Highs, Lows At Big Ten Media Day

The first day of Big Ten media days in Chicago had its share of storylines and entertainment. From Ohio State's suspensions to Tim Beckman's unique answers, here's what stood out in the first day of interviews.

Because of the format and the people involved, there's almost never a dull moment at Big Ten Media Days. Sure, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was allowed to speak to a captive audience, but the three-and-a-half hour block of one-on-one interviews gave reporters a chance to freely roam a ballroom filled with players and coaches from two teams at all times.

Ohio State was represented by head coach Urban Meyer, left tackle Taylor Decker, linebacker Joshua Perry and defensive tackle Adolphus Washington. The Buckeyes were joined on the first day by the players and coaches from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State and Wisconsin. What follows is a breakdown of what went right and what went wrong as the Big Ten attempts to market itself fresh off a resurgent postseason.

THUMBS UP

Ohio State's Timing
Whether their hand was forced or not, I think the Buckeyes made the right choice to announce a couple hours prior to Big Ten Media Days that four players will miss the Virginia Tech game due to suspension. The topic dominated Ohio State's interview time slots and put players in the potentially awkward position of answering questions about the mistakes of teammates, but it was a band-aid that needed to be ripped off.

With an audience of both local and national writers present, Ohio State got to address the situation and start the process of moving on. By the time fall camp starts, the suspensions will be old news. Meyer, as is his custom, skipped the opening statement and went straight to questions. There was no doubt what the first one would be, and he handled it well.

"I kind of knew about this for a little bit," he said. "It was a university -- I think the department has policies that we expect and I am 100 percent fully supportive of it. Whether it's a sprained ankle or stuff, you try to create a culture where teams know how to move forward and not concern yourself. When we lost Braxton 10 days before the first game, you lose JT a week before the Big Ten Championship game, you push forward. You know, we're pushing forward.

"The comment I did make, we are playing an extremely talented team, very well-coached team on the road in a tough environment. However, we have recruited very well. So get going, move forward."

Randy Edsall's Kicker Love
In a sign of how well Maryland is integrating into the Big Ten, Terps head coach Randy Edsall spent a sizable amount of time praising senior captain Brad Craddock -- who happens to be a kicker. The Aussie, who won the Lou Groza Award in 2014, deserves all the kind words he got, but Edsall made sure the praise wasn't in short supply.

The final question he got concerned Craddock, but he may have had time for another if that subject matter hadn't been broached. His response spanned more than three minutes and 500 words and covered about as much ground as the distance between College Park and Craddock's hometown of Adelaide.

Anything Said By Joshua Perry
The senior linebacker is probably the most thoughtful player on Ohio State's roster at the moment (following in the footsteps of guys like Michael Bennett and Corey Linsley), but he showed over an hour and a half that he could crack his share of jokes, too. He spent plenty of time dishing out fashion advice and lampooning his teammates' style, but his best moment may have come when he took on quarterback Cardale Jones -- or, more specifically, the QB's Twitter pursuit of UFC star Ronda Rousey.

"Cardale is not what you guys think he is," Perry said with a smile. "We were on the red carpet and Ronda Rousey was right there and -- I'll pull out my phone -- I got a selfie with her. Cardale didn't. He was standing right next to her but he wanted to get on Twitter and start (tagging) her and stuff. He could have said something right there. I want you guys to tell him I'm saying this right now, too. That's the kind of guy he is. He's going to get on Twitter and do it."

Perry then pulled out his phone and show off his selfie with Rousey, saying "There's me and bae."

THUMBS DOWN

Tim Beckman's Comprehension Skills
It was admittedly a cold-blooded move for the Big Ten to go to Chicago Tribune writer Shannon Ryan, who earlier in the day had posted an in-depth, informative story with former players blasting Beckman, for the first question. But they did, and that alone was worth the price of admission. Beckman appeared to not understand how answering a question works, as you can see for yourself below:

Q. Tim, in the off-season, there's been some allegations made about your coaching style or mistreatment of players. I'm just wondering how you respond to those allegations. And if you don't mind, secondly, have you been asked to change your approach? Or do you feel like you will change your approach in light of the investigation and these allegations?

COACH BECKMAN: "Shannon, I've been around football for 50 years of my life. I've been around some great, great individuals throughout my career, from high school coaches on up to the college coaches that I've been able to play for and work for.

"You know, we're focused right now on a 2015 football team. We took off from last year after a great end of the year. And we've been focused since January on becoming a better football program. The philosophy that we continue to use is what these football players believe in football."

His passion for the 2015 season at the expense of discussing his job was made evident from the outset and throughout. After Ryan's question, virtually every other query lobbed by reporters was replied to with a meandering answer about getting ready for the first game of the season. Riveting stuff.

Q. Coach, how important is it to you and how meaningful would it be to your program if you were to get a contract extension?

COACH BECKMAN: "Teddy, again, I am focused on the first football game. That is what this team is focused on. We know we've got a Kent State football team September 4th. We know we're excited about getting together on August 5th and then moving to Rantoul on August 9th. We know -- those practices are open. It's an NFL atmosphere when we go to Rantoul. And each and everyone knows that. That's one of the special things that doesn't always happen on every college campus. You're invited. People are invited to watch the Fighting Illini work. We're focused in on what we can be focused in on right now and that's Kent State."


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