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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Springtime for Gridsters


ESPN took a few minutes away from covering Barry Bonds' thrilling chase of Babe Ruth's All Time Career Second Place Home Run Record to publish this thorough and interesting Spring Recap of Big Ten football teams.

Below are some notable points from it:

Illinois-The Illini return 20 of 22 starters. Is that a good or bad thing for U of I fans?

Indiana-UConn visits the Hoosiers on September 23. Unfortunately the teams will not be playing basketball.

Iowa-One of the Hawkeyes top receivers is named Herb Grigsby, who must be the only 51-year-old insurance salesman playing Division I college football.

Michigan- My favorite line from the entire report: "However, the attitude of the defense should be noted. The players can't stop talking about how much more intense and physical the practices have become under English, whose motivational tactics seem to have sparked a desire to attack the ball and force more turnovers."

Michigan State-Juco transfer Nehemiah Warrick is slated to start at safety. He's the cousin of former Heisman Trophy winner All-American WR and NFL washout Peter Warrick.

Minnesota-Gary Russell, whose attempt to run out the clock at the end of regulation in last year's Michigan game resulted in a 61-yard dash to set up the winning field goal, is currently in junior college trying to become academically eligible to play in 2006.

Northwestern-I couldn't believe departing LB Tim McGarigle (who was just drafted in the seventh round by the Rams) is the NCAA's all-time leading tackler.

tOSU-My second favorite line from the entire report: "The back seven on defense didn't just get hit hard by graduation and early departures--it got driven into the ground with a sledgehammer. All seven starters--not to mention a pair of starting ends up front -- are gone off what was a dominating unit. Yes, it's Ohio State. Yes, there's plenty of talent waiting in the wings. But nine starters are still nine starters..."

Penn State-Dangerous all-purpose weapon QB? Gone. Top D-Lineman? Gone. Entire defensive backfield? Gone. Chances that the Nittany Lions will come within shouting distance of 7-4? Gone. Should have quit while you were ahead, JoePa.

Purdue-Next to JoePa, Joe Tiller is my best bet to have a sideline and/or press conference meltdown this year.

Wisconsin-New head coach Brett Bielema may need Brigid Mullin to suit up, because it appears the Badgers have some major needs to address.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay, I don't get it, explain it to me. Why do you refer to OSU as tOSU?

Dezzi13 said...

anonymous

because it is "THE" Ohio State University.

Anonymous said...

Ohio State's defense will be fine this year. And come November 18th Henne, Hart etc. will see just how good they are.

Anonymous said...

the 'sledgehammer' referrence is a telling one - actually more of a good description of just how good tOSU's 'D' will be over the next few years.

lean gene said...

Peter Warrick never won the Heisman, although he was awarded the heistman award for the Footlocker fiasco.

IC said...

Lean Gene:

Thanks for catching my mistake--Warrick finished 6th in the Heisman Voting in 1999.

I've got to find better research interns!

IC said...

Anons (6:00 and 6:38):

tOSU's defense probably will be fine this year and very well might be sledgehammer-like in the next few years.

But as the ESPN piece points out--nine starters is nine starters. And these weren't just any starters; most of them were high draft picks. Their replacements may step right in and be dominant. Or, like most inexperienced newcomers, they will have some growing pains and inconsistency.

Anonymous said...

IC,
Thank God the Michigan game is always last. Love that rivalry and I hope both are undefeated this year going in. Both need to overcome hurdles and they will before that last game. I hope Carr is still the same "too conservative until too late" coach he has been.

Anonymous said...

ic:


These 'newcomers' are hardly inexperienced. All have seen significant playing time in games against Michigan and ND among others.

This defense will be fine. What UM fans really should worry about is the offense.

Ultra-cocky unoriginal asswipe said...

I've been waiting for JoePa's total meltdown for a couple years. Last year he seemed a bit calmer. Must have had a meeting with the powers-that-be or, the power of Prozac.

Hey, IC, is that stain on your intern's dress?

thetalisman

Anonymous said...

Awwwwwww, Talis! You've decided to embrace your true inner being!!! Don't worry, only 10 more Steps to go and YOU TOO will become a true Buckeye.

Keep up the fine work, brotha. (lol)

Anonymous said...

No mention of PSU returning the best linebacking corps in the nation?

No mention of PSU returning the best group of young wideouts in the Big Ten?

No mention of Tony Hunt and Austin Scott? Keep in mind Scott did jack up until the Orange Bowl and than went for over 100 yards and had 2 TD's against Florida State's defense.

Anything less than 9-3 is unacceptable. The only three games Penn State has any business losing are ND, tOSU and UM.

ultra-cocky unoriginal asswipe said...

Hey, Anon, are these are the 10 steps I have left?

1) Key a UM fan's car
2) Drop "F" bombs whenever tOSU is assailed, even if the comments are defensible
3) Burn a couch, roll a car, get real drunk at the local bar
4) Make up stupid rhymes like #3, thinking they're cute
5) Spit and curse at women over 50 who wear anything indicating that they might not foster an intense hatred for all things UM
6) Tell people that all UM graduates are either whores or football players
7) When my boss tells me that his wife graduated from UM, ask him what position she played
8) Brag about my lineage, even if my family tree has no branches
9) Engage in scholarly debates over which is higher: my IQ or the number of teeth I have left
10) When women ask to see my "woody", pull out a faded picture of coach Hayes.

Could be a long journey for me.

TheTalisman

IC said...

Anon 7:35:

The new Buckeye defensive starters may be great, but they are inexperienced.

I suspect that none of them have started a game. Filling in for a few plays--even in big games--will help them adjust, but it will not allow them to match the performances of the highly-experienced, best-in-the-nation-level (based on their draft position) players such as Hawk, Carpenter, and Whitner.

IC said...

Anon 7:34:

I agree that both Michigan and Ohio State have interesting challenges and opportunities this year (M-new coordinators and overcoming bad 2005 season; tOSU-replacing almost entire defense and living up to high preseason expectations).

The ESPN Spring Recap linked in this post reenforce my belief that the Nov. 18 M-tOSU game in Columbus will determine the Big Ten champion.

Thanks for your comments.

IC said...

Talisman:

Re. "Hey, IC, is that stain on your intern's dress?"

That depends on what your definition of is, is.

Actually, I've been trying all day to find out who is the Linda Tripp of the MZone. At first I suspected Wangs, but Benny has been acting very skittish around me...

IC said...

PSU Anon:

One problem with your claim of having "the best linebacking corps in the nation" is that three of the linemen in front of them and all four of the DBs behind them are no longer in Happy Valley.

Another problem is that--as I'm sure you know-- the best Nittany Lion LB, Paul Posluszny, suffered a serious knee injury in the Orange Bowl. From what I have read, he has been very limited all Spring.

Penn State had an awesome 2005 season. To win the Big Ten and come literally within one play of an undefeated year was pretty amazing. But it seems that they are heading for a hard landing in 2006.