The Big Ten football coaches from the conference’s Legends Division spoke to reporters today.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio confirmed earlier reports that co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner will call plays for the Spartans this season, while he described Jim Bollman’s game-day role as something like that of a “consultant.”
Dantonio’s more pressing concern is finding someone to replace running back Le’Veon Bell and he had some interesting comments regarding that. He said that, as of right now, Nick Hill, Jeremy Langford and Nick Tompkins are competing for that spot. However, this fall, there will three more players arriving who have a chance to land the job, and they are still considering moving someone else from the current roster to the position. In what is perhaps an understatement, Dantonio called it an open competition.
It’s important for Dantonio to get that figured out. He wants someone who can carry the ball 250 times.
Meanwhile Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez told the Big Ten media that the Huskers are running a slightly more involved offense this season, and he likes the weapons he has available to him. So much so, that he wants to throw the ball 30 times a game.
Nebraska may be tweaking their offense, but in Michigan, something just short of an overhaul has taken place. Offensive lineman Taylor Lewan said they’ve spent much of the spring practicing with the quarterback under center, and they’ll be using a pro-style game plan this year.
“I’m excited about it,” said Lewan. “I think the tradition of mauling people up and down the field is really cool to me. It’s fun to see people kind of give up on the other side of the ball, not us.”
The move is being made largely because of the Wolverines are transitioning from having Denard Robinson at quarterback to Devin Gardner.
However, with Robinson gone and backup Russell Bellomy tearing his ACL, Michigan is very short of depth at the position. Coach Brady Hoke admits to considering JUCO and graduate student transfers.
Finally, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald weighed in on a variey of topics, including recruiting. While other schools race to be the first to offer a promising young player a scholarship, Fitzgerald stressed that he is philosophically opposed to putting that kind of a pressure on someone too young to drive or shave.