2022 Big Ten Media Days takeaways: Jim Harbaugh mum on Michigan QBs, Nebraska starts critical year in Ireland

The Big Ten cemented itself as one of many driving forces in the way forward for school athletics this summer time with its poaching of UCLA and USC from the Pac-12. But the Bruins and Trojans will not be becoming a member of the league till 2024, which implies it is enterprise as regular on the sector with the 2022 soccer season approaching. The league is in search of its first nationwide title since Ohio State gained all of it in 2014, and the Buckeyes once more appear like the league’s finest guess in 2022.

But with Michigan coming off a College Football Playoff look and all 14 of the league’s coaches again, there’s a hefty chase pack of high quality applications angling for place. Seven of these applications had been represented Tuesday at Big Ten Media Days because the two-day occasion kicked off, signaling that the Aug. 27 Week Zero showdown between Nebraska and Northwestern in Ireland is creeping ever nearer.

For now, it is nonetheless speaking season and there was loads mentioned inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Here are the most important takeaways from Day One, which featured Nebraska, Maryland, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Northwestern and Michigan, in addition to remarks from commissioner Kevin Warren.

Kevin Warren needs CFP growth

Warren addressed school soccer’s most well timed growth subject by leaving the door open for the Big Ten to increase past 16 groups, if they’re the proper match. But he additionally gave a robust opinion on the game’s different large growth subject: the potential for including groups to the College Football Playoff.

“I’m 100% supportive of the College Football Playoff growth,” he mentioned. “What is that proper quantity? We’ll determine it out. I’m assured we’ll get College Football Playoff growth resolved. I really feel very strongly that we have to open it as much as have a number of media companions, that we have to have from the school soccer standpoint.”

A 12-team proposal famously made the rounds final year that known as for six automated bids to convention champions and 6 at-large bids. However, that plan was scuttled amid consternation from stakeholders over the route of the game following the information that Oklahoma and Texas can be leaving the Big 12 and becoming a member of the SEC.

One potential plan reportedly making the rounds amongst Big Ten athletic administrators requires a 16-team playoff.

“Sixteen simply appears to be on the market,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith informed ESPN. “You cannot ignore it.”

Vintage Harbaugh on QB competitors

If you had been in search of readability from Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh on the Wolverines’ quarterback scenario, suppose once more. Michigan has new co-offensive coordinators this season in Sherrone Moore and Matt Weiss, who’re changing Josh Gattis, however the identical QB philosophy applies coming into preseason camp as final season.

“Both actually good,” Harbaugh mentioned of the two-man battle that includes senior Cade McNamara and sophomore JJ McCarthy. “They ask typically at different positions who’s going to play? I imply, the very best participant goes to play.”

While McNamara held down the beginning job final season on Michigan’s Big Ten title-winning crew, McCarthy appeared in 11 video games after coming into as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2021. While it will be a pure development for the Wolverines to extend McCarthy’s function, particularly throughout an early-season stretch in opposition to Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn, Harbaugh stays publicly noncommittal about such an concept.

“Cade McNamara goes to be actually powerful to beat out for the beginning quarterback job,” he mentioned. “JJ McCarthy goes to be actually powerful to beat out for the beginning quarterback job.”

Minnesota reunion

Following an unsuccessful one-year offensive coordinator stint at Penn State in 2020 and a year in an analyst function at West Virginia, Kirk Ciarrocca is again as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator after serving in the identical function from 2017 to 2019. In his first stint, Ciarrocca helped set up coach PJ Fleck’s program because the Gophers constructed to an 11-2 season in 2019. Now, the hope is that he may also help this system recapture a few of that magic after the Gophers fell to 69th in complete offense in 2020 and 99th in 2021 whereas totaling a 12-8 report over these seasons.

According to Fleck, any stress over Ciarrocca’s departure for a Big Ten foe is now water below the bridge.

“I’m unsure I would not have finished the identical factor Kirk did and take a chance,” Fleck mentioned. “He’s from Pennsylvania. He had some household issues going on, particularly along with his dad again house. It was a terrific alternative for him, particularly financially, and supported him 100%. We’ve had a terrific friendship that goes past soccer. But when the chance got here again to rent him, him and I, it was simple.”

Indiana’s QB battle

Following a 2-10 season and the switch of quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to Washington, Indiana has a quarterback battle on its arms coming into preseason camp. Missouri switch Connor Bazelak is in the combo after finishing 66.3% of his passes in 24 appearances for the Tigers over the previous three seasons. But so is fourth-year junior Jack Tuttle, who has performed in 14 video games for Indiana over the previous three seasons. While it is unsure who will win the job, coach Tom Allen made it clear that there will not be any waffling as soon as a starter emerges.

