State head coach Ryan Day responds to a question
during the Big Ten Conference NCAA college
football media days Thursday, July 18, 2019, in
CHICAGO — Michigan
State and Ohio State each placed two players on the
preseason all-Big Ten team announced Thursday.
Junior running back J.K.
Dobbins and defensive end Chase Young were the Buckeyes
and linebacker Joe Bachie and defensive end Kenny
Willekes, two seniors, were named for the Spartans. Penn
State junior defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos was the
fifth player on the East Division team.
The West list included
Northwestern junior linebacker Paddy Fisher, Wisconsin
junior running back Jonathan Taylor, Iowa junior
defensive end A.J. Epenesa, Nebraska sophomore
quarterback Adrian Martinez and Purdue sophomore wide
receiver/return specialist Rondale Moore.
A media panel selected
the 10-member list, which included six defensive
It's never too early for
some Ohio State-Michigan sniping.
Hours after Wolverines
coach Jim Harbaugh took a swipe at former Buckeyes coach
Urban Meyer's legacy, Ohio State defensive end Jonathon
Cooper played along.
Asked about the hiring of
co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who spent 13
seasons under different coaches at Michigan, including
the entire Harbaugh tenure as defensive line coach,
Cooper gave an answer that would warm the heart of Woody
"Coach Mattison is
great," Cooper said. "Him being from the team
up north didn't affect us that much because he came to
coach us. We know that he's a great coach and has a
great legacy with the team up north."
Hayes famously refused to
mention his rival by name as he and then-Michigan coach
Bo Schembechler turned the schools' annual game into one
of the country's biggest grudge matches.
Harbaugh assessed Meyer's career in a podcast released
by The Athletic: "Urban Meyer's had a winning
record. Really phenomenal everywhere he's been. But
also, controversy follows everywhere he's been."
Meyer stepped down at the
end of last season after being dogged by criticism
surrounding a former assistant accused of domestic
violence — a scandal that blew up at Big Ten media
days a year ago.
Harbaugh, who is 0-4
against the Buckeyes since returning to coach his alma
mater, is scheduled to speak with reporters Friday.
party for Big Ten media days took a longer-than-expected
route to Chicago thanks early morning thunderstorms.
The Huskers' charter
flight Thursday was delayed and, once it finally was in
the air, was forced to land in Peoria, Illinois, about
170 southwest of Chicago. The weather ruled out a
Chicago landing, which meant another flight to Gary,
Indiana, and a car trip into Chicago.
That second flight was a
bumpy one, too.
"There were a couple
of times where the plane dipped and our stomachs
dropped, too," quarterback Adrian Martinez said.
"Me and (defensive end) Khalil (Davis) were
laughing most of the time."
The third player in the
party, linebacker Mohamed Barry, wasn't as entertained.
"The turbulence on
that last one was pretty bad," he said. "It
seemed like we were everywhere today."
None of the players said
they felt they were in any danger.
Michigan State welcomes
back most of the Big Ten's stingiest defense, the one
that allowed only 16.6 points per game in league play
All eyes will be on the
offense to improve as the Spartans try to better its 7-6
finish from a year ago. There will be no doubt about who
will be under center if coach Mark Dantonio can help it.
Brian Lewerke led the
Spartans to a 10-3 season as a sophomore while throwing
for almost 2,800 yards and 20 touchdowns against just
seven interceptions. Injuries limited him to 10 starts
last fall and his performance suffered, too. He finished
the year with eight touchdown passes and 11 picks as
Michigan State's offense managed just averaged 17.2
points in Big Ten play.
Rocky Lombardi won two of
his three starts in Lewerke's place, but Dantonio said
the redshirt sophomore will start the season as the
"Right now, Brian is
our No. 1 quarterback," he said, adding the senior
is "healthier, bigger and stronger."
Defensive end Raequan
Williams, one of three defensive players who joined
Dantonio in Chicago, agreed.
"We were watching
some of the throws he made in the spring and in OTAs,"
Williams said, "and it was like, 'man, we got our
guy back.' We're excited."
Life in the Big Ten East
hasn't exactly been a dream for Indiana, but the
Hoosiers are hoping a new offensive coordinator with a
reputation as a turnaround guy will help.
Kalen DeBoer joined the
team in January after stops at Fresno State and Eastern
Michigan saw each program's offensive fortunes improve
Fresno State jumped from
120th to 47th nationally in total offense in his two
seasons there and went 22-6 after going 4-20 the
previous two seasons. At Eastern Michigan, the Eagles
jumped from 111th to 35th in the same category and
posted their first winning record since 1995 during
DeBoer's final season.
Putting a productive,
unpredictable offense on the field might be the best
chance for Indiana as it annually faces the likes of
Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State in
"We can be that
different team, scoring a lot of points and keeping
defenses guessing," receiver Nick Westbrook said.
Westbrook first got an
idea of DeBoer's play calling while watching film of
Fresno State against an opponent last season.
"I just remembered
thinking how good that offense was and how well the
receivers did in it," he said. "When I first
heard that he was coming, I was pretty excited. I think
he can provide that kind of excitement here."
The Hoosiers ranked 12th
in the 14-team conference in total offense last season.
Indiana has reached a bowl game only twice since 2007.
Illinois coach Lovie
Smith was at an alumni event in Texas in late May when
he learned junior defensive end Bobby Roundtree had been
seriously injured in a swimming accident. He spent most
of the next several weeks with the player and his family
in suburban Tampa, Florida.
devastating," Smith said. "You hurt for him as
a parent, you hurt for him and his family. You go from
shock to 'how can we make it better?' And that's what
we've done. Our university really stepped up to be there
for Bobby and help him financially and in any other way
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound
Roundtree suffered what the school called a severe
spinal cord injury. The university said he is doing
rehabilitation work in Chicago and the school hopes he
can return to Champaign to continue as a student.
"It's a daily
process and he's going through it and attacking it the
way he attacked becoming one of the best defensive ends
in football," Smith said.
Roundtree was one of the
best players on the team, leading the Illini with 7.5
sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. He was expected to be
one of the Big Ten's best pass-rushers this season.