Thoughts and Takeaways: Big Ten Media Days

PW's early thoughts from Big Ten Media Days in Chicago...

— Find any player in FBS more modest than Tyler Scott. The odds-on favorite to win the Big Ten sack title raved about the rest of NU's defensive line. Despite losing Quentin Williams and Brian Arnfelt, Scott pointed to several players who could fill in admirably. The most intriguing name he floated: Greg Kuhar. The redshirt freshman struggled with injuries at times, but when healthy, I've heard glowing reviews from players and evaluators alike. Expect Coach Fitzgerald to wear him in this season. I bet he'll make an impact for Northwestern sooner rather than later.

Pat Fitzgerald looked better than ever. I know he acquits himself well at every possible opportunity, but the head coach delivered his quips and messages with special vigor. You don't need any psychoanalysts to see when coaches grow stressed or enervated. Midway through last season, Fitzgerald–for good reason–lacked some of that contagious optimism. They never quite nailed down the "little things" that closed out tight ballgames. But the attitude right now, as with everything else, begins with Fitzgerald and his poise. It was another terrific showing from him.

— The best line from Fitzgerald arguably came when he discussed disciplining players. He joked that he's not afraid to call players out, and that he can "repent for his sins" later. Fitzgerald said he refuses to censure guys after bad football plays, but only steps in when there's a perceived lack of effort. On the practice field, he said that three-interception performances could even be construed as positives. Though the media can jump to criticize players in practice reports, usually these mistakes translate to improvement.

— The media should also receive praise, in my opinion, for not blowing up a debatable comment from Venric Mark. He called Kain Colter the "starting quarterback" and praised Trevor Siemian for his role. What this meant, in all likelihood, carries very little significance. In the past, Colter has started the game under center, obviously. But that was certainly an opportunity for writers to take the quotation out of context. They didn't.

— Kain Colter spoke about his thoughts on the O'Bannon lawsuit in a radio interview.

— appears set for another creative feature. Jeff Budzien (for Groza) conducted a mock interview of Tyler Scott, which included the gem: "I hear your favorite part of the game is extra points." I'm generally a fan of this campaign, a considerable improvement over the ill-fated and highly publicized "PersaStrong." This one is entirely unpretentious, and hopefully, the kicker can back it up.

More to come, of course, from coverage of Big Ten Media Day.

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