“Obviously we’ll have a starter named earlier than the opener, however the backside line is that, as soon as that individual is known as, he’ll be the starter,” Allen mentioned. “Not anticipating a twin scenario, however on the identical time, as we noticed final year and we realized up shut and private, that issues occur, accidents occur, and also you’d higher have multiple man that is going to have the ability to be your beginning quarterback in your program. So I really feel like we’ve that with a number of people.”

One participant who may have been in the combo is ​​Donaven McCulley, who was a four-star quarterback prospect in the Class of 2021 however is now taking part in receiver after showing in seven video games at quarterback as a real freshman final season.

“I’ll say that he got here to me,” Allen mentioned. “He needed to do that. We had a terrific speak collectively about that. He’s a extremely aggressive younger man and the most effective athletes on our soccer crew, and he needs to be on the sector. He needs to be taking part in. He needs to be concerned in particular groups and have these alternatives.”

Heading to Ireland

At lengthy final, the Nebraska vs. Northwestern sport in Ireland is lastly occurring after the worldwide assembly was scuttled final season amid COVID-19 points. While the headliner contest of Week Zero marks a uncommon alternative to play abroad, neither crew is in a terrific place to take a seat again and soak in the Irish ambiance.

Nebraska is coming off a 3-9 season, and fifth-year coach Scott Frost has but to make a bowl look. Northwestern is coming off a 3-9 season as nicely.

“We’re excited to go play in Ireland,” Frost mentioned. “There’s some challenges that go together with that. We’ve been planning for it for a very long time. We’re going to attempt to deal with it in addition to we are able to. Our gamers perceive that it is not a bowl journey. We didn’ t earn it. We’re going over there to play a soccer sport, and that is acquired to be the main target.”

For Northwestern, there shall be a revenge element as nicely. When the Wildcats did lastly play the Cornhuskers final season on Oct. 2, Nebraska gained 56-7 in its most lopsided victory since becoming a member of the Big Ten in 2011.

When talking to the Big Ten Network, Northwestern’s participant representatives senior defensive finish Adetomiwa Adebawore, junior cornerback Cameron Mitchell and junior offensive deal with Peter Skoronski every agreed that successful a convention title is how they’d outline success in 2022. Avenging that blowout Nebraska loss shall be critical if the Wildcats are going to satisfy that purpose and return to the Big Ten Championship sport for the second time in three seasons.

Most underrated participant in the nation?

Third-year Maryland coach Mike Locksley took it upon himself Tuesday to vouch for quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. The junior went by ups and downs final season as he stepped into the full-time beginning function, however Locksley sounded just like the supervisor for Tagovailoa’s Heisman marketing campaign as he appeared forward to the 2022 season.

“I do not suppose there is a extra underrated participant in the nation than Taulia Tagovailoa, and I’ll proceed to say it, as he is a man that has actually been the catalyst to make us go on offense,” Locksley mentioned.

Locksley needs to see development on the psychological aspect from Tagovailoa in 2022 because the Terrapins jockey to make consecutive bowl look following their Pinstripe Bowl victory final season.

“For Taulia, he is a man that places loads of strain on himself,” Locksley mentioned. “There’s no person that has extra expectations than he does. And what we have seen him do right here from I say midpoint of final season on, is I’ve seen a maturity in how he manages himself, whether or not it is a good play, not letting that good play get him too excessive, or if it is a unhealthy play, not letting it get him too low. We wish to preserve him at that impartial place. I see a development out of him. I see a consolation degree in our system. That’s in all probability one space we wish to see him enhance in is simply the emotional maturity, and we have seen that out of Taulia.”

Ferentz has fears in regards to the future

As the longest-tenured coach not solely in the Big Ten however in all of FBS soccer, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz took a second to supply an unsolicited evaluation of faculty soccer’s route. Ferentz, 66, is coming into his twenty fourth season main the Hawkeyes and sees some issues with the place the game is headed.

“I in all probability would not be the one individual to say I’m actually involved in regards to the path that school soccer is on proper now and desperate to see the place it heads and what route we find yourself taking,” Ferentz mentioned.

With mass transferring now the norm, and widespread angst over how the promise of title, picture and likeness compensation in the recruiting course of are used in recruiting now part of the panorama, Ferentz has actually seen some change since he started as a graduate assistant at at UConn in 1977.

“I feel you simply have to consider our gamers, take into consideration the voices that they hear, the issues that they need to take care of, the arms which are on them, the noise that they are listening to, and most of all, I feel the strain,” Ferentz mentioned. “That’s actually a priority I’ve as I take into consideration our soccer crew. I’ve lengthy felt that means.”

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