CHICAGO -- Big Ten Media Day featured podium time from each of the 14 Big Ten coaches on Monday. Here's the most interesting thing that each of the other 13 coaches had to say.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald on the certainty of the quarterback position: Looking at 2014, we've got 18 returning starters. A quarterback in Trevor Siemian that's going to be going back to the way it was my first seven years as a head coach or six years as the head coach with knowing who our quarterback is going into fall camp.
He's thrown for going on 3500 yards and 20 touchdowns. That's more than (Dan) Persa and (Mike) Kafka had going into their senior years. To have that kind of experience at the quarterback position hopefully will be a great jolt for our offense that we all know as Wildcats need to improve.
Purdue coach Darrell Hazell on how to make this year's team different from the previous season:I want to make sure that our team comes out and competes in game one to get us off on the right foot. Without putting out too much, I think it's very important to understand that we're a different football team than what we were last year.
Every year is its own separate entity. And until you understand that, whether you are a great football team last year or whether you are a poor football team last year, each year takes on its own little role. And we got to make sure we separate ourselves from last year's role and move forward.
Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen on the quarterback battle: Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy will come in and split the reps. Those first four practices when we're split, obviously one's going to be a 1 in the morning and one will be a 1 in the afternoon. D.J. Gillins will be in the middle of that argument also as he comes in as a freshman, but he will not get as many reps as the first -- those first two young men.
It's going to be interesting to watch. It was a great competitive battle in spring as even though Joel was very limited; I think in the summer, has continued to grow. The kids are handling it very well amongst themselves and they're also handling it very well amongst the team.
As far as a timeline, I really have no timeline. I've been through this a few times in my career and it will all settle out just like every position battle does.
Illinois coach Tim Beckman on replacing Nathan Scheelhaase: Nathan was an outstanding football player for us, and will always be missed. He's a record-setter and a great human being. But I think that our maturity of our offensive line, having four guys back that have played a lot of football together has been -- the spring, we really didn't have issues with that.
Coach Cubit does put a lot in the hands of our quarterbacks, making adjustments on the line of scrimmage. So the communication is very, very important from a quarterback to the offensive line.
But again, I think through the maturity level of the four starters that we have back on the offensive line, we had very few mistakes throughout spring and those guys continue to work by themselves this summer. So we don't have those type of mistakes.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke on who will start along the offensive line: I think we'll start camp with a lineup that we've come out of spring with, and that will be based some things on what has been done during the course of the summer and when you see the work ethic and all those things, but a lot of it will be based on coming out spring football obviously.
So we'll go through that lineup, but at the same time what will change it up every day a little bit to see where the pieces fit. But I wouldn't say --take two weeks maybe at the most.
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood on the move to the Big Ten: When you talk about the premier academic conference and then the school that has the academic tradition that Rutgers does, it was really our first choice. But if you think back to that time, it was a little bit like musical chairs, but there weren't enough chairs for everybody. So certainly we were excited to be in one of the premier conferences.
From a football standpoint, our program has always been about winning championships. That's our first goal. And since becoming the head coach I've tried to schedule very aggressively. In my first year we scheduled a home and home at an SEC school. We were fortunate to go on the road and win, and they were fortunate to win when they came to our place.
So I don't know that that much has changed from a football perspective. Certainly we've got a lot of respect for the programs here in the Big Ten, but again, we've played good football for a long time here at Rutgers.
Minnesota coach Jerry Kill on the next step for the program: I think there's no question we want to continue to improve on what we did last year. And we won eight games, and I think anytime you go into the Big Ten and if you don't have a mission to win the Big Ten, then why play?
And I think our kids, they're like anybody else. It's a new season and that's our mission statement, and the same way last year, but we have to build on what we did a year ago and continue to make progress.
And that's part of having a team that is hungry to play, and as I said starving right now. And I think in the offseason -- we don't have a lot of mottos. Some places, you go all over, they have a whole bunch of mottos. But my whole life, and anybody I've ever coached, is work hard. That's the key to success, work hard.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio on adjusting to new attention: I think the Big Ten Conference, you've always got attention coming your way. And it's what you do with that and how you handle that. So what we've tried to talk about, really, is how do we handle success now. We've had success. We've gotten to a point where we've done some special things. What's on our agenda next, how do we handle that success, and that's really going to be one of the biggest things we'll have to deal with this year.
I think we're a little bit more of the hunted. That's a good place to be, but it's also a very precarious place to be as well.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini on the quarterback competition: Now that you mentioned Johnny Stanton and you mentioned Tommy Armstrong, there's also a walk-on young man, Ryker Fyfe, who I think will have a little bit to say about who our starting quarterback is.
And I would say because of his starting experience, I would say Tommy has a little bit of a leg up going in. But Johnny Stanton and Ryker Fyfe are tremendous talents, the kids who did very well in the spring.
I think it's going to be an open competition. Like I said, I think when we line up day one, it will be Tommy will walk out there take the first snap. Because he has the most experience. He kind of earned that right through the spring. But I think the competition is, gosh, very good. I think it's going to make all three of those guys better.
And like I tell our guys at every single position, nobody has a guaranteed spot ever, and you gotta put it on film every day. You've got to go out there, compete on a daily basis and work hard. And when you have that attitude, that makes everybody around you better. And that's going to make them better.
Maryland coach Randy Edsall on the transition to a new conference: I've been involved with this quite a few times in my career, having gone to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the expansion team, going into the league there as an assistant coach, and then also made the jump from 1-AA to the Big East.
So again, the biggest focus I think that we've had to have for us making this move is really just finding out who the other teams are and studying what they do, but also what we have to do is make sure that we continue to do what we do and continue to make sure that we get better.
So that's been our whole focus is continuing to work on making ourselves better and enhancing what we do, but getting an understanding and getting a feel for all the teams in this outstanding league. And I think we've done a good job with that throughout the spring and summer.
Penn State coach James Franklin on the youth on the offensive line: We have some challenges up front, there's no doubt about it. I think we got a great offensive line coach in Herb Hand. I think our offensive coordinator, John Donovan, over the last couple of years, has learned how to call the game, like we all have to hide some deficiencies or things that you're trying to overcome
I think that's a big part of coaching. Very little -- there's not too many times as coaches that you're in a position where you can just always call the game when you're trying to attack your opponent. Sometimes you have to spend a lot of time trying to devise game plans to hide your deficiencies, and our issue isn't really talent, it's inexperience, and we're going to have to work on that. That's going to be very, very important.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz on hyped offensive lineman Brandon Scherff: The first thing I would say is he's a lot like some of the other great players that we've had. And that's a very complimentary term. First guy that comes to mind is Marshal Yanda who's a three-time Pro Bowl guy and three-time All-Pro. And the first thing I think about with Marshal is just his enthusiasm and his eagerness to improve and work hard, and that certainly would sum up Brandon as well.
We've had a lot of outstanding players over the last 15 years, linemen that have come through. And I think Brandon really embodies a lot of the best qualities of all those guys, and certainly he's got some physical characteristics that are just highly unusual, quite frankly. So it's a great attitude with a good skill set.
I think the thing we're all excited about more than any is the fact that we all believe he can improve and be a much better player this year than he was a year ago.