Ten takes on Day 1 of Big Ten football media days, when the league’s coaches did a whole lot of gabbing:
1. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer knows star quarterback Braxton Miller has a history of being dinged up. But man, can that cat run. Will Meyer dare open up his offense to the legs of Heisman Trophy candidate Miller in 2014? “I think we’re going to try to not think,” Meyer said. Translation: Heck yes.
2. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio has to love where he sits with the Rose Bowl champion Spartans. He also knows the galaxy still sees Ohio State above all else in this league. “I think we’re a little bit more of the hunted,” Dantonio said. “That’s a good place to be, but it’s also a very precarious place to be as well.” Did we mention the Buckeyes?
3. Illinois’ Tim Beckman is clear on former Bolingbrook state title-winning quarterback Aaron Bailey, whom some believe is headed for a position switch. “Aaron Bailey’s a quarterback. That’s what Aaron Bailey was recruited for. That’s what Aaron Bailey wants to do.” Put big money on Wes Lunt to start.
4. Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen isn’t going to name a starting quarterback any time soon. The competition between Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy might run until the moments before the season opener in Houston against (gulp) LSU. My take? Stave has the edge now, but the Badgers staff would love to see McEvoy — a big-time athlete — rightfully steal it.
5. Penn State’s James Franklin on sophomore QB Christian Hackenberg: “I think Christian’s got a lot of tools, there’s no question about it.” Um, yeah. More tools than anyone else in this league, and maybe in all of college football. Remember that name, NFL draftniks.
6. Gotta love Nebraska’s Bo Pelini. “We’ve tried to turn over every stone in the offseason, look at everything we can do to make ourselves a better football team,” he said. News flash: In Pelini’s six seasons at the helm, the Huskers have finished with four losses — wait for it — six times. There’s no magic stone.
7. Michigan’s Brady Hoke: “We’re encouraged by the qualities we have seen from our football team and throughout the spring and throughout the summer.” Translation: still looking up at the Buckeyes and the Spartans.
8. Rutgers’ Kyle Flood: “As I look at our football program and I look at the Big Ten conference, I see a tremendous marriage.” Tell it to us after the Scarlet Knights finish last in the East division.
9. What does Purdue’s Darrell Hazell have to say after an 0-8 Big Ten debut? “Our guys are walking around with a lot more confidence. There’s a new Boilermaker attitude on campus.” Tell it to us after Boiler Up loses in Champaign on Oct. 4.
10. Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald said “there’s no more unified football program in the country.” Hmm. “Unified.” Almost sounds like “union.”