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2011 Spring Preview Big Ten Legends Questions
Michigan QB Denard Robinson
Michigan QB Denard Robinson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 16, 2011


How will the Michigan offense change and who will Denard Robinson be used? What is Nebraska looking to do with its offense and what's going to be changed? Can Iowa's offense be better? Can Michigan State's defense generate a pass rush? These are some of the key questions for some of the top Big Ten teams highlighted in the 2011 CFN Big Ten Spring Preview.


2011 Big Ten Spring Preview

The Legends Spring Questions

Click for each team's spring preview
Leaders Illinois | Indiana | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin 
Legends Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota | Nebraska | Northwestern 
 
2011 Big Ten Spring Preview  
- 2011 Big Ten Leaders Spring Buzz
- 2011 Big Ten Legends Spring Buzz
- 2011 Big Ten Leaders Spring Attitudes
- 2011 Big Ten Legends Spring Attitudes
- 2011 Big Ten Leaders Spring Key Positions
- 2011 Big Ten Legends Spring Key Positions   
- 2011 Big Ten Leaders Spring Questions 
- 2011 Big Ten Legends Spring Questions    
- Big Ten Pre-Spring Rankings

Legends

Iowa
- Can the offense be better? The consistency wasn’t there last year, but it was quickly forgotten that the consistency wasn’t there in 2009, either. The difference was that Ricky Stanzi and the offense pulled out almost every close game two years ago and lost almost every tight battle last year. On the plus side, as disappointing as the 8-5 season might have been, all five losses were by seven points or fewer and four of them were by a grand total of 11 points. With a not-that-bad schedule, a more balanced, steady attack could mean a quick return to double-digit wins.

Michigan
- The offense will go through a mega-change, but does that mean it’ll be better? Rich Rodriguez might be a punchline and his era will go down as a stunning disaster, but lost in all the failures and all the problems was that the offense actually worked. Michigan led the Big Ten and was eighth in the nation in total yards and was 13th in rushing. Fine, so it didn’t work late with Ohio State and Mississippi State shutting things down, but it was still a dangerous attack that was just starting to find its legs. The new Michigan attack needs to be better against the stronger teams and it needs to be more consistent, but if you told Brady Hoke right now that his offense would finish the year averaging 239 rushing yards and 250 passing yards per game, he’d probably take it.

Michigan State
- Can the defense generate any sort of a pass rush? Mark Dantonio’s defenses don’t get too crazy and don’t throw a lot of bells and whistles at teams, but they’re very good and very sound. The problem, though, is that if there isn’t a killer pass rusher on the line, the production in the backfield doesn’t come without throwing in a few quirky wrinkles. The Spartans were 90th in the nation in sacks and 91st in tackles for loss, and the defense needs to be more disruptive after allowing 22 points or more in five of the final six games. With three starters back up front, the pressure will be on to start hitting more quarterbacks.

Minnesota
- Can the defense get into the backfield? It’s not like Northern Illinois was the 1985 Bears, but the defensive front did a nice job of making things happen behind the line on a regular basis and helped the D finish 14th in the nation points allowed. Minnesota’s defensive front was a disaster finishing dead last in America in sacks and struggling to make anything happen against the run. With all four starters returning up front, and a nice young nucleus among the backups to work with, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys has some experience to work with.

Nebraska
- Can the defense start getting into the backfield more? The 2009 defense, led by Ndamukong Suh, finished second in the nation in sacks, 28th in tackles for loss, and ninth against the run. The Huskers also closed out the year No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense. Last year, Nebraska was 45th in the nation in sacks, a pathetic 112th in tackles for loss, and 63rd against the run. Overall, the defense wasn’t bad, but Nebraska under Bo Pelini isn’t doing what it’s supposed to unless it’s blowing up offenses by camping out in backfields. Pierre Allen is gone, but everyone else on the two-deep defensive line returns.

Northwestern 
- Will the Wildcats be able to run the ball? The run defense is a huge concern after getting ripped up in November, and the pass rush has to come up with something that works after struggling to get to the quarterback, but the offense needs a ground game if and when Dan Persa isn’t back at 100%. The problem last year was 1) a line that was a disaster in pass protection and 2) a slew of running backs who probably shouldn’t have been in the Big Ten. Mike Trumpy had a wrist problem, but he had his moments and could be the featured back if Adonis Smith doesn’t become a more dynamic option. By the time the season stars, true freshmen Jordan Perkins and Nick VanHoose might be the best options, so if anyone wants to take over the job, it’s time to show 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 Spring Preview  
- 2011 Big Ten Leaders Spring Buzz
- 2011 Big Ten Legends Spring Buzz
- 2011 Big Ten Leaders Spring Attitudes
- 2011 Big Ten Legends Spring Attitudes
- 2011 Big Ten Leaders Spring Key Positions
- 2011 Big Ten Legends Spring Key Positions   
- 2011 Big Ten Leaders Spring Questions 
- 2011 Big Ten Legends Spring Questions    
- Big Ten Pre-Spring Rankings