The Big Ten saved the best for last in their media days this week as Ohio State coach Ryan Day closed the marathon of preseason talks on Friday at the same location he hopes his team will close the season. With the National College Football Playoff Championship also scheduled for Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Buckeyes could become even more familiar with the venue.
Ohio State is the unanimous favorite to win the Big Ten for a fifth straight season, which would require a victory in the league title game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 4, and is among the overwhelming favorites to return to the game for the CFP title after losing to Alabama in last season’s championship game. But if they are to achieve those goals, the Buckeyes will have to click early. A game in Minnesota and a visit to Oregon looms first on the Buckeyes’ schedule, posing a challenge for a program that will appear in a quarterback who has yet to attempt a pass to the university.
Here are the best takeaways from OSU’s appearance as well as the appearances of six other Friday league challengers at Big Ten Media Days.
Ryan Day targets NIL in actions
With Ohio State’s prominent national position, some Buckeyes should be in a good position to capitalize on new rules that allow players to take advantage of their name, image and likeness. For example, Day noted that last year’s projections focused on the earning potential of former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields “were big numbers.” But with NIL opportunities just starting to materialize, Day looked to the future a bit on Friday to suggest he might prefer a system where all players – not just quarterbacks and other highly visible players – can capitalize on the new rules.
“When you combine the Ohio State brand, you combine the city of Columbus with our social media presence, it’s like the perfect alignment,” Day said. “So the opportunity for our guys will be different than anywhere else in the country. However, how do we find ways to make sure we get that out across the team, because there are a lot of guys playing football as well. There are the guys who block for the quarterback, there are the guys who cover wide receivers. And while it’s tricky and I don’t really have the answer, I know there must be some sort of formula on the road that we can envision. “
Rutgers accumulates recruits
A glance at the top 15 recruiting rankings for the 247Sports team for the 2022 cycle reads mostly like a list of traditional college football powers, as most of the usual suspects have started compiling their annual prospect runs. first class. But there’s one notable reveler hanging out in the middle of the squad as Rutgers’ class ranks No.12 nationally with a 15-party squad that includes five four-star prospects.
For a program coming off a sixth consecutive losing season, the recruiting momentum is a major win as Greg Schiano enters the second season of his second stint with the Scarlet Knights after leading the program to some of his best years between. 2001 and 2011.
“Being in the New York metro area, playing football at a big college institution, that’s why you shouldn’t go there? Not why you should. And I believe it,” Schiano said. “So it’s easy for me to go out and share that with the kids and our families. It’s easy for our coaching staff to do. I think when you look at our staff, these are people who really believe in Rutgers. and what it is and where we are headed. “
Mel Tucker’s state of mind in the NFL
Few programs have been as heavily loaded with transfers as the state of Michigan, which draws 15 players through the portal, according to the Big Ten Network. Among them are potential holders of skill positions in former Temple quarterback Anthony Russo and former Wake Forest running back Kenneth Walker III. Team turnover has been an eye-catcher in Mel Tucker’s first full offseason as a coach. But the longtime former NFL aide shed some light on his take on modern roster dynamics after a 2-5 debut campaign that included wins over Michigan and the Northwest.
“Absolutely, we want to move up the high school ranks,” Tucker told the Big Ten Network. “However, based on my experience in the NFL and 10 years in the league, you build throughout the draft but you complete your team in free agency. We take the same approach at Michigan State. We put in place. our personnel department in the same way. We have people watching the portal and the colleges, and then we have people watching the high school ranks. This has been an advantage for us. We are going to be aggressive in the portal. We looking for guys who are the right fit for us, for our program, for our culture. We’re going to build a football team that way. “
Indiana’s “hunting” motto
Indiana had a breakthrough season last year in Tom Allen’s fourth season as a coach as the Hoosiers finished 6-2, moving up to 7th in the Top 25 AP and finishing 12th for their highest final ranking since 1967. But even after landmark wins over Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin, Allen on Friday highlighted a moment that came after a loss as one of the most influential of the year. record. The Hoosiers’ lone loss in the regular season was overwhelming, as they lost 42-35 to Ohio State after rallying to a 35-7 deficit. Allen praised his team for their character and their refusal to step down in a speech that has gone viral online.
“I didn’t want to leave this locker room without these guys hearing from me,” Allen said on Friday. “I knew we had a long trip home. I wanted them to hear from me what I thought of them, and I wanted them to understand how we should use this opportunity to grow and allow us to continue to. building that schedule. was definitely, it could have been as important a moment in the 2020 season as any other time in this dressing room after that harsh loss. “
The Indiana-Ohio State rematch is scheduled for Oct. 23 this season, and after Friday it seems safe to say the Hoosiers are eagerly awaiting the game.
“They are the gold standard and that’s what we’re chasing,” Allen said. “And our only word for 2021 is hunt, and we try to pursue that greatness every day. You think about this game and you often think about the post-game and the comments that are being made and as I shared my heart with our team that I hadn’t even thought about or realized were filming it, but at the same time it’s a lot of times when you have those kind of setbacks and you learn a lot about yourself, and I have it. feeling like adversity is where we really become who we are. “
Veteran QB in the West
The Big Ten West favorites made their appearance on Friday, and while neither Wisconsin nor Iowa brought their quarterbacks to the event, both should feel good about their position. Graham Mertz of Wisconsin and Spencer Petras of Iowa each had their first starting experience last season.
While Mertz started strong with a 20 of 21 effort, five touchdowns against Illinois, he struggled as the season wore on. Petras started off slow but found his rhythm as the Hawkeyes won six straight games to close the season.
“He’s done some really good things and has areas where he can improve,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said of Mertz. “What I like about Graham is that he sees this and recognizes it.”
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz pointed to a late season win in Illinois as an inflection point for Petras, who struggled early on before leading the Hawkeyes to a comeback victory 35 -21.
“I think it was a great learning experience for him and I think it was also very revealing in terms of wiring and construction,” Ferentz said. “He’s a really resilient guy, a tough-minded guy, extremely conscientious. So as a coach when you see things like that it really gives you confidence.”
Purdue’s new defensive overhaul
It’s no secret that Jeff Brohm is an offensive guy, but the fifth-year Purdue coach is looking for defensive gains this season as he rocked his defensive team by bringing in Brad Lambert from Marshall to set up a system. 4-3 after the move of Bob Diaco. the Boilermakers at a 3-4 last season. Lambert will technically be one of the three defensive co-coordinators of the staff along with his fellow first year assistant Ron English and second year assistant Mark Hagen. With Brohm also saying he wants to spend more time on defense, that side of the ball should get a lot of attention at Purdue this season after Rutgers and Nebraska scored 37 points each on the Boilermakers to close last season.
“The three guys have invaluable experience, and I really felt like we wanted to build a room where we had so much experience and how we could possibly set it up, where they were willing to work together, they were willing to have a little fun with it, try different things and be able to work as a team to achieve it, ”said Brohm.“ So I love our room, they are great people, they work extremely hard. Now we have to go out and prove ourselves. “