Live-Blog: Big Ten Media Days (Day One)

Live-Blog: Big Ten Media Days (Day One)

Football

Live-Blog: Big Ten Media Days (Day One)


A variety of Big Ten coaches will speak at media days, finishing with Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.


Live-Blog: Big Ten Media Days (Day One)

It’s the unofficial start of football season.

At least for us media folks.

Big Ten Media Days are officially here, signifying that college football is nearly upon us.

Beginning at noon (CST), the following coaches will speak to the media:

  • 12:00-12:15pm: Scott Frost (Nebraska)
  • 12:15-12:30pm: Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern)
  • 12:30-12:45pm: James Franklin (Penn State)
  • 12:45-1:00pm: Jeff Brohm (Purdue)
  • 1:00-1:15pm: P.J. Fleck (Minnesota)
  • 1:15-1:30pm: Chris Ash (Rutgers)
  • 1:30-1:45pm: Jim Harbaugh (Michigan)

We here at WolverinesWire are here on-site, and will provide excerpts below.

Jim Delany

  • Notes that the Big Ten is the only conference that increased attendance.
  • On Scott Frost at Nebraska: His experience as a player and ability as a head coach should inspire the fanbase and the league.
  • On the competitive imbalance between the East/West: notes that Leaders and Legends wasn’t received well by fans, and that was based off competitive balance/equality. Thinks the geographical rivalries are more important. Thinks the West will rise up soon.
  • Nine game conference schedules does make going undefeated more difficult. Notes that the CFP committee is supposed to pick the best four teams, not four undefeated teams.
  • On sports betting becoming legalized: Need to educate the student-athletes about it. And about “player availability” aka injury reports: I think we need to do that. We need to that nationally.
  • Asked about student-athletes getting image and likeness payment: “I think we’re probably in the 7th inning of that.” Says it should be resolved after a September court case, expects it to go to the Supreme Court, regardless.
  • On Friday night football in-conference: “If institutions didn’t want to play at home, that was their opportunity” to say no last year. Noted a number of schools did. (Michigan was one of them.)
  • On transfer rules (video below):

Scott Frost

Opening Statement:

  • Honored to be back coaching alma mater.
  • Proud of being able to identify and develop quarterbacks in his offense, going back to his time as Oregon OC.
  • A lot of things they had to change once arriving in Lincoln. “I believe in our (system). Our formula has worked.”
  • On Tom Osborne: “He’s probably the best man that I know.” Stays in touch with him constantly. (Frost played under Osborne.)
  • Noting his last year at UCF and 1997, when Michigan and Nebraska split the national championship, he would like the CFP to move to an eight team playoff.

PAT FITZGERALD

Opening statement:

  • Notes that Northwestern has the longest winning streak in FBS right now, with 8 wins in a row.
  • Says last year was a tough start. Opens on the road at Purdue this year. “Goal for the opening game is to find a way to win!”
  • On sports betting: “The education piece (for the student-athletes) is going to be really important.” Says he’s both been accused, with his already currently existing injury report that he’s been accused of both being too honest and less than honest… “I would agree with that!” He’d welcome a national or conference-wide injury report.
  • On the competitive balance between the East/West divisions: “you look at everybody in the conference, I think we’re as competitive as anybody.” Notes Northwestern has a winning record against the East. “So we’re doing our part.”
  • “I’m fired up about that rule,” Fitzgerald says about the new redshirt rule. Says he wishes he could have only played four games his freshman year as a player. Notes the learning curve coming into college football.

James Franklin

Opening statement:

  • Notes that Trace McSorley is pretty much the team’s first recruited/developed QB since he arrived. “The prototype quarterback doesn’t really exist anymore. You need a guy that can beat you in multiple ways, and Trace can do that.”
  • “For you to have a program that’s a consistent top ten or top five program, you can’t just do it in one area.” Lists recruiting, scheme. “If you have weaknesses, you need to address those in the offseason.”
  • Franklin says he likes the current system “and I didn’t have a problem with the system before it.” Says the problem is that it’s subjective, and “you want to control as many of the variables as you can.” Says he’d like to see some standardization across college football. Same amount of conference games, and so on, so that when the committee makes their decision, everything is somewhat streamlined.

