made the cut. Check it out. Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon led the way.


Urban Meyer says Braxton Miller recognizes the mistakes he made at Northwestern (three turnovers) and will work to fix them. We shall see. Iowa?s defense will pose some issues. But, it sure is nice to have Carlos Hyde in the backfield. When all else fails, hand him the ball and watch him run.


Not good news out of Nebraska. Star guard Spencer Long is out for the season with a knee injury suffered last week. And the status of Taylor Martinez is unchanged.

Well, the Husker o-line still should be solid, as the unit already was a strength. It sounds like Mike Moudy may be most likely to take Long?s spot.


What?s the only team in the nation that hasn?t allowed a rushing touchdown? It?s Iowa, thank you.


Jerry Kill won?t be on the sideline when Minnesota plays at Northwestern. In fact, the players are motivated without Kill. Check out this video from Michael Rand of the Star Tribune.

And it looks like Mitch Leidner will be the quarterback. Acting head coach Tracy Claeys also said he?s like to get Philip Nelson some reps. Whoever is under center, this team needs a pulse in the passing game.


This piece by Mike Griffith of sums up pretty well how far Michigan State has come since those dreary days of September. Remember those days?


Yes, Penn State has a bye this week. But that doesn?t mean there isn?t something to talk about. It seems the team could have-COULD HAVE-a running back controversy. Yes, I know. It seems kinda silly. Don?t all teams need 2-3 good backs? Does it really matter who starts? Exactly.


Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was asked on the weekly Big Ten presser if Ohio State bossman Urban Meyer was good for the Big Ten. Interesting answer, I guess.


Wow and amaze your friends with this info: For six consecutive seasons, Iowa has knocked off either an 11-win team or one that qualified for the Bowl Championship Series. Thanks, Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.


Purdue apparently has scrapped its 4-3 defensive alignment. Hey, the Boilers have to try something, right? I could make a crack about rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, but I won?t.


My take: If Nebraska is going to win the Legends, I think Martinez is gonna have come back at some point.

My take: I really like this kid.

My take: And, frankly, does Michigan have any better options?

My take: Good enough for me. Next!

My take: True. The difference: Tom Herman?s players at Ohio State are a LOT better than the ones he had at Iowa State.

My take: How good is Joey Bosa? The best true freshman defender in the Big Ten this season? Hmmm.

My take: Sounds about right. Now, what?

My take: No doubt, the big fella needs to do more.

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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