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Big Ten Gossip

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I was reading Tom Dienharts blog on the Sporting News (no permalink so look quick!). He has some interesting gossip from a Big Ten headcoach.

RING! RING!

A Big Ten head coach checks in. So, he tells me: "The two guys in the league who aren't like the rest of us are (Lloyd) Carr and (Glen) Mason. Everyone else is pretty damn genuine.

On Carr, he says: "The guy who is cordial but not warm -- I mean, you can tell sincerity from a guy who's just being cordial because it's part of his job -- is Lloyd Carr. Maybe he's under phenomenal pressure and it has impacted him."

On Mason, he says: "Mason probably has the biggest ego in the league. There are a lot of guys who don't care for him. They think he's really opinioned. If Mason isn't playing to a crowd, he's pretty down to earth. If there are people around, he has to get up on a soapbox. He lacks people skills, but he can coach."

Before we hang up, I ask about Kirk Ferentz.

"He's a good guy. The only thing about him is I think he has had a good teacher in Hayden (Fry). I think there are some slippery things about him."

Who do you suppose called him? Right away we can rule out Lloyd Carr, Glen Mason, and Kirk Ferentz. I doubt it's Paterno. Paterno hates the media. I can't believe he would be sitting in his office and out-of-the-blue say to himself "I think I'm going to call that Dienhart guy at the Sporting News and trash some of my fellow coaches."

I can't see Joe Tiller taking part in something like this. He's been around the Big Ten for years and pretty well respected. And I doubt it's Pat Fitzgerald. He's the rookie in the Big Ten and probably doesn't want to rock the boat. That leaves Ron Zook, Jim Tressel, Bret Beilema, John L. Smith, and Terry Hoeppner. (Tell the truth: who could have named the Indiana head coach?)

I suspect this is someone relatively new to the league with not a lot of experience in head coaching etiquette. Somebody trying to call up reporters to drum up some interest in their program. That leaves out Tressel. He doesn't need to promote his program so I can't think he calls up reporters on a daily basis.

John L. Smith just doesn't strike me as someone who would gossip like this. I don't know why. He has a nice face.

We're down to Zook, Beilema, and Hoeppner. Beilema worked under Fry and Ferentz. So maybe he liked Hayden and not Kirk. But I doubt it. He's a new guy too and probably doesn't want to rock the boat too much.

And we're down to two. My money is on Ron Zook. He's relatively new to the Big Ten, so different personalities would be news to him. He has big expectations on him. So I could see him calling around trying to promote his program any way he could. What do you think? Does this look like a man you could trust?