Saturday, July 12, 2008

Focusing on Football in the Big Ten

The 37th annual Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon will be July 25th. All eleven Big Ten coaches and 33 players will be on hand in Chicago for the event. Brent Musberger of ABC and ESPN will host the event.

Big Ten Conference will have new Coordinator of Officials beginning in 2009.
Let's hope the current coordinator goes out on a positive note. Thankfully, the Big Ten Conference learned from the past and introduced instant replay several seasons ago. But, as the speed of the game increases on the field, the human call gets tested more and more.

"Big Ten's top ten defenders touted for Bronko Nagurski Trophy. Speaking of the Golden Gophers, 10 conference standouts were named May 12 to the watch list of a trophy which bears the name of a former Minnesota legend. The 10 league representatives named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which honors the National Defensive Player of the Year, were Illinois' Vontae Davis, Indiana's Greg Middleton, Iowa's Mitch King, Michigan's Terrance Taylor, Northwestern's John Gill, Ohio State's Marcus Freeman, Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis, Penn State's Maurice Evans, and Wisconsin's Matt Shaughnessy. The Buckeyes' Laurinaitis captured the award in 2006 and was a finalist in 2007."

"Three Conference Snappers the "Centers" of Attention. A trio of Big Ten players was named May 7 to the Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List, which honors the nation's top center. Joining 41 other centers were Indiana's Alex Perry, Ohio State's Jim Cordle and Penn State's A.Q. Shipley."

"Big Ten Linemen also on a Watch List. A dozen conference linemen have been named to the 2008 Outland Trophy Watch List, which honors the nation's top interior lineman. This year's Big Ten candidates include Illinois' Xavier Fulton and Ryan McDonald, Iowa's Mitch King and Matt Kroul, Michigan's Terrance Taylor, Northwestern's John Gill, Ohio State's Alex Boone and Steve Rehring, Penn State's Gerald Cadogan and A.Q. Shipley, Purdue's Sean Sester, and Wisconsin's Kraig Urbik. The award has been given to a Big Ten player in three of the last five years. Iowa's Robert Gallery won in 2003, while Minnesota's Greg Eslinger and Wisconsin's Joe Thomas claimed the honored in 2005 and 2006, respectively."

"Lots of impact defenders on Lott's List. Six Big Ten defenders were named to the watch list for the 2008 Lott Trophy, awarded to the nation's top defensive impact player. Conference honorees included Illinois' Brit Miller, Indiana's Greg Middleton, Iowa's Mitch King, Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis, and Wisconsin's Jonathan Casillas. Among the 42 players, seven repeat candidates received recognition, including Casillas and 2007 finalist Laurinaitis."

"Four signal callers honored by JOHNNY U. Four Big Ten quarterbacks were named to the candidates this week for the 2008 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation to the best senior college quarterback in the nation. Congratulations and best of luck to Michigan State's Brian Hoyer, Northwestern's C.J. Bacher, Ohio State's Todd Boeckman and Purdue's Curtis Painter."

"Ohio State's Trapasso hoping to be the "GUY": Ohio State's A.J. Trapasso was one of five punters named to the preseason watch list for the 2008 Ray Guy Award, which identifies the nation's top collegiate punter. Trapasso, who finished last year with 2,049 punting yards, joins Arizona's Keenyn Crier, Ball State's Chris Miller, Cincinnati's Kevin Huber, and Utah's Louie Sakoda on the initial list."

Iowa's punter Ryan Donahue is only a sophomore. Look for this young man to be a player to watch in the near future. He appears to be on track to be a candidate to join Iowa's top punters dating back to 1974. Reggie Roby (1979-82) and Nick Gallery (1993-96) rank as two of Iowa's very best punters. Donahue earned Big Ten player of the week honors as a freshman on 8 kicks for a 51.6 average in Iowa's win in '07 vs. Michigan State.
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