Thursday, September 19, 2013
Big Ten lunchtime links
By Austin Ward
Unlike in Cleveland, there are no white flags waving here in September.
Given the choice between two of Michigan's rivals, Brady Hoke knows who he is cheering for when Michigan State takes on Notre Dame. The Wolverines are looking to "redeem themselves" with a primetime audience watching on Saturday night.
Connor Cook is getting the majority of the work leading Michigan State's offense at quarterback, but there are still four guys in the mix at the position. The Spartans have struggled defensively over the last couple games with Notre Dame.
Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson's injured hamstring hasn't fully healed yet, so Mitch Leidner is in line for more work on Saturday against San Jose State. The Gophers will have their hands full defensively against David Fales, one of the most efficient passers in the nation.
Taylor Richards is grading out well with the coaches and earning praise from him teammates, and Purdue can certainly use his playmaking ability on defense. The Boilermakers have played some "Jump Around" at practice and are working on their communication to prepare for the noise at Wisconsin.
Freshman cornerback Matt Harris is turning heads on the practice field for Northwestern, and he's making a bid for more playing time, perhaps even a starting role. The secondary is still making some plays either way, and safety Ibraheim Campbell has an impressive streak going.
Tim Beckman has broken the season into quarters, and the first one was a measured success for Illinois. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is taking some of the blame for sack issues early in the season.
Big plays from receiver Jeff Duckworth have earned him a legendary nickname from Wisconsin. The Badgers are seeing quarterback Joel Stave improving every game, even though he only put up average passing numbers last weekend.
The Nebraska administration, with an assist from Tom Osborne, has helped the program avoid a potentially nasty turn in the Bo Pelini saga, writes Steven M. Sipple. On the field, Huskers assistants are still trying to make adjustments on both sides of the ball.
Cornerback Jordan Lucas and the Penn State defense have something to prove coming off a rocky outing against Central Florida. Like growing long hair, allowing an offensive line to come together takes time, according to right tackle Adam Gress.
Forget about the nickel and dime, Ohio State's "penny" defense is its answer for spread offenses thanks to depth in the secondary. Braxton Miller was on the practice field on Wednesday and is likely to play a limited role against Florida A&M, but defensive end Adolphus Washington will miss a second consecutive game with a groin injury.
Mark Weisman is carrying the football at a record pace for Iowa, and his body is handling the workload just fine. The Hawkeyes are gearing up for a big test in the secondary from Western Michigan.