Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, October 29, 2015
News of Jerry Kill?s abrupt retirement stirred the Big Ten yesterday. It was a sad day for college football, as the sport lost one of its good guys. Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has a look at how Kill was struggling with his medications.
And here is a good look back at Kill?s three-decade career.
He was one of the best on many levels and will be missed. We all wish him good health and a happy life. But how will this impact the program he leaves behind? Can Minnesota retain the momentum Kill has started?
[MORE: BTN's Tom Dienhart on Kill's legacy | Players react on Kill's retirement | Suzy Merchant on her friend Kill | 5 great Jerry Kill video moments]
Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong has been wearing a boot on his right foot this week. Not ideal. If he can?t go at Purdue, former walk-on Ryker Fyfe would get the nod. I love that name.
If Fyfe starts, the Husker running game will be needed even more. The good news: Purdue can?t stop the run.
While the status of Tommy Armstrong is iffy, Wisconsin got good news this week: QB Joel Stave has been cleared.
Stave, who suffered a concussion Saturday at Illinois, went through a light workout Tuesday and appears on track to start against Rutgers.
"Just kind of going through the steps you need to go through," Stave said. "I threw some routes. Watched all the team stuff and threw a little seven-on-seven.
"Not what I'd do on a normal Tuesday practice, but I was out there being able to watch and learn.
"I feel good now so I'm sure I'll just keep moving forward."
But, should something happen again to Stave, Wisconsin has to feel good about using backup Bart Houston. He looked good last week.
Penn State is among the rare teams that will play 10 games in a row without a bye. Back in my day, no teams had byes. They all played 11 games in a row. (I just said that in my old man voice.)
"It's consecutive games, it's where we're still at from depth and scholarship perspective; at some point there has to be a point where we've made slight modifications and have to do more," James Franklin said earlier. "That was something I told them in the locker room right after the (Maryland) game, that we were going to modify something this week."
Good podcast from Cleveland.com which examines how many elite programs there are in the nation. In the Big Ten, no doubt Ohio State is elite, along with Penn State and Michigan. But, what about Nebraska and Michigan State?
Here is some video from Northwestern?s basketball media day. This could be a big year in Evanston. Really. Could NU finally make the Big Dance?
Chris Collins: "Every team has aspirations to do things in March, and I think we have those aspirations. If you don't have those aspirations, you shouldn't be playing or coaching… I don't want this team to carry the weight of what has or hasn't happened in this program's history. That's not fair… At the end of the day we'll get what we'll earn."
I think NU may come close to making the NCAA tourney but will come up short again.
Purdue is looking to snap out of a five-game losing skid that threatens to derail the season. The solution this week after a bye: Get more aggressive in its schemes.
"We're not going to push the panic button," Darrell Hazell said this week. "We understand where our shortcomings are, and we're going to fix them, and you're getting so close in all those situations, you've just got to take the lid off of it. Once the lid comes off, watch out."
This is all well and good. But until the blocking and tackling improve, scheme tweaks probably won?t mean much. Purdue ranks No. 13 in the Big Ten in rushing (134.9 ypg) and last in rushing defense (198.1 ypg). ?Nuff said.
Maryland can sympathize with Purdue. Tough times for the Terps, who look to end a four-game losing skid at Iowa this Saturday. Moral victories don?t count.
The Baltimore Sun story points out that there are some positives amid the losses. Maryland's margin of defeat has declined in each game. The Terps had four chances to get a go-ahead score against Penn State after cutting their deficit to one early in the fourth quarter. And a turnover-prone offense that had been enigmatic at best and nonexistent at its worst appears to have found an identity behind quarterback Perry Hills. So, that?s some stuff to build on, right?
Sounds like Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has had it with TV commentators poking at the fact Connor Cook isn?t a captain.
"To continue to bring it up to me is nit-picking, when you see a guy at the top and you say 'Well how can I bring this guy down and say something negative about him,'" Dantonio said.
"There's no problems. They want to dispel that, all I can tell you is that the guy is doing an unbelievable job, we're 8-0 largely because of his play, and he'll continue to play extremely well."
Well, no matter what Dantonio thinks, it still is kind of interesting that a stud senior quarterback who is loaded with experience wouldn?t be elected a team captain by his peers.