Big Ten Media Days Notebook

The annual Big Ten media days in Chicago were once again a treasure trove of information. With members of the press from several states in town for the event, there was no shortage of interesting quotes and nuggets of information. Read on to catch up with what went down in the Second City.

Michael Brewster did not even know it had been said until he heard the quote referenced by Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema Thursday during the Big Ten media days in Chicago.

The quote in question came from former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor a week after the then-No. 1 Buckeyes lost at Camp Randall Stadium to the Badgers in an October night game. Pryor called the 31-18 loss to the Badgers a fluke after beating Purdue a week later, adding that Ohio State would win the game nine times out of 10. Bielema said Wisconsin wanted to play Pryor again and show it was not a fluke.

Brewster was asked by a Wisconsin reporter if he agreed with Pryor's assessment and what he thought of the comment.

"Did I agree with him? No," Brewster responded. "I think they got off to a really good start that game. I don't know. I think we were a little shocked. Maybe we weren't ready to play. … Their (offensive line) dominated that game, so I would not say it was a fluke."

The reporter then asked if Brewster cringed when he heard about Pryor's comment.

"Yesterday was the first time I heard that he said that, and yes, I did cringe," Brewster said with a chuckle.

Junior Johnson Gets Nod
When the list of 36 players representing their schools in Chicago was made available in mid-July, there was a minor surprise among the Ohio State representatives. In years past, Ohio State would send only seniors to the Windy City, and while Michael Brewster and Andrew Sweat fit that bill, junior Orhian Johnson did not.

Johnson was certainly qualified to represent the Buckeyes because of his standing as one of only two returning defensive players to log at least 200 minutes of playing time (John Simon was the other), but even Johnson himself was surprised to be Chicago-bound.

"I definitely took it as an honor … I just wanted to make sure I did the best job I possibly could to represent Ohio State and the program," the safety said. "I was surprised, and I took it as an honor to be mentioned around those guys."

Not Making ‘State'ment
First-year Michigan head coach Brady Hoke was probably never going to endear himself to Ohio State fans, but his referring to OSU simply as "Ohio" has added to Buckeye fans' dislike of the Dayton native.

Hoke shed some light on why – kind of – in a quick give-and-take with reporters.

"I always have," Hoke said.

Always?

"Mm-hmm," Hoke responded.

After adding it was not because of legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler when asked, another reporter asked if it was because of the block-O on many Ohio State baseball caps.

"It makes it easier that way, right?," Hoke joked. "I just don't (say Ohio State)."

Not Relying On Past
You probably couldn't blame Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald if he often talked about his playing career with his Wildcats. Fitzgerald, a College Football Hall of Fame inductee, led Northwestern to trips to the Rose Bowl and Citrus Bowl during his time as a linebacker at NU from 1993-96.

Still, don't expect him to drone on and on about that time in his life.

"I talk more about what we need to get (to the Rose Bowl) and win a Big Ten championship," Fitzgerald said. "When you talk about the history and tradition of our program, yes (I talk about it). But I go back to when (former NU head coach Gary Barnett) came and all their coaches were wearing their No. 1 national championship rings from Colorado and they kept talking about Colorado, Colorado, Colorado, and as a player you say, ‘By the way, you're at Northwestern now, OK? It's NU, not CU.' "

"So you can get some diminishing returns there, especially with kids today. They don't remember what they did two weekends ago, let alone what they did last night."

Feeling Rosy
There is something new on Mark Dantonio's desk in the football offices at Michigan State: a rose picked by MSU offensive line coach Mark Staten when recruiting in California.

"He wrapped it in this little napkin, put water on it and brought it back," Dantonio said. "It's all dried out on my desk, but it's still there. … I think about those things (like going to the Rose Bowl). We all have goals. Those are dreams we had when we came here. We'll see if we can reach them."

Dantonio's Spartans won a share of the Big Ten title last year for the first time since 1990, which was also the last time Michigan State played in the Rose Bowl.

JoePa Not Going Anywhere
Every year Joe Paterno faces the same question: How much longer will he remain the head coach at Penn State? This year, however, the 84-year-old said he'd like to coach four or five more years. Paterno looked and sounded better than he had in recent years.

"I think the time will come (to leave), but I feel so good," Paterno said. "I'm not naïve. I could walk out of here and have a heart attack, but I feel good. I take care of myself."

Paterno even said he was going to be more involved on the sidelines this year.

"I told my staff today, ‘Your day in the sun is over,' " Paterno said. "I'm going to call a lot more players, a lot more defense and the whole bit. So get ready.

"I may be bad, but I'm going to do it."

Happy To Be New Guy
Big Ten fans will get to know Jared Crick pretty quickly. The Nebraska defensive lineman was a two-time All-Big 12 selection and was named the preseason defensive player of the year in a newspaper poll of conference beat writers compiled by the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.

Crick seems to be just as excited to get to know the Big Ten along with the rest of the Cornhuskers.

"We're excited to play these new teams," he said. "It gets kind of monotonous playing the same schools over and over again. It's going to be a good experience for us, and a good experience for me being my last year. I'll be able to say I played in both conferences, which will be cool."

Crick admitted that he'll miss playing in warmer locales like Texas but said he looks forward to playing in new stadiums.

"I'm looking forward to all of them because I'm big on traveling," he said. "We like going places and playing at different place, staying in hotels together. It brings us closer together, and it's nice to get out of Nebraska from a weekend. Going to these prestigious stadiums and universities you've heard about will be cool."


Buckeye Sports Top Stories