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Big Ten Pre-Spring Preview - The Concerns
Penn State QB Matt McGloin
Penn State QB Matt McGloin
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 7, 2012


2012 Big Ten Pre-Spring Preview - Why Every Big Ten Team Should Be Grouchy

2011 Pre-Spring Preview   

Why To Be Grouchy - Big Ten

 
Leaders Illinois | Indiana | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin 
Legends Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota | Nebraska | Northwestern 

2012 Big Ten Pre-Spring Preview
- CFN 2012 Pre-Preseason Big Ten Leaders Rankings
- CFN 2012 Pre-Preseason Big Ten Legends Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On  
- 2012 Recruiting Breakdown Big Ten Leaders | Big Ten Legends
  
Leaders

Illinois
- At Wisconsin, at Michigan, at Ohio State. The three big road games come early in the Big Ten schedule meaning it’ll likely be an uphill climb to make any noise in conference action. The offense that sputtered so much late last year needs some new playmakers to emerge with WR A.J. Jenkins off to the NFL and Jason Ford and Troy Pollard gone from the backfield. Steady kicker Derek Dimke could be sorely missed if the offense doesn’t show more firepower early on. New head man Tim Beckman’s problems rounding out his coaching staff took way too long; he’s apparently prickly to work with.

Indiana
- Yes, IU went with a youth movement throughout last year, but it also loses enough veterans to sting a bit. WR Demarlo Belcher was booted off the team and the passing game never found a top target to work around, and the O line needs to be night-and-day better to provide a bit of a push for the ground game. Left tackle Andrew McDonald and right tackle Justin Pagan, as rough as the season was for the line, will still hurt. The defense couldn’t stop anyone’s running game and now has to retool the linebacking corps with Jeff Thomas and Leon Beckum gone.

Ohio State
- A brave face will be put on in Urban: Year One, but it’s going to take a lot of coaxing and a lot of work to keep the fire for a full 12 games when there’s nothing to play for. The idea of being the Big Ten’s best team, even though the Buckeyes can’t play in the title game this year, will only go so far. USC was able to buy in and was terrific in 2012, but that came after a year of not getting to go to a bowl. With a trip to Wisconsin and the Michigan game to close things out, it might be another rough end to the season after closing out 2011 with four straight losses. On the field, the offensive line needs to replace three starters including massive Mike Adams at left tackle, and while the team got used to playing without RB Dan Herron and WR DeVier Posey for a long stretch last season, those two helped QB Braxton Miller make the offense go.

Penn State
-  Penn State is going to have a negative image for a long, long time, and the uncertainty revolving around what might be coming in terms of lawsuits and sanctions had a major effect on the 2012 recruiting class, and things might not get better for a while. Throw in the addition of a jacked up Urban Meyer doing what a jacked up Urban Meyer does on the recruiting trail, and a Nittany Lion team that would’ve been in transition under normal circumstances – seven starters are gone off the defense and all five starters have to be replaced on the O line – and the future isn’t exactly bright. The miserable quarterback situation is still the same and top target Derek Moye is gone.

Purdue
-  The solid pass defense of last season has to replace both starting safeties, Logan Link and Albert Evans, and leading tackler Joe Holland will be missed from the linebacking corps. The offense might get most of the key pieces back, but left tackle Dennis Kelly and three starters are gone from a group that was solid against the run, but was average in pass protection. Schedule-wise, the Big Ten slate eases up a bit at the end, and there’s no Nebraska or Michigan State from the Legends, but starting out against Michigan, Wisconsin, and at Ohio State isn’t a plus.

Wisconsin 
- Who’s going to replace Russell Wilson? Before Wilson signed on last year, the big question mark was quarterback with the ultra-efficient Scott Tolzien needing to be replaced. While getting Wilson helped take the Badgers to a Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl, it also meant the offense is starting from scratch at the position and with offensive coordinator Paul Chryst gone as the head coach at Pitt. The Badger O line is always strong, but it has to replace center Peter Konz, guard Kevin Zeitler and tackle Josh Oglesby, and the loss of No. 1 target Nick Toon and fullback Bradie Ewing is a problem.

