We’re now less than two weeks out from the start of the college football season and it’s getting to the point where coaches need to start making some tough decisions.
He are the latest news and notes from around the Big Ten.
Big Ten East:
Last week, we mentioned that the Hoosiers are in the midst of a three-man quarterback battle and have yet to name a starter. Like everyone else, the Hoosiers don’t have much time to figure out their quarterback situation. That being said, whoever is the quarterback will have a potential nice weapon in TE Peyton Hendershot, a former Penn State target.
There may not be a program more snake-bitten at quarterback than Maryland. While Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson is expected to be their starting quarterback come August 31 against Howard, quarterback Max Bortenschlager who has seen quite a bit of playing time over the last three seasons is set to miss eight weeks with a stress fracture.
Last week, we shared that safety Ambry Thomas was out with an undiagnosed injury or illness. Now, it’s officially come out that Thomas will be out indefinetely with colitis. Colitis is a digestive disease that can cause severe inflammation or ulcers in the digestive system.
The biggest piece of news I heard on Michigan State came from the tremendous “The Audible with Stew and Bruce” podcast hosted by The Athletic writers Steve Mandel and Bruce Feldman.
Toward the end of their most recent episode, Feldman dropped a nugget around the 37:55 mark that there are quite a few people he’s talked to who believe that Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio could step down from the program following 2019. Could we see another iconic Big Ten East coach leave their program in back-to-back years?
On Monday, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day did the expected and named former five-star quarterback and former Penn State commit Justin Fields as the Buckeyes starter in 2019.
Last week, we mentioned that the quarterback situation at Rutgers could look interesting in the near future and now there’s officially a quarterback battle in Piscataway. Texas Tech transfer McLane Carter has begun taking snaps with the first team offense and is in a battle with Artur Sitkowski, who of course lead the nation in interceptions as a freshman last season.
Big Ten West:
The biggest news to come out of the Illinois camp this past week is that the Illini’s top-rated recruit from their 2019 recruiting class, Marquez Beason is out for the season with a knee injury. Beason was a top-100 recruit in the 2019 recruiting class. Additionally, the Illini were introduced to their brand new football facilities that had a price tag of almost $80 million.
All is quiet in Iowa City. Which is not bad news for the Hawkeyes, who have high expectations in 2019. That being said, the Hawkeyes defensive line will be one of the best in the country in 2019 but as The Gazette writer Marc Morehouse puts it, “a new year will bring new roles.”
Like in Iowa City, it’s been a quiet camp out in Minneapolis for the most part which is probably good for the Gophers who are entering a “pivotal season” under head coach P.J Fleck.
You’re probably noticing a trend that Big Ten teams, like most teams across the country anymore, don’t let any information out of their camps. Nebraska, is one of those teams as well. The Huskers, for better or worse, areexpected to be one of the Big Ten’s top programs in 2019. Scott Frost’s men went 4-8 last season but were ranked in this AP preseason poll at No. 24, the first time they’ve been ranked in the preseason poll since 2014. That being said, Omaha.com writer Evan Bland discussed at length the Huskers appearance on BTN’s camp tour and a few notes that came out of it.
The biggest takeaway out of Northwestern’s camp so far is that the Wildcats have yet to name a starting quarterback. Clemson transfer and former five-star recruit Hunter Johnson is currently battling redshirt senior T.J. Green, the son of former NFL quarterback Trent Green. No starter has been named and time is ticking down on the Pat Fitzgerald to name one ahead of the season opener at Stanford on August 31.
Purdue was looking for big things out of running back Tario Fuller entering this season but those expectations will be put on hold. Fuller, went down with an injury in the Boilermakers second scrimmage of the fall this past weekend. The injury has been described as “significant” in nature.
The Badgers have yet to name a starting quarterback and the media and fans will most likely not know who the starter is until the Badgers kick off their 2019 season on August 30 against South Florida. According to Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal, the Badgers are set to hold a closed scrimmage on Monday and will probably decide their starting quarterback following that scrimmage.
Idaho went 4-8 last season in their first season after dropping back down to the FCS ranks, but in 2019 the Vandals are “bigger and faster.” There are certainly higher expectations inside the Kibbie Dome this season.
We legitimately couldn’t find any news that was newsworthy to come out of Buffalo. Though it doesn’t seem that they have yet found their starting quarterback so that will be worth watching over the course of the next two weeks.
The Panthers held their second scrimmage of camp on Saturday and were able to find out more at a few key position battles. Pitt entered the weekend still needing to find its starting linebackers in addition to a key position battle at wide receiver.