By now we all know the changes at Northwestern - Running back/Wide Receiver Jeff Backes is trying his team leading speed out at Cornerback, maybe not as crazy as it sounds - he was originally recruited by some schools as a corner - he had 7 picks his senior year of HS.
Another change is that MLB Pat Durr, who is rehabbing from an ACL injury last year, may actually get into the practices now.
Other than that, College Football News has their watch list for players returning in 2003 - RB Jason Wright is on the list, and ranked 122 in the top 150. He's also one of the top RB and #2 in All Purpose running & Return with 28.5 ypc. Backes is also on the list with 26.
QB Bret Basanez is the the top Big 10 QB on the list in Total Offense and ranks right behind John Navarre of Michigan in passing. NU Coach Randy Walker hinted that backups Alexander Webb and Derell Jenkins may also see game action in other positions.
Punter Brian Huffman is also on the list.
Drills for the Wildcats start April 1st at 4 PM. You'll find the Cats on the field every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with a Friday workout on the 4th and a Wednesday practice on the 16th. Practices on the 22nd thru the 25th are closed and the spring game is April 26th.
I wasn't overly pleased with the focus today - Ron Turner's reaction as the Illini returned to practice after spring break and things went downhill.Indiana
Backup QB Chris Pazan may be working with Starter Jon Beutjer in the film room, but he's now joined Senior Dustin Ward in the trainer's room as he's nursing a knee injury.
Many of the team stayed in Champaign over Spring Break, but they apparently came back a bit rusty and practiced for 3 hours yesterday.
Indiana got their 2003 season going with a helmets and shorts workout outside.Iowa
Most of the Hoosiers' skill position players are back , making for an easier sprint, but players are rusty, and apparently it showed a few times. The team is deepest at running back - there are 3 returning - Brian Lewis, Yamar Washington and Chris Taylor. Lewis and Washington apparently were impressive during the drills. Indiana also signed 2 top running back prospects in February.
Indiana is a little short-handed, they will start the fall with only 69 scholarship players. That includes the 24 freshmen who are not working out yet this spring.
A few positions shifts: 10 game starter, Junior LB Herana-Daze Jones was shifted to strong safety. Soph Courtney Clency and RS Frosh Tyrone Allen moved to CB and Jr. Patrick Thompson moved from WR to TE.
Starting CB Damien Jones hurt his knee Sunday - he says he'll be back soon. DT Russ Richardson and RB Chris Taylor also missed practice on Tuesday. The injuries gave a few RS Frosh a shot at playing with the first team.
Last year, much was made over the teams inability to pass coach Gary DiNardo's conditioning test - only 10% made it. This year almost 70% made the grade.
and how good was the practice, Coach?It's just you can't really evaluate a contact sport without contact. But I was pleased.The $700,000 renovations to the practice fields are about done.
Iowa expects to have to lean on their defense this year, after most of the O-Line graduated. But there are questions over starters, etc. to work out this spring.Ohio State
Otherwise, things are very quiet at Iowa.
They're talking re-evaluation time at the Ohio State. Spring Drills don't start until Thursday and they're closed to the public, but Coach Tressell is working over the lineups to answer a few questions...Purdue
Bucknuts was asking about cornerback, what about all the Redshirt Freshmen, New QBs to play backup, Middle Linebacker, and other position changes...all info is being held closely by the OSU staff.
Three Bucks will be out of practice - Darrion Scott, Simon Fraser and Shane Olivea. Another big question is how is Maurice Clarett's shoulder.
Purdue joins the rest of the Big 10 on the practice field this Wednesday.Wisconsin
The Boilers only lost 5 starters last Fall, so its not a big evaluation period for Joe Tiller, but 5 likely starters, seniors Stuart Schweigert, Landon Johnson, Kevin Nesfield, John Standeford and Anthony Chambers are all not expected to see much action this spring. As many as 16 players didn't even participate in the winter conditioning.
Two big questions for Purdue - Quarterback and Kicking. Jr. Kyle Orton is the odds on favorite to continue as #1, but his shakey play during the season last year leaves a small opening for soph Brandon Kirsch. As for the kicking game, Sr. Berin Lacevic had an uneven season place kicking for Purdue - he'll be challenged by 2 transfers. Sr. Punter Brent Slaton should remain as the punter
Add 4 new coaches: WRs, D-Backs, O-Line and Running Backs will all have new mentors, altho Tiller isn't concerned about them working into the program.
This was coaches' clinic weekend at Badgerland.Nothing much out of Michigan, MSU, or Penn State this week.
They got to watch Wisconsin go to a 4 wideout set at times, using Jonathan Orr, Darrin Charles, Brandon White and Brandon Williams. Remember that Wisconsin is not practicing Lee Evans so its possible that you may see a 5 WR set at times up in Madison this year.
Yes, Alvarez is going to run more spread plays using Junior QB Jim Sorgi who is apparently settled in as the #1. Sorgi has apparently bulked up a bit and plans to set his own mark on the Wisky QB legend. Possibly challenging Sorgi is redshirt Frosh John Stocco, but he has to get past Jr. Matt Schabert and So Devin Hollins. This spring might be the time to get a good QB battle going in Madison.
Wisconsin will also return 3 defensive backfield players this fall.
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