Legends

Iowa
- And the running back will be? Iowa always seems to have drama when it comes to the running back situation, and Marcus Coker getting booted adds to the recent history. QB James Vandenberg might be terrific, but he loses go-to target Marvin McNutt and the pass protection – which was spotty at best throughout 2011 – might struggle a bit with left tackle Riley Reiff leaving early for the NFL and Markus Zusevics and Adam Gettis gone from the right side. The defense didn’t come up with much of a pass rush, and now it’ll have to go on without Mike Daniels and Thomas Nardo on the inside and Broderick Binns at end. The secondary loses top corner Shaun Prater and strong safety Jordan Bernstine.

Michigan
- September 1 in Arlington. Alabama. This might be Michigan’s chance to make a statement on a national scale and come up with the type of win that would lead the way to a BCS title run, but the Tide isn’t going to dip much, if at all, and it could put a sting on what should be a special season before Labor Day. The defensive line has to replace heart-and-soul tackle Mike Martin and running mate Will Heininger, and center David Molk was a key part of a good offensive front. Junior Hemingway was Denard Robinson’s No. 1 target and Kevin Koger was a strong all-around tight end who’ll be missed.

Michigan State
- The defense should be good, but the offense has to rebuild the passing attack. RB Le’Veon Bell is a big, strong running back to work around, but the passing game should take a major step back with the loss of QB Kirk Cousins and the terrific receiving trio of B.J. Cunningham, Keith Nichol, and Keshawn Martin. Most of the big games are in East Lansing, but the schedule has the potential to be nasty starting Boise State to kick things off and with Notre Dame, Ohio State, Iowa, and Nebraska to go along with road games at Michigan and Wisconsin.

Minnesota
- Is there enough depth to come up with good battles in spring ball? Almost every job is wide open, but the overall talent level isn’t strong enough to come up with too many options. The defense gets back a bulk of the starters, but both tackles are gone along with middle linebacker Gary Tinsley and tackling machine Kim Royston at safety. Offensively, the passing game wasn’t exactly efficient and effective last year, and that was with go-to Da’Jon McKnight to work with. He’s gone, and the offense has to find more pop and explosion from some new players this spring.

Nebraska
- It’s obviously a new year with plenty of big changes, but the Huskers will face three 2011 conference champions – Southern Miss, Arkansas State, and Wisconsin – in the first four games, and the rest of the first half of the slate is hardly a breeze going to UCLA, Ohio State, Northwestern, and Michigan State to go along with a date with Michigan. Penn State, Minnesota, and at Iowa represents the easy part of the schedule. The defense should be a rock with a little bit of work, but it loses heart-and-soul linebacker Lavonte David, and future NFL shutdown corner Alfonzo Dennard.

Northwestern 
- Kain Colter might be a good, athletic quarterback who can make the running game fly, but he needs targets to throw to. Leading receiver Jeremy Ebert is done, as is do-it-all tight end Drake Dunsmore. The team’s third leading receiver in yards per game last year was … Kain Colter. He also led the team in rushing last season, and there aren’t any proven running backs to take the heat off. Defensive tackles Jack DiNardo and Niko Mafuli were active and aggressive, while safety Brian Peters and corners Jeravin Mathews and Jordan Mabin were smart veterans who’ll be missed.

Leaders Illinois | Indiana | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin 
Legends Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota | Nebraska | Northwestern 

2012 Big Ten Pre-Spring Preview
- CFN 2012 Pre-Preseason Big Ten Leaders Rankings
- CFN 2012 Pre-Preseason Big Ten Legends Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On  
- 2012 Recruiting Breakdown Big Ten Leaders | Big Ten Legends