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2011 Spring Preview Big 10 Legends Positions
Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight
Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 16, 2011


The positions to watch for each Big Ten Legends team going into spring practices.


2011 Big Ten Spring Preview

The Legends Spring Positions

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
- Defensive lineman. The most disappointing aspect of the 2010 season might have been the mediocre play of a line that included NFL talents Adrian Clayborn, Karl Klug and Christian Ballard, yet struggled to make things happen in the backfield. The Hawkeyes were sixth in the nation against the run, but they were shockingly dead last in the Big Ten and 110th in the nation in tackles for loss while only coming up with 22 sacks. Tackle Mike Daniels is the only starter coming back, and while there are some decent prospects waiting for their turn, the talent drop off will be massive.

Michigan
- The entire defense. Every story about Michigan this offseason will involve Denard Robinson in some way, and while he won’t put up the record numbers he did last year, he should be even more effective now that he won’t have to do everything for the offense. The question will be whether or not defensive coordinator Greg Mattison can turn chicken spit into chicken salad and make the Big Ten’s worst defense decent. The call will be out to simplify, simplify, simplify. The D is full of veterans and has real, live athletes. Mattison will try to keep things basic to start and won’t try to do anything too funky. Make plays. That’s it.

Michigan State
- Offensive tackle. The line wasn’t exactly a rock in pass protection, and while the ground game was effective, it only averaged 152 yards per game. Now the offense has to move on without D.J. Young on the left side and J’Michael Deane on the right. They weren’t exactly world beaters, but they were fifth-year seniors who knew what they were doing. Throw in the loss of the center John Stipek, the quarterback of the line, and the Spartans have work to do up front to have any hope of being far more effective and far more efficient, especially on third downs.

Minnesota
- Quarterback. Adam Weber had an interesting four-year career and he might end up hanging out in the NFL for a little while as someone’s third-string quarterback. As good as he was, there was always a sense that the real star of the show was busy doing something else. MarQueis “O.J.” Gray was one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterback recruits a few years ago, but after needing a year to get eligible, he wasn’t used much and ended up turning into one of the team’s most dangerous receivers. Now the 6-4, 230-pound junior might be another Chandler Harnish, the ultra-productive Northern Illinois quarterback who came to his own last year. Gray is far, far more talented than Harnish, and the team’s season might completely and totally hinge on whether or not he’s ready to show what he can do.

Nebraska
- Quarterback. Taylor Martinez, Taylor Martinez, Taylor Martinez. One of college football’s breakout stars over the first half of last year, his toughness was question and injuries became a power. The job is open for battle with passing option Cody Green looking to show a bit more in the new offensive system, and newcomer Jamal Turner is reportedly worth the hype and more. The passing game was 113th in the nation averaging just 151 yards per game, and the coaching staff is looking to change that immediately.

Northwestern 
- Defensive end. The line had the beef and the upside to come up with a good season, and it had a few good moments, but the pass rush was non-existent and the ends were erased way too easily. With competition open for all the jobs, the focus will be on Vince Brown and Kevin Watt on the outside to see if they can show more moves and be more disruptive. They’re big defenders with decent skills, but they’ll be pushed by Tyler Scott and Quentin Williams. If the ends don’t get the job done, then the coaching staff will start using the outside linebackers more when they should be worrying about holding up against the run.

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