Big Ten Media Days: Day Two Updates

posted by Lori Schmidt - 

If you're looking for our coverage of the first day's worth of press conferences, click here

Now as for the goings on Tuesday...

KIRK FERENTZ

The Iowa head man was the first coach up in front of the media. 

  • Ferentz  will be replacing five starters on defense. "Defensively, we've got  some work to do," he admitted. That's especially true at linebacker.
  • It  will also be tough for the Hawkeyes to replace James Daniels, as  Ferentz said you have to go to the NFL to find a center as athletic as  him. He's not the kind of kid Ferentz said he's able to recruit.
  • Iowa  has been fortunate in that Ferentz doesn't think any of the players who  have left the team early to turn pro has made a really bad decision,  which Ferentz said he has seen elsewhere.

TOM ALLEN

Allen is heading into his second year with Indiana.

  • "My  vision has not changed. I want Indiana to break through." He said that  change needs to happen in three areas: spiritually, mentally (your  mentality determines your reality, Allen said), and physically.
  • Allen said the Hoosiers made some signifcant changes to their weight program.
  • Graduate  transfer Brandon Dawkins has yet to be named the team's starting  quarterback, but Allen really likes what he has seen of him on tape. Due  to NCAA rules, he has yet to see him play live. 
  • It might look  like the Big Ten East is dominant, but Allen said the entire league is  tough, and the West might soon be resurgent soon, as these things tend  to happen in cycles.

MARK DANTONIO

The Spartans will try to build on a 10-3 season from a year ago. 

  • On  the status of linebacker of Jon Reschke: Dantonio said there's an  ongoing process to determine whether the Spartans will welcome him back.  Reschke made an insensitve comment to a former teammate. Dantonio  indicated it was racial in nature, as he told reporters the team's black  players will have a signficant voice in how things move forward now.  "I'm hopefully allowing healing to take place," said Dantonio. Reschke  is on the roster, but not on scholarship and will not be on scholarship.  He's also recovering from a knee injury. 
  • Dantonio talked about  how proud he is of last year's 10-win team, and how he has so many  winners returning from that squad. He's got 19 starters back.
  • New athletic director Bill Beekman has provided what Dantonio called a unifying presence. "I think he's the guy."

LOVIE SMITH

A bearded Smith talked about trying to rebound from a season in which Illinois failed to win a conference game. 

  • Smith said they are in year three of an "overhaul." 
  • Having played 15 freshman in 2017, Smith is optimistic that this team can grow. 
  • Receiver  Mike Dudek is healthy after dealing with a series of knee injuries, and  Smith is eager to see what Dudek can bring this year. 
  • Also healing up from a knee injury, Smith--unprompted--talked up linebacker Jake Hansen."Really excited what he'll bring."' 
  • Year three is the year they "expect to see results," Smith said.

PAUL CHRYST

The Wisconsin head coach started by saying how grateful he is to be leading the Badgers.

  • Chryst  leads a team that is perennially the hunted in the Big Ten West, so he  wants his players to "give themselves a chance to have a chance." 
  • The Badgers have done a good job of tuning out what the prognosticators are saying, Chryst maintains. 
  • Despite the stereotypes, Chryst feels his skill players are remarkably unselfish.
  • Wisconsin  should play well up front in 2018 on both sides of the ball, Chryst  said, and that's despite the offensive line far outpacing the defensive  line in terms of experience.

URBAN MEYER

Meyer obviously had some off-field issues to address with the dismissal last night of receivers coach Zach Smith.

  • Meyer  said in 2009, Zach Smith was a young intern on Meyer's staff at  Florida, and that he let his bosses at Florida know about accusations  against Smith. He told reporters that he and his wife Shelley got  involved. He then said he was previously unable to confirm 2015 charges.
  • Meyer  has yet to name a replacement for Smith, but believes he will do so  before the end of the week. There are multiple reports that Brian  Hartline will take that role, at least on an interim basis.
  • Although  quarterback Dwayne Haskins is very talented and is the starter right  now, there's still fall camp; and Tate Martell is pushing, while Matt  Baldwin has developed physically. 
  • Quarterback Joe Burrow  decided to leave after spring ball and what Meyer described as a "very  tough conversation, but a positive one." Burrow joined LSU as a grad  transfer. Could Burrow have started for the Buckeyes? "It was right  there," Meyer said.
  • Injured linebacker Tuf Borland "is doing great...He's on course to perform this fall."

DJ DURKIN

Maryland's head coach started by  marking the passing of Terps offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who died  of heatstroke following an offseason workout.

  • Durkin said the  team will find special ways to honor McNair during the season. Those  memorials will be announced later, and will be steered by the team's  players.
  • When asked about the strength of the high school  football being played in Maryland's backyard, Durkin joked that maybe  he's talked it up too much, because other coaches are increasingly  coming in to recruit those players. 

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