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Big Ten Pre-Spring Preview - Team Problems
Minnesota QB/WR MarQueis Gray
Minnesota QB/WR MarQueis Gray
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 17, 2011


2011 Big Ten Pre-Spring Preview - Why Every Big East Team Should Be Grouchy

2011 Pre-Spring Preview   

Why To Be Grouchy - Big Ten


Click for each team's pre-spring lookback and lookahead
Leaders Illinois | Indiana | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin 
Legends Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota | Nebraska | Northwestern 

2011 Big Ten Pre-Spring Preview
- Big Ten Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On 

- 2011 Big Ten Leaders Division Breakdown & Analysis 
- 2011 Big Ten Legends Division Breakdown & Analysis
- 2011 Big Ten Composite Schedule & Week Rankings
- 2011 Big Ten Schedule Analysis

Leaders

Illinois
- There are lot of huge replacements to make. Illinois tends to find productive running backs, and the hope has to be for Jason Ford and Troy Pollard to make up for the loss of Mikel Leshoure. With Corey Liuget leaving early for the NFL, and with the loss of end Clay Nurse, the defensive front needs work, while Martez Wilson and Nate Bussey will be missed form the linebacking corps. The development of QB Nathan Scheelhaase could be slowed with the loss of receivers Jarred Fayson and Eddie McGee.

Indiana
-  While the Hoosiers got a big break when receivers Damarlo Belcher decided to return for his senior season, is Edward Wright-Baker the quarterback who can deliver the pill like Ben Chappell did? Can the offense count on Darius Willis to stay healthy to lead the running game? Losing right tackle James Brewer could turn out to be tough for the offensive line. Defensively, seven starters might return, but the best player, top tackler, and leader, LB Tyler Replogle, has to be replaced.

Ohio State
- It’s asking a lot for everything to mesh perfectly for the showdown of showdown games at Nebraska. There won’t be any warm-up time for Terrelle Pryor and the boys with a trip to Lincoln, a date at Illinois, and the battle against Wisconsin up in the first three games following the suspensions. Yes, Ohio State should be able to reload after a few epic recruiting classes, but losing seven starters on defense, including key linemen Cameron Heyward and Dexter Larimore, linebackers Brian Rolle and Ross Homan, and three starting defensive backs, is a problem no matter what the overall talent level.

Penn State
-  At Ohio State. At Wisconsin. Penn State only has to win a six-team division to have a shot at the Big Ten title, and considering those are the two big boys in the Leaders, it’s going to take a minor-miracle to play for the championship. With Nebraska coming before the final two road games, November could be nasty. Yes, eight starters are back on defense, but the linebacking corps needs some work and the best player, DT Ollie Ogbu, is gone.

Purdue
-  Ryan Kerrigan is gone. Only two starters are gone off the defense, but they’re good ones with LB Jason Werner off the strongside and Kerrigan, one of the nation’s leading pass rushers, gone off the line. Yes, the entire secondary returns intact, but it has to be ten times better than it was last year when it got ripped apart. Yes, there’s experience across the board on offense, but the attack was last in the Big Ten in yards, points, and passing, and it has a long way to go to merely be competent.

Wisconsin 
- Good luck getting through the Leaders division with four road games in five weeks including a date at Ohio State and with interdivision dates at Michigan State and Illinois. This is a strong, deep team that should be good, but it’s hard to get too much better after losing an efficient leader in Scott Tolzien, RB John Clay, TE Lance Kendricks, OT Gabe Carimi, and DE J.J. Watt. The loss of guard John Moffitt, MLB Culmer St. Jean, and SS Jay Valai will also hurt.

Legends

Iowa
- There’s a lot of turnover. A LOT of turnover. The Hawkeyes have to replace seven starters on defense with three starters from the defensive front gone and the secondary losing tone-setting safety Tyler Sash to the NFL. The offense has to replace six starters and needs Marvin McNutt to go from good to special to hope for more pop from the passing game. Things won’t drop off the map, but there are enough X factors to temper any hopes for a Rose Bowl run.

Michigan
- Will experience translate into production? Coordinator Greg Mattison comes over from the Baltimore Ravens to handle the defense, and he should make things better. But Michigan has 74 miles to go defensively to be merely adequate, and it’s asking for way too much to expect miracles right away. Making matters worse, the talent level isn’t where it needs to be. Michigan’s recruiting classes haven’t been bad, but they haven’t been anywhere near as good as Ohio State’s. Schedule-wise, after starting out with five straight home games, Michigan has to go on the road for four road games in five.

Michigan State
- You don’t get better by losing linebackers Greg Jones and Eric Gordon. The Spartans have a tremendous defensive line coming back, but it has to go on without the veteran linebackers who cleaned up a lot of messes. The secondary loses key playmakers in CB Chris Rucker and SS Marcus Hyde, while the offense has to come up with two new starters including All-Big Ten tackle D.J. Young. The schedule isn’t bad early and late, but it’s a bear in the middle with at Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and at Nebraska. A trip to Iowa comes up two weeks after the date in Lincoln.

Minnesota
- The offensive line that turned out to be a relative strength last year now has to start over. Only one starter, left guard Chris Bunders, is back, and while the new starting five should be a bit smaller and a bit more athletic, it should be a while before things start to jell. While MarQueis Gray could turn out to be an upgrade for the solid but unspectacular Adam Weber, he has to prove he can really play. Starting out the year at USC won’t be a confidence boost.

Nebraska
- It’s asking a lot to count on Taylor Martinez for a full year after his rocky first season at the helm, and it might take a little while before the offensive line comes together with three key losses up front. For good and bad, every game will be big for Nebraska as everyone will be watching, and while Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa have to come to Lincoln, battles at Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan will take on a bowl-like atmosphere.

Northwestern 
- It’s not like the defense is going to be night-and-day more talented than it was after getting its doors blown off over the final three games of last season. Losing linebackers Nate Williams and Quentin Davie, and defensive tackle Corbin Bryant, isn’t a positive. Offensively, Evan Watkins has the size and the potential to be the next great Wildcat quarterback, but everyone will be waiting to see if Dan Persa’s Achilles is 100% or close to it.

Click for each team's pre-spring lookback and lookahead
Leaders Illinois | Indiana | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin 
Legends Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota | Nebraska | Northwestern 

2011 Big Ten Pre-Spring Preview
- Big Ten Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On 

- 2011 Big Ten Leaders Division Breakdown & Analysis 
- 2011 Big Ten Legends Division Breakdown & Analysis
- 2011 Big Ten Composite Schedule & Week Rankings
- 2011 Big Ten Schedule Analysis