Hitting the Links Remembers the Alamo
Thamel, who broke the story officially, spoke to BTN's Dave Revsine about the process that unfolded. The official introductory press conference will happen today at 11 AM.
Pruitt has been building a reputation as a terrific, yet abrasive, and even slightly toxic coordinator the last few years. How high or low he might be on Jim Harbaugh's list is anyone's guess. For whatever this bit is worth, many players have supported him, sometimes even more than Richt.
We brought the Junkyard D back. Aggressive, feisty, and tenacious. We got that attitude from our coach #KeepPruitt— Dabb'in Bellamy (@DavinBellamy17) November 30, 2015
Come on now pic.twitter.com/M6tsX5IgtT— L8F4➰➰ (@Floyd_XXXking) November 30, 2015
Four-time winner. If I correctly remember everything I said twelve months ago, I think I need to eat a hat.
The Big Ten's most prestigious and classic award - similar to the Heisman - has come out, and Minnesota's Peter Mortell has been given the honor. Congrats to him on a great year.
(Meanwhile, a true competitor has answered the call. Christian Salem has called himself the Holder of the Century. Congratulations to him as well.)
The tarot cards see two very talented running backs and a great front seven. Sounds Big Ten to me.
Four Spartans, three Buckeyes, and two Wolverines. One Hoosier. One Hawkeye guard. The media selections are a bit different: Alex Erickson instead of Jehu Chesson, and Indiana guard Dan Feeney instead of Iowa's Jordan Walsh.
There are two trains of thought here - one is that this parting was mutual, as the staff has alluded to someone in the media. The other is that Tracy Claeys is trying to save face while losing a four-star recruit.
Having watched film of both Sean Foster and Tony Poljan, it does seem like the staff is changing the direction of the offense - and the passing game specifically. Tony Poljan is a 6'6", 230-pound athlete with Mitch Leidner deficiencies at quarterback. Nebraska, and I'm sure some others, have offered him as a tight end instead, and that might be a better move for the young man. Minnesota had not proven with now ex-offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover that it could develop athletes into quarterbacks.
Meanwhile, Sean Foster, who's the big story here because he's a four-star, is simply a massive man at 6'8", 285 pounds, whose length and weight would infer a future at tackle. However, he's not the lightest on his feet or particularly quick off the snap. You can hide those deficiencies in a strictly ground-and-pound offense, but the notion that Claeys is going in another direction seems consistent with his other moves.
My assumption here is that Claeys wants a more traditional, developed passing game, with tackles who can hold off pass rushers for a second or two longer and a quarterback who can handle complex route trees. Some Minnesota natives are worried about these recent moves, but what is undeniable is that Claeys is attacking what has been Minnesota's glaring weakness: the passing game.
Old connections at Toledo come back to hurt Illinois. Illinois also learned it will lose linebackers coach Mike Ward while a running back (Kendrick Foster) will transfer. With some very unhappy fans around Champaign, it's been a rough week. If Cubit were media savvy at all, now would be the time to help carve the narrative and reassure fans. Finding a good recruiting coordinator would help too.
Scott Frost, who went 22-2 as Nebraska's starting quarterback in 1996 and '97, has heard his name a lot for job openings since taking over the role of Oregon's offensive coordinator. Now, we know his next stop: UCF, which went 0-12 this year.
I'm glad to see Rutgers is making an effort to be competitive. In fact, a lot of teams have done a good job this year with their coaching searches - from Maryland with D.J. Durkin, to Miami and Mark Richt, to Georgia to USC to Houston. We'll see if Rutgers, now the last kid on the block as far as Big Ten schools go, can follow suit.
Jones is a smooth mover for 6'4", 325 pounds. He's likened himself to a bigger version of J.J. Watt - an all-around athletic big guy. He'll surely give Michigan some problems down the road.
The Big Ten will be losing Nate Sudfeld and Connor Cook, not to mention Jake Rudock, Joel Stave, Braxton Miller, and Cardale Jones. But with plenty QB's returning, and a few intriguing young talents like Wisconsin's D.J. Gillins and Penn State's Tommy Stevens - next year could be another successful year.
An issue when he returns - assuming he does, which is likely - is the young offensive line of Wisconsin. Clement has the ability to work 'in the dark,' so to speak - bouncing plays out of their designed holes and working around defensive penetration. But regardless, the line has to improve for him to have a first-round-worthy year. As Owen Riese writes, UW's line is doing just that.
Leadership can be a vague thing to judge, but it seems like Beathard has been at the core of a lot of Iowa's success.
Offensive linemen are something I'll discuss more in the off-season (you can't beat that teaser), but from what I've seen, I am not convinced this is the right selection. Decker is certainly very mobile for a big guy, with good feet and the ability to hit well on the run. As a result, Ohio State has geared a fair amount of their offense to him, leaking him into the second level a lot of times. But he also probably isn't the best lineman on Ohio State's roster, let alone in the Big Ten - that honor would be right guard Pat Elflein.
So many gifs.
FOX Sports has the layman's summary of Big Ten football in 2015. Still a pretty enjoyable read.
The energy of #8, for just a field goal, is incredible. Don't scroll down to #1; you know what it is.