Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 13, 2015

There were four spring games on Saturday, with Minnesota, Maryland, Nebraska and Northwestern finishing drills. It?s one last time to kick the tires on each team before a long offseason.

Here are some things I learned-or didn?t learn–from each program, upon further review.

Maryland has some work to do in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The good news: The Terps may have found a stud in Kingsley Opara. That?s good, because DT Darius Kilgo has to be replaced. DE Jesse Aniebonam also looks to have a bright future. Former five-star OT Damian Prince may be a star down the road-but he has work to do. A lot of work to do, according to reports. Terps fans have to feel good about WR Marcus Leak, a bulky and muscular pass catcher who looks like the new go-to guy following a three-touchdown first half.

[ MORE: Watch replay of the Maryland spring game on BTN2Go ]


Minnesota?s offense could be better ? maybe. (This is your cue to shrug your shoulders.) Jerry Kill and Co., have installed elements of a no-huddle offense, but things were pretty vanilla for the spring game. Mitch Leidner was 5-of-11 passing. Chris Streveler was 11-of-20. There were drops by a wideout corps that has a lot to prove. And none of the running backs dominated, as the Gophers look to replace uber-productive David Cobb. Rodrick Williams has lost 20 pounds and may be the man. Stay tuned. The defense? It should be fine, especially a killer secondary.

[ MORE: Watch replay of the Minnesota spring game on BTN2Go ]


Nebraska is still in the process of taking the wraps off the Mike Riley era. Not much was revealed in the spring game. Questions along the offensive line and at linebacker still nag. The line knows it can build around tackle Alex Lewis and guard Chongo Kondolo. After that? The linebackers have a couple of bellwethers in Josh Banderas and Michael Rose-Ivey, but help is needed. And who will replace the pass-rushing of end Randy Gregory? Probably no one, as the Huskers may have to rely on the blitz to generate a rush. But keep an eye on redshirt freshman Freedom Akinmoladun, who already is on the All-Name Team.

[ MORE: Watch replay of the Nebraska spring game on BTN2Go ]


Northwestern?s quarterback situation remains a work-in-progress. Redshirt freshman Clayton Thorson has been hailed by many as the heir apparent in Evanston. But, he didn?t wow in a short scrimmage Saturday. So, this remains a three-man race between Matt Alviti, Zach Oliver and Thorson, a four-star prospect who had offers from the likes of Iowa, Ole Miss and Penn State. No matter who is under center, the offensive line needs to get better. And, it?s still under construction. Guys like Geoff Mogus need to lead the way for a unit with something to prove.

[ MORE: Watch replay of the Northwestern spring practice on BTN2Go ]


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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