All 14 Big Ten head coaches traveled to Chicago for Day One of Media Days. As always, Black Shoe Diaries was not there. We have actual, real jobs.
But our parents do have television in their basements, and BTN plays the coaches interviews on loop thru 10 am the next morning. We've taken advantage of this fabulous technology and medium to deliver crisp, day-old analysis. Following are BSD's impressions of each Big Ten coach's monologue and question and answer session, in order of appearance.
Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald
Last Year: 5-7 (1-7)
Monologue Summary: We were injured. We have a 3.0 GPA across all classes.
Monologue Rating: 7.5/10. Calm, reasonably confident, moderate sense of humor, still a bit stiff and youthful.
US Army Rank: brand new Captain of a company; his first big command.
JoePa's take: "He's a good young coach; has his priorities in order; makes his kids hit their books and pass their boards.....you know that's a tough job he's got, in a lot of ways. But I think he's got his priorities in order."
Q&A Summary: Venric Mark, Trevor Semian are good. We stunk on O-line last year and hope to improve. Improve our consistency. The Union jazz has brought us together as a team.
Purdue's Darell Hazell
Last Year: 1-11 (0-8)
Monologue Summary: Wow - last year was an experience. I exhibit PTSD symptoms. We'll be improved.
Monologue Rating: 6.0/10. Solid, but a little too robotic. Not enough personality, zero emotion.
US Army Rank: 1st Lieutenant. Platoon leader.
JoePa: "Well, he inherited a really tough situation there. After Joe (Tiller) retired, the mustache guy....what's his name....what did you say? Dope? Hope? Things didn't work out, and young Darrell just didn't have a lot of speed. But he worked with little Jimmy Tressell, if I remember correctly. So, I wish him luck in getting things turned around."
Q&A Summary: forget the summary, and dig this quote - "last year at this time we couldn't even call a play." I find that totally believable.
Wisconsin's Gary Andersen
Last Year: 9-4 (6-2)
Monologue Summary: We're young, and I'll name 25 different players on my current roster to prove it.
Monologue Rating: 7.0/10 Smart, straight-forward, self-assured. Too encyclopedic. Rote.
US Army Rank: Major, Division staff
JoePa: "I don't know Gary that well. I recruited his uncle, Charlie. His mom served vegetable lasagna, which was a perfect metaphor for Charlie's ability as a half back.......we played Wisconsin back in the late 50's, when I was still an assistant. They've always had big linemen."
Q&A Summary: You ask a leading question, I'll contradict it with my answer.
Illinois' Tim Beckman
Last Year: 4-8 (1-7)
Monologue Summary: (Brick Tamland got a coaching gig)
Monologue Rating: Zero point zero. And I'm not just writing that to be mean.
US Army Rank: PFC, and Lord help you if he's in your squad.
JoePa: "Look, I've got enough problems worrying about my own team. I can't be coaching anybody else's team."
Q&A Summary: "I'm getting canned about 12 weeks from today."
Michigan's Brady Hoke
Last Year: 7-6 (3-5)
Monologue Summary: I'm irritable today.
Monologue Rating: 5.5/10. Brady came prepared for battle, rather than to entertain.
US Army Rank: Captain, in 2nd company command
JoePa: "Sometimes you're in the mood to chat. Sometimes you're not. But I like what he's doing at Michigan. He's put a good staff together. Mattison's a heckuva coach."
Q&A Summary: Hey - we're still Michigan. And hot seat? Hey - why do you coach? Huh? Why, you mutha ****er?
Rutgers' Kyle Flood
Last Year: 6-7 (3-5)
Monologue Summary: I prepared. I rehearsed. I showed well. My message? We belong here.
Monologue Rating: 8/10. Smart, hit all of his talking points unlike Beckman, didn't stutter like Beckman, was happy-edgy rather than angry-edgy like Hoke.
US Army Rank: Major, divisional staff. But probably S2/G2, rather than Gary Andersen's S4/G4
JoePa: "Rutgers is a good, tough, hard-nosed team. We're gonna have to play our best, or I'm telling you they'll lick us." //beats Rutgers by 4 touchdowns.
Q&A Summary: Kidding aside, Flood did a nice job. He's illogically talking about competing for championships, and citing statistical evidence to support his illogical assertion - but, hey, at least it's a reasoned argument. I can dig that.
Minnesota's Jerry Kill
Last Year: 8-5 (4-4)
Monologue Summary: (loud snoring)
Monologue Rating: 6.0/10. Jerry's not a salesman. He'll under-promise and over-deliver.
US Army Rank: Lt.Col, battalion commander of a divisional support unit
JoePa: "There are still coaches speaking? This is like the 3rd overtime in the Orange Bowl. I'm ready for bed. Good night."
Q&A Summary: I like our team, though I'm not sure we can use the forward pass yet.
Michigan State's Mark Dantonio
Last Year: 13-1 (9-0)
Monologue Summary: //tries to hide s**t-eating grin
Monologue Rating: 7.0/10. "I'm in control, and you bore me."
US Army Rank: Brigadier General, division commander
Q&A Summary: "You mentioned the intensity of the Michigan rivalry. How do you keep the intensity when you've won 5 out of 6?" //Dantonio almost busts up. I think he may have planted that question. That's a general's move.
Nebraska's Bo Pelini
Last Year: 9-4 (5-3)
Monologue Summary: I prepared some talking points, but I didn't rehearse, and now they're out of order, and I'm rambling.
Monologue Rating: 5.5/10
US Army Rank: Staff Sgt, squad or platoon leader
Q&A Summary: Sure, you can ask about the cat. He's napping in my room. See? I'm not always berserk.
Maryland's Randy Edsall
Last Year: 7-6 (3-5)
Monologue Summary: (I missed this one. **** it.)
Monologue Rating: N/A
US Army Rank: N/A
Q&A Summary: Are you going to lose to James Franklin because he's better at recruiting? Well....yes.
Ohio State's Urban Meyer
Last Year: 12-2 (8-1)
Monologue Summary: (I missed this one too. Sorry).
ed note: it's okay. I summarized it for you:
Monologue Rating: N/A
US Army Rank: N/A
Q&A Summary: N/A
Penn State's James Franklin
Last Year: 7-5 (4-4)
Monologue Summary: Oh, I'm good.
Monologue Rating: 7.5/10. I prepared. I rehearsed. I know what I'm doing, and I'm engaging every one of you. I own you reporters, and you all wish you could hang out with me after this. Maybe I'll let you tag along.
US Army Rank: Major, assigned to Pentagon
Q&A Summary: Oh, you're so dreamy, coach! Aww, you are too, you little reporter fellow!
ed note: for bullet points on Franklin's press conference on the first day of Big Ten Media days, check out our twitter feed.
Indiana's Kevin Wilson
Last Year: 5-7 (3-5)
Monologue Summary: "you still awake?"
Monologue Rating: 5.0/10. It's tough to follow Franklin.
US Army Rank: company 1st SGT
Q&A Summary: We're gonna try to play some defense for a few series this year.
Iowa's Kirk Ferentz
Last Year: 8-5 (5-3)
Monologue Summary: I'll give you nothing, and you'll like it.
Monologue Rating: 7/10. Personable, relaxed, in control, saying nothing much.
US Army Rank: stuck at Colonel, but a damn good one.
Q&A Summary: Good player. Good this. Good that. Yes. I think so. //chews gum, squints, acts coy, knows he has a pretty good hand this year.