Notebook: Big Ten Media Day coaches' notes
Illinois — head coach Tim Beckman
- Beckman enters his first year with the Illini, becoming the 23rd head coach in school history.
- Beckman said he plans to run a dual-threat offense, often playing two running backs and sometimes two quarterbacks at once. He hinted the team’s offensive strategy will be run-heavy, which would require support on the offensive line from Donovonn Young and Josh Ferguson for leading rusher Nathan Scheelhaase.
- Beckman said the QB position is still open for competition, but Scheelhaase is currently the best option.
Iowa — head coach Kirk Ferentz
- Ferentz, entering his 14th season with the Hawkeyes, is now has the longest tenure among Big Ten coaches.
- Ferentz said incoming freshman running back Greg Garmon, who was charged in early June with possession of marijuana, will not be suspended. Ferentz said the running-back position is “wide open,” and it’s very likely either Garmon or fellow incoming freshman Barkley Hill will see playing time there.
Indiana — head coach Kevin Wilson
- Indiana finished the 2011 season with a 1-11 record — something Wilson said makes him “personally embarrassed.”
- Tre Roberson became the first true freshman to start at quarterback in Indiana history last season, but the Hoosiers might see another true freshman— Nate Sudfeld, who graduated from high school early to join the team in May — get starting time this season. “When you’re a 1-11 football team, there’s no job safety [for Roberson],” Wilson said.
Michigan — head coach Brady Hoke
- Running back Fitz Toussaint was suspended on July 21 after being arrested on a DUI charge. Defensive end Frank Clark was also suspended on June 19 on theft charges. Hoke said the two Wolverines are indefinitely suspended and will not play in the team’s season-opener against defending-national champion Alabama.
Michigan State — head coach Mark Dantonio
- Dantonio was clear that the Spartans are looking for a Rose Bowl trophy before setting their eyes on a national title.
- Dantonio said former quarterback Kirk Cousins’ graduation has left a “void in the leadership,” on the field and in the locker room. But Michigan State’s new quarterback, Andrew Maxwell, studied under Cousins for three years and is expected to undertake the burden of leader well.
Minnesota — head coach Jerry Kill
- The Gophers have eight returning offensive lineman, and each lineman on the roster has gained 15 to 20 pounds during the offseason.
- Kill said quarterback MarQueis Gray will be better supported by receivers and running backs on the other end of passes and plays.
Nebraska — head coach Bo Pelini
- The Cornhuskers lost three key defensive leaders, but Pelini said he thinks his squad has a “solid front seven coming back,” with talented underclassmen to fill in behind them.
- Pelini said quarterback Taylor Martinez has made significant improvements since stepping on the field as a freshman, and he believes the junior is more than capable of leading the Huskers.
Northwestern — head coach Pat Fitzgerald
- Fitzgerald said he is confident in both Kain Colter and Trevor Siemain coming in to fill the QB spot. Fitzgerald did not address whether the pair will be splitting snaps this season.
- The Wildcats gave up too many yards on the ground, Fitzgerald said, but he believes defensive leaders Tyler Scott, Quentin Williams, and Brian Amfelt can improve the team’s run defense.
Ohio State — head coach Urban Meyer
- This is Meyer’s first year with the Buckeyes, following the implementation of a one-year bowl ban after players were caught violating NCAA rules when they received more than $14,000 in free tattoos, jewelry, and other benefits.
- Meyer said eight conference teams are running a spread offense this season, but he feels he has experience in defending them after coaching Florida in the SEC.
- Tight end Jake Stoneburner and defensive tackle Jack Mewhort pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct on June 13 after being charged with obstructing official business. Meyer revoked their scholarships in May and said the two haven’t been reinstated yet and have been paying for summer school themselves.
Penn State — head coach Bill O’Brien
- O’Brien faces the challenge of hefty NCAA sanctions in his first year with the Nittany Lions, especially because his players have been given the opportunity to pursue other schools. But O’Brien said no Nittany Lions have informed him yet of intentions of transfer.
- O’Brien said the primary challenge regarding the sanctions will be to keep the 2012 squad whole, but believes he won’t struggle too much with the reduction of scholarships down to 65.
Purdue — head coach Danny Hope
- Hope said that for the first time during his Boilermaker tenure, Purdue “potentially has a very good football team coming back.”
- Three players are competing for a quarterback spot, Hope said. 2011 starter Caleb TerBush didn’t throw an interception for the Boilermakers’ last four games and completed 62 percent of his passes. But a recovered Robert Marve and Rob Henry, who are both coming off knee injuries, will challenge TerBush.
Wisconsin — head coach Bret Bielema
- Bielema said he believes running back Montee Ball is a strong Heisman candidate and that all the Badgers will support the running back and help him win the trophy.
- Danny O’Brien transferred to Wisconsin after finishing his degree in three years at Maryland. Bielema said the new QB fits well with his team.
- Offensive lineman Casey Dehn left the team this week, which will pose a challenge to the Badgers’ right line. Bielema said the difficulty would be finding the right combinations of guards and tackles to rearrange the depth chart.
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