JEFF BROHM

Opening statement:

  • Says the Big Ten is known for elite defenses, and they’re trying to get there at Purdue while adding an elite offense. Notes they’ll have a very difficult home schedule this year.
  • They have 11 power five teams on the schedule, Brohm notes. “While we may not win as many as we’d like, it will help us get better.” Eastern Michigan is the sole non-P5 team.
  • “Our margin for error is not great,” Brohm says, again, re: the schedule and such. Notes the coaches and players both have to really be perfect this year.
  • Brohm says he’s not opposed to playing two quarterbacks in games. “If one guy emerges, that’s okay,” but says that if both prove themselves, he could play both in games, like he did last year.

P.J. Fleck

Opening statement:

  • Says he enjoys the “muddy waters” years, where you build a program. Cites his time with Greg Schiano, who taught him not to sacrifice the long-term for a short-term win mentality. “Year One is different than Year Two. Everything’s new.” Says in Year Two, players start to master those things.
  • He says that last year for Minnesota is really “Year Zero” in his book. Notes the transitional time and how much chaos the program was in.
  • Notes there’s a strength component that’s different in the Big Ten compared to the MAC. Says you can’t get away with the kind of stuff he could at Western Michigan compared to Minnesota. Notes you’re playing teams in the top 15, often.
  • “We’re going to be better today than we were yesterday.” Heard that before somewhere…
  • On legalizing gambling: says he’s all for injury reports. Doesn’t want to see there be specific injury information on the reports, noting the student-athlete’s privacy. But if someone isn’t going to be available, no matter if it’s injury or grades or whatever, he thinks it should be done.

Chris Ash

Opening statement:

  • Notes that the coaching staff looks different in a good way. Mentions new offensive John McNulty and his 15 years of NFL experience.
  • On the legalized gambling: “It’s just continued education” re: the players, coaches, support staff. “In the state of New Jersey, obviously, gambling is a big deal.”

JIM HARBAUGH

(Full video will be available as separate post)

  • Harbaugh says he’s just excited to have a season to gear up for when asked what he’s most excited about.
  • Harbaugh says that the new offensive coordinators have been great additions. Likes how the offensive staff is collaborating and working together. Says they’ve added Rob Prince, and he’s been a big addition. Lists pretty much the whole offensive analyst staff as doing a great job.
  • Harbaugh says (which he’s said before) he’d like to get to 16 teams in the College Football Playoff.
  • Harbaugh dodges question about having not beating Ohio State. Says they have to improve. Getting a similar question about third/fourth place finishes now. “Improvement will lead to success, will lead to championships.” That’s the entire quote.
  • Harbaugh says he’s going to the soccer game and hopes to be able to meet with the coaches, time permitting.
  • Harbaugh says that he’s enjoying his time with Ed Warinner, and that he brings a lot to the team. Won’t address anything re: the QB competition.
  • Harbaugh, on teams getting to a 16-team playoff, says that they could eliminate conference championship games and it would end up being 16 games total compared to 15.
  • Harbaugh says that Chase Winovich is always playing with the highest motor and that he’s getting more talented as he continues to get more acclimated to defensive end. Says he sees him as a 3-4 outside linebacker or as a nickel defensive end in the NFL.
  • About the quarterback room with so many QBs: Shea Patterson had a full spring practice. “Got great work in there, played really well.” Says Peters had improvement, but McCaffrey “probably had the most improvement.” Says Milton did really well. “I think he’s got a really bright future.” Mentions Michael Sessa, and says that Buck West is now not a safety, that he’s a QB and WR. “Feel like our starting quarterback will be better, play better. That’s how I’d evaluate the room.”
  • Harbaugh says there’s a great running back tradition in the Big Ten. Says Karan Higdon and Chris Evans are both great players who have come into leadership roles. “They’ve embraced those roles, it’s important to them.” Says that they’ve been good mentors to the younger RBs. Says Chris Evans often teaches the guys pass protection-type things. “Cannot say enough good things about Karan Higdon or Chris Evans, both.”
  • On gambling, Harbaugh says he’d teach the players to “not away from (gamblers), run!” Said they should not associate at all with sports gamblers.
  • On the injury report: “I’d be fine with that.”
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