Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, May 15, 2015
The letters keep rolling in. Thanks for writing. Let me reach into my email inbox and answer some of your more pressing queries.
Who do you see as the "Big Man" for Michigan next season? Also, we haven't heard much about incoming freshmen or transfers. Do you see any who will make an "instant impact"? – Kenneth Gay
Michigan will have some nice options inside in 6-9 Mark Donnal, 6-10 Ricky Doyle and 6-7 Kameron Chatman. There also is 6-9 redshirt freshman D.J. Wilson. Fellow big man Max Bielfeldt is opting to play his fifth season elsewhere. In fact, he?s shopping around as I type this. Michigan will be oriented on the perimeter with players like Caris LeVert, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Aubrey Dawkins, Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton
Last year, the Iowa schedule was supposed to be a dream. Now, this year?s schedule is a dream? It is beginning to be deja vu all over again. Great schedule you say? Let's not finish worse than 9-3, if that is the case. – Mtnman
I was among the guilty who was touting Iowa?s 2014 schedule as being ?dreamy.? Lo and behold, the Hawkeyes ended up finishing a disappointing 7-6. I really thought Iowa had a shot to win the West Division. But issues on offense proved to be troublesome. There was a lack of explosive playmakers, the quarterback play was average and the running game was inconsistent. Questions still hang over Kirk Ferentz?s squad, but you still can?t argue with a 2015 schedule that looks very user-friendly.
Will Jim Harbaugh's early violations, no matter how small, affect the way the NCAA and Michigan monitor his future behavior? – Zack Todd
Not at all. As a point of reference, Ohio State just self-reported 46 secondary NCAA violations in 21 sports. So, four self-reported violations by Michigan football are no cause for alarm.
Illinois has won three of the last five meetings against Northwestern, but only four of the last 12! I don't find much encouraging about its recent record against NU. – Ralph Johnson
Well, winning three of the last five is encouraging!
If Simon Cvijanovic had a problem with the coach at Illinois, why didn?t he go to the coach?s office and discuss it? Instead, he takes to Twitter. – Howard Tippett
Yep, Cvijanovic may end up regretting airing his grievances via such a public forum. Keeping this in-house would have been better for all involved. But, maybe he felt his voice wasn?t being heard eternally. Who knows? An independent investigation will soon be underway to get to the bottom of things. This is the last thing Illinois and Tim Beckman needed as they continue to build a program.
What do you think of the Wisconsin quarterbacks? – Jake Nett
Joel Stave is the man. Paul Chryst has said as much. So, there will be no preseason quarterback intrigue in Madison. Stave is a classic passer who fits the mold of what Chryst likes in his signal-callers. There are some interesting options behind him. I like Alex Hornibrook, who flipped his commit from Pitt to Wisconsin when Chryst left. Others include Austin Kafentzis and D.J. Gillins. And if needed, I think Bart Houston-the No. 2 man–could play. Gillins is the most athletic.
Will this be the year for Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong to improve? – Gene Jilg
Good question. He holds a big key to success for first-year coach Mike Riley. Armstrong never has completed more than 53 percent of his passes in a season. That won?t fly in a new pro-style offense. Perhaps the new staff can develop Armstrong, who looks like the team?s best option under center at the moment. NU will likely sink or swim with him. AJ Bush turned some heads in spring drills but didn?t impress in the spring game. He looks the part. But is he ready? Zack Darlington may be a guy to watch, along with Johnny Stanton.
Who will win the starting QB position for Rutgers, and how will this starter be better than Gary Nova? – Joe Stanislau
Given the way he played in the spring game, I would give the edge to Chris Laviano, a redshirt sophomore who hit 8-of-10 passes for 140 yards and two scores. LSU transfer Hayden Rettig remains in the running. Whoever starts will lack Nova?s savvy and smarts.