Roundup of Big Ten spring football games held Saturday
Michigan was one of six Big Ten football teams to hold its spring game on Saturday.
If you missed it, you can find AnnArbor.com’s complete coverage of the Wolverines’ final spring practice here.
We’ve also compiled the following links to give you a look at the storylines that emerged during Saturday's spring games at Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern and Penn State.
INDIANA First-year coach Kevin Wilson unveiled the offensive system he used during a successful stint as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator, but nothing was settled in the four-way battle to replace Hoosiers quarterback Ben Chappell.
The Indianapolis Stars’ Terry Hutchens thinks sophomore Dusty Kiel is “the leader in the clubhouse heading into the summer workouts.” Kiel started with the first team and completed 14 of 27 passes for 196 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Former Michigan quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, now in the same position at Indiana, hinted that the coaching staff knows which way it’s leaning. He told the Chicago Tribune: “Are we ready to name a starter? I can’t tell you that. We have an idea of where we’re going, but I won’t let that out yet.”
Position battles and new offense aside, LaMond Pope of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette wrote that “this spring was as much about changing the mindset of a program that has won three Big Ten games in the last three years as installing a new system.”
IOWA The biggest news coming out of Iowa City was the proposed ban on vendors outside Kinnick Stadium on game days. But on the field, wide receiver Keenan Davis was turning heads with some acrobatic catches, according to the Des Moines Register.
“It’s his time,” coach Kirk Ferentz said of Davis. “He needs to play like a starter, (and) he’s certainly more than capable.”
Along with Davis, the Iowa City Press-Citizen says the “playmakers are in place” with quarterback James Vandenberg, wideout Marvin McNutt and running back Marcus Coker.
The question is whether the Hawkeyes’ defense, which lost three starters from its defensive line, can stop the run and pressure quarterbacks.
NEBRASKA Redshirt freshman quarterback Brion Carnes outplayed starter Taylor Martinez in the Cornhuskers’ annual Red-White game, according to The Associated Press. And Jamal Turner, a January enrollee who will be a true freshman in the fall, caught four passes for 93 yards and had two big returns.
The Omaha World-Herald reports Nebraska was keeping the revamped offensive schemes its worked on this spring under wraps in front of 66,784 at Memorial Stadium.
The Nebraska State Paper says coach Bo Pelini promised “vanilla” and that’s what fans got. But there was some humor. The Red team won, 32-29, with a little sabotage by a field goal holder.
NORTHWESTERN Little was on display in Evanston, where 17 players -- including quarterback Dan Persa -- missed the spring scrimmage with injuries and coach Pat Fitzgerald held out seven others, according to ESPN.com.
The Chicago Sun Times reports that wide receiver Charles Brown, Fitzgerald’s choice for offensive MVP this spring, finished strong.
Most important for the Wildcats, the Chicago Tribune reports that Persa should be ready for Northwestern’s summer practices.
PENN STATE Rob Bolden started at quarterback, failed to complete any of his five passes and then told reporters he’s still not sure he’ll be at Penn State in the fall. He plans to finish the semester before deciding with his family, the Associated Press reported.
“”Now that the spring game is out of the way, I’ve still got three weeks left in the semester,” he said. “I’ve still got time to play with.”
Paul Sokolski of the Wilkes Barre Times Leader says the play of Matt McGloin should earn him the starting QB spot, anyway.
McGloin threw a 17-yard touchdown pass and led another scoring drive in a 10-0, rain-shortened victory for the White team.
PREVIOUS SPRING GAME Purdue held its spring game on April 9. The big news was Carson Wiggs’ 67-yard field goal and a new “Purdue Pete” mascot being mocked. The Indianapolis Star also reports that quarterback Rob Henry seems to have kept his starting position in front of Robert Marve.
UPCOMING SPRING GAMES Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin will play their spring games on Saturday. Michigan State’s is on April 30.