Found May 11, 2012 on
PLAYERS: Johnathan Hankins

A quick wrap-up of the spring football season for all the Big Ten teams…first however a disclaimer of sorts…I will not be using these spring games reports as a basis of ANY sorts when I compile my Big Ten preview in the coming months….now why would I come out and say something like that?…This will be my seventh year of forecasting and predicting Big Ten football and I cannot think of one single player that won an MVP or a newcomer of the year because of his performance in his team’s respective spring game…my point is this; the only news as far as I am concerned that can come out of these annually over-reported events is bad news..injury.  Ask Danny Hope…but now…let’s wrap up this spring football stuff so that the fall season inches ever closer to us.  All this being said..if any of the players mentioned in this report garner postseason awards or accolades of any kind…you heard it here first and I am a genius.

Leaders division

Illinois:  There were a couple of standouts from the Illini’s spring game…a true freshman HB named Josh Ferguson rushed for 130 yards on 20 carries…and then DE Michael Buchanan totaling 12 tackles and 4.5 sacks…all this with the asterisk that the QB was not allowed to be hit…they counted a sack as getting a hand on the QB…so these numbers may be about as accurate as the rising number of unicorn sightings on Sesame Street.

Indiana:  I kind of liked what IU football coach Kevin Wilson did for his spring game…he played the 1st quarter outside in Memorial Stadium in some pretty heavy rain and wind…he said his team will have to be able to do this at some point in the season so he wanted to see how his team performed…he said after the event that he thought his team got a lot out of it…they then moved the rest of the practice into the neighboring Mellencamp Pavilion…and yes, it is named after THAT Mellencamp…you really had to ask?..How many Mellencamps do you really know?…The Hoosiers escaped the spring with no significant injuries.

Montee Ball

Ohio State:  QB Braxton Miller threw for just over 250 yards and Urban Meyer may have located a WR threat…freshman WR Michael Thomas caught 12 passes for 131 yards…that’s a lot of passes…but I am guessing that Urban wanted to show everyone in attendance that his offense is back on the prowl…Miller was 24-31 on the day…

Penn State:  see now…I just don’t get this…the defense beat the offense in the annual Blue-White game 77-65…I wish the scoring system was given…no defense would tell you they beat anybody giving up 65 points…unless your coach is Rich Rodriguez…the Lion defense did however force five interceptions and eight sacks..the spring game took place in front of an estimated crowd of 60,000…the rushing game was a reported “solid” effort totaling over 140 yards…

Purdue:  The Boilermakers, based on their recent history of losing integral players in this annual event, moved their spring game indoors….actually it was because of the weather…but coach Danny Hope said that he and his team wanted to make it productive, yet fun…and all accounts I have read indicated that it was as productive a spring game as it can be…no major injuries and a lot of reps were played out..there is a different air in and around the Boiler program this season as Purdue is coming off a winning season and a bowl victory….at least that’s what I got out of the post game comments from the coach…

Wisconsin:  really just a couple of noteworthy items from the Badger spring game that you, the fan, need to know about…Wisconsin may have found a backup HB…Melvin Gordon was the feature back as Montee Ball was sitting out because of…well, because he wanted to…Gordon rushed the ball 30 times for 159 yards…30 carries in a spring game….interesting…the other item you should know was that the defense didn’t allow the offense to score…and finally…the New Wisconsin transfer QB Danny O’Brian from Maryland did not participate…

Legends Division

Iowa:  Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz took the Lou Holtz approach to his post-spring game presser…if you were listening you would’ve heard things like…”we have a lot of work to do right now after 12 practices”….or “we have a lot of guys making progress”…one nugget that was  introduced by 7th year senior QB James Vandenberg was that the offense is installed…they now just have to understand things…he also stated that the offense is similar to the one they had when he was a freshman and Chuck Long was under center….just kidding there folks…he was a sophomore when Long was there.

Michigan:  Michigan was as vanilla and as bland as they have ever been…Denard Robinson was on the field for only 7 plays and was 2-3 for 13 yards…HB Thomas Rawls proved he may be a nice change of pace back this year and QB Russell Bellomy showed what I say is the most promise among the QB’s who saw action..three early enrollees saw action…all on defense….safety Jarrod Wilson and LB’s Joe Bolden and Kaleb Ringer…

Kain Colter

East Lansing:  I think you can tell that the Spartan program is a bit concerned about losing Kirk Cousins…Connor Cook completed 20-45 passes for 294 yards…that gets my vote for most eye-opening stat of all the spring games…another note was that the leading receiver for Mark Dantonio’s squad was tight end Dion Sims…also the mascot for ELU actually got on the field and got to carry the ball…he was hit in the backfield and fumbled..although some could’ve argued that his forward momentum had stopped…head coach Mark Dantonio, who called the play from within the huddle,  seemed disappointed with the result of the play… he told the mascot to “hold on to the ball” before the snap …there was no review on the play.

Minnesota: the nuts and bolts of the Gopher spring game was this..they, for the most part liked what they got out of their was..ok for this time of year amassing almost 210 yards…the QB’s were 8-18 for 130 yards, but didn’t score…the secondary may have had a lot to do with that…the secondary was inundated with some possible good news…they were the beneficiaries of three juco transfers that enrolled in January and that CB Troy Stoudamire will be granted another year of the secondary may be a position of strength this fall in Minneapolis.

Nebraska:  Nebraska’s spring game was cancelled due to weather…instead of practicing, the Corn was scheduled to have weightlifting sessions and hit the playbooks in the extra allotted time…

Northwestern:  Wildcat head coach Pat Fitzgerald is focusing on the defense…it showed in the Cat spring game..the defense really got after the offense….the defensive line played “the best I’ve ever seen them play” said QB Kain Colter…Fitzy actually stated that several of the negative comments that his defense was the subject of last fall have fueled that unit this spring…”they were very grateful of the negative comments”…He talked a lot about how the defense is coming together and is cohesive right now..that is..some 4 plus months before the season starts.

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