Big Ten Media Days Underway in Chicago
3:14 p.m. EST — James Franklin’s media day availability is wrapping up, as is the players. Here’s some quotes from Franklin’s main news conference:
- When asked about the team’s depth issues, Franklin said he’s working hard to field a team that competes. “One of the advantages we have as a large state school is our run on program,” he said. Franklin also mentioned that over 175 students came to open tryouts. But he emphasizes that the best players will play, saying “We don’t guarantee playing time to anyone. Guys are gonna have to earn it.”
- Franklin had nothing but the highest praise for his quarterback, Christian Hackenberg. “He’s humble, he’s hungry, and he’s open to learning,” Franklin said. “I think the game of college football has changed. Everyone’s looking for an athlete, and I think Christian is one of those guys.” Franklin also gave former head coach Bill O’Brien a nod for teaching Hackenberg last year and setting a good foundation.
- Franklin said the team’s focus is playing UCF and nothing else. He said the team will leave on Tuesday night before the game, after all of the players are done with Tuesday’s classes. He also mentioned that the athletic department has reached out to Notre Dame and Navy, two teams that have played in Ireland before.
1:54 p.m. EST — Coach Franklin is getting ready for his first #B1GMediaDay by signing some autographs for Penn State fans who were able to make the trip to Chicago.
1:45 p.m. EST — Meyer talked a bit about Larry Johnson, the team’s new defensive line coach. “We replaced [former DL coach Mike Vrabel] with a top shelf coach, and a very good recruiter. The players love him already. He walked into a great situation.”
1:35 p.m. EST — Urban Meyer is at the podium right now. Next up is James Franklin; he’ll take the stage at 2 p.m. For the quickest updates from his press conference, follow @OnwardState.
1:09 p.m. EST – Nebraska’s Bo Pelini confirmed: His famous cat is indeed in Chicago! On a serious note, he talks about early signing periods and how they would be beneficial for both student-athletes and schools. “I think there are some things that could be done that could improve the process,” Pelini said, referring to early signing periods and his wish to eliminate National Signing Day altogether.
12:31 p.m. EST — Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is at the podium now, and says “Hard work, again, will continued to be emphasized” when talking about his team’s potential Rose Bowl win hangover. The Spartans will head to Happy Valley for the first time since 2010 on November 29, the last regular-season game for both teams. “I think both divisions are very well represented,” says Dantonio, talking about the competition in the Big Ten and his team’s rivalries with Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. “There will be some great games.”
12:26 p.m. EST – James Franklin is in the building, along with Sam Ficken, Bill Belton, and Mike Hull. (via @PennStateFball)
12:05 p.m. EST — After a quick break, Rutgers’ Kyle Flood is on the podium now. It’s his first press conference in front of the Big Ten media, and he’s already making headlines. Flood said he wants to dominate recruiting in the “State of Rutgers,” which apparently includes Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Florida. Jerry Kill of Minnesota will be up next.
11:33 a.m. EST — Brady Hoke is now on the stage, and talks about how the East is extremely competitive. “At the end of the day, what we want to do is compete,” says Hoke. “As far as we’re concerned, we’re looking forward to it.” The Big Ten East division features Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana, and of course Penn State.
11:26 a.m. EST – Tim Beckman, the head coach at Illinois, is at the podium now. And that’s all we have to say about that.
11:08 a.m. EST — Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen talks about the improvement of RB Melvin Gordon and the preseason QB battle, and insists that “every game is a tough game” despite a schedule that, on the surface, looks easier than most. He mentions the Badgers’ opening game vs. LSU — arguably the Big Ten’s highest-profile non-conference game. Wisconsin doesn’t play Penn State for the first time since 2010, and also misses Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State.
10:54 a.m. EST — Here’s a look at this year’s Penn State football yearbook, featuring the seniors.
10:37 a.m. EST – Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald is the fiirst coach on the podium. He starts by welcoming James Franklin, as well as Rutgers and Maryland, to the Big Ten. He mentions that, despite “distractions” with the unionization debate, his team had well over a 3.0 GPA, and claims that he may have “the best “STUDENT-athletes” in college football,” and ends his time with this: “I believe there’s no more unified football program in the country.”
Greetings from Chicago! We’re here in the Windy City for the 2014 Big Ten Media Days. Over the next two days, coaches, ADs, and players from around the Big Ten will descend upon the Hilton Chicago to talk all things B1G.
This page will be the headquarters for our Media Days coverage. We’ll frequently update this live blog with quotes, tweets, pictures, and analysis from the event. Our new sports editor Alex Robinson (@ARobinsonPSU) is in Chicago and will be providing updates here, on Onward State’s Twitter, and our new Onward State Sports Twitter account.
While new coach James Franklin has made a big impact in Happy Valley already, this will be the first time he’s spoken in front of the rest of the Big Ten media. He’ll be speaking at 2 p.m. on Monday.
This will be the first official event as members of the Big Ten for newcomers Maryland and Rutgers. The two schools officially joined the conference on July 1.
All 14 schools are sending three players to speak as well. Penn State will send three seniors: running back Bill Belton, linebacker Mike Hull, and kicker Sam Ficken. Here’s a list of the player attendees from the 13 other schools:
- Illinois — Simon Cvijanovic (OT), Jon Davis (TE), Austin Teitsma (DL)
- Indiana — David Cooper (LB), Nate Sudfeld (QB), Shane Wynn (WR)
- Iowa — Carl Davis (DT), Brandon Scherff (OL), Mark Weisman (RB)
- Maryland — C.J. Brown (QB), Stefon Diggs (WR), Jeremiah Johnson (DB)
- Michigan — Frank Clark (DE), Devin Gardner (QB), Jake Ryan (LB)
- Michigan State — Shilique Calhoun (DE), Connor Cook (QB), Kurtis Drummond (FS)
- Minnesota — David Cobb (RB), Mitch Leidner (QB), Cedric Thompson (S)
- Nebraska — Ameer Abdullah (RB), Kenny Bell (WR), Corey Cooper (S)
- Northwestern — Ibraheim Campbell (S), Collin Ellis (LB), Trevor Siemian (QB)
- Ohio State — Michael Bennett (DL), Jeff Heuerman (TE), Braxton Miller (QB)
- Purdue — Raheem Mostert (RB), Sean Robinson (LB), Ryan Russell (DE)
- Rutgers — Michael Burton (FB), Darius Hamilton (DL), Lorenzo Waters (DB)
- Wisconsin — Melvin Gordon (RB), Rob Havenstein (OT), Warren Herring (DL)
Things get underway at 10 a.m. Central time (11 a.m. Eastern.) Both Big Ten Network and ESPNU will have live broadcasts of Monday’s press conference. While Chicago is in the central time zone, our time stamps will be directed to eastern time to avoid confusion.