"Sometimes, old school is a good school."
- Kirk Ferentz, via ESPN
Sometimes the Big Ten can be counted on to be just so Big Ten. Kirk Ferentz saying "Old school is good school" is one of those times.
What's amazing - and honestly a credit to the conference - is that there haven't really been any Bielema or Gary Pinkel-level gaffs about pace of play or offensive strategy. So, you do you, Mr. Ferentz, and grind out 8+ wins this year.
Here's some bonus quote summary from Mr. Hoke: "Hoke suggested that some of the pageantry associated with the game -- for instance, the Beef Bowl team competition at Lawry's, a prime rib restaurant in Beverly Hills -- will be eliminated because of the high stakes and need for a regular game-week regimen."
The jokes really just write themselves here.
Apparently, according to the ESPN Big Ten blogging folks, Jeff Heuerman "loosened things up by locking quarterback Braxton Miller in a headlock, and after that, both decided to moonlight as media members by sneaking over to ask Meyer a few questions toward the end of a session."
"Jacoby Boren is right in the middle of that (race), and there's a kid named Billy Price that we redshirted a year ago. Three guys that are talented. Chad is -- all I know of what I've seen, he's a tough guy, he's a hard worker, and he has a lot of experience. That's why we took him."
- Urban Meyer, via LGHL and Cleveland.com
The Big Ten Media Days are primarily for cliched quotes like, "Everyone is practicing so much harder this summer," or "The team is so much more focused this year," or "I really like this year's group of guys, especially due to the senior leaders." But sometimes we get Ferentz making us laugh, sometimes players do funny things, and sometimes the ever-honest Urban will give real position updates.
At Urban's first ever B1G Media Days, he mentioned that he expected Carlos Hyde to get the opportunity for 15-20 carries per game and to be his first-ever true feature back. We all know how that went.
So when Urban says that they took Chad, the Alabama transfer at center, because of his experience and work ethic, you can probably believe him. It also means that they might be a little worried that Price and Boren don't yet have the experience necessary to lead the line yet. It's hard to imagine the coaching staff seeking out Lindsay to transfer in just to have him sit on the bench. But, as they say (or should say), never count out a Boren.
"It's football, you know, that happens sometimes. And if anything, it just puts a chip on your shoulder and makes it easier to come together after a tragedy than it does after everything goes right. Not to say that a football loss is a tragedy, but it sucks. And I'd say the coaches did a good job of, instead of just berating us with, ‘You're not good enough, you're not good enough,' it was, ‘Remember these games, but we need to move forward, we need to get better.'"
- Michael Bennett, via Chris Johnson, Sports Illustrated
The end of last season was not fun. For anyone. But it sounds like the team has the right mindset to move on.
It's interesting here that Bennett outlines two ways that the coaches could have responded to last season's decline: berating the team or looking forward. The first strategy would be effective at wiping out any "air of superiority" that had grown at the WHAC, but bad for morale. In contrast, it sounds like their strategy was forward-looking instead of staying in the past - using the B1G Championship and Orange Bowl as reality checks, but not utterly demoralizing ones.
The truth is that the Buckeyes will have more combined talent on the roster than, really, any of their regular season opponents. That makes preparation, game mindset, and group psychology all the more important for the Buckeyes achieving their goals this year.
"Thanks in large part to the celebrity of people such as George Whitfield... quarterback gurus have seemingly popped up everywhere and secured dozens of clients from the college ranks. But at the college level in particular, their presence has become a somewhat divisive issue, particularly for coaches whose philosophy is to control every aspect of what their quarterbacks learn."
- Dan Wolken, USA Today
Wolken chronicles the rise of the cottage industry of personal quarterback coaches like George Whitfield, who tutor everyone from high school Elite 11 recruits to NFL starters. It was well publicized last year that Braxton Miller used Whitfield during the off season to tighten up his mechanics as well as work on "chaos drills."
What was maybe most interesting here were Iowa QB Jake Ruddock's comments: "You do a short period each day of fundamental stuff, ball placement, but you spend most of your time during the season game-planning." We often think that players are just going to get better as the season rolls on because they have more and more time on the field against live opponents. That may be true, but hardly any practice time seems to be dedicated to fundamentals themselves. Instead, it sounds like opponent-specific game planning dominates the pre-game practices.
It's easy to see how quarterback coaches have their niche in college football. Even dedicated QB coaches for schools can't drill mechanics and fundamentals all the time - there are simply too many reads, plays, and progressions to work through besides preparing a player for the NFL.