Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, January 27, 2015

One of the fun offseason stories to watch will be at Rutgers, where the search is on for a quarterback with Gary Nova gone. LSU transfer Hayden Rettig is in the hunt.

Rettig will compete with fellow redshirt sophomore Chris Laviano for Rutgers' open starting quarterback job.

"It's been a little different," Rettig said in December. "I was thinking I'd wait one year of this and then I'd get to play. And then I transfer and a bunch of things happened. But it's good. Just kind of being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel has been helping me out."


Veteran recruiting analyst Tom Lemming honored Jerry Kill with National Coach of the Year honors last week on CBS Sports Network. Lemming also recognized Gophers recruiting director Billy Glasscock as one of five national directors of operations of the year. Two good guys.


With yet another narrow loss, the question persists for Northwestern hoops: Will NU finally break through? Can the Wildcats learn to win? Will Chris Collins be able to shake the program's reputation as a tough-luck loser?

The gang at notes that Northwestern beat Maryland for 39 minutes and 58.6 seconds. It was those last 1.4 seconds that were killer. You have to like the direction of this program.


How bad has the increase in fouls gotten? It?s to the point where Michigan State?s Tom Izzo is considering using a zone defense. (Gasp!)

"I've seen more zone this year than I've seen in the history of the game, and people are wondering why scoring's going down," Izzo said. "When you zone somebody, it takes longer to score. Your offense is going to be slower, so I think we've outfoxed ourselves a little bit with all these rule changes.

"They wanted to speed up the game, they wanted to add more scoring, it's kind of working in the opposite."

The zone has been seen more this year as new freedom of movement rules are enforced, including a move by Duke to it against Louisville this season.


The 2015 season can?t get here fast enough for defending national champ Ohio State. Doug Lesmerises of has a projected depth chart. Guess who is at quarterback?


This certainly isn?t good news for Iowa: The pain that knocked Aaron White out for most of Saturday?s loss at Purdue hasn?t subsided. And his status is in doubt.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Monday morning that White was "day-to-day" and would be re-evaluated Wednesday.

"We'll see where he is then," McCaffery said. "Right now, it's day-to-day and just continue his treatment."

White suffered what was classified as a stinger - a nerve injury - in his right side after a collision with Purdue's Kendall Stephens in what would become a 67-63 Iowa loss at Mackey Arena. Get well soon, Aaron. Iowa needs you–badly


Tough loss for Indiana on Sunday at Ohio State. But it?s made even tougher by the question: Did a Buckeye cheerleader cost the Hoosiers a starter?

Watching film of the loss, Tom Crean saw stud freshman Robert Johnson land on a folder inadvertently left along the baseline near Ohio State's cheerleaders. His lost footing caused Johnson to land awkwardly, injuring his left knee.

"(There was) a red folder or papers that were laying close enough to the court, that he slipped on," Crean said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference Monday. "They were just laying there, when he finished his layup."

Crean said it's too early to know if Johnson - a starter all season - will be ready for Purdue on Wednesday.

On the subject of injured Hoosiers ? Devin Davis won?t return this season.


Say ?good-bye? to RB Justice Hayes, Michigan fans. He has opted to transfer and spend his fifth season somewhere else.

Hayes is the third player to leave the team since Brady Hoke was fired on Dec. 2, joining linebacker Michael Ferns and offensive lineman Kyle Bosch. Both of those players transferred to West Virginia.


Since I failed to do so early, I need throw a shout-out to Penn State for notching its first Big Ten win of the season. Way to go, Nits!


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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