Big Ten Media Days 2022: Ohio State’s bold expectations, Manny Diaz’s transition at Penn State among takeaways

The second day at Big Ten Media Days was for the heavyweights, as three of the projected prime 4 finishers within the East Division took the stage together with Big Ten West favourite Wisconsin. With Wednesday marking one month till the league’s season begins — a trio of groups can be in motion for Week 0 — the sense of urgency was actual because the convention seeks to provide its first nationwide title winner since Ohio State in 2014.

The Buckeyes had been among the packages below the highlight Wednesday, and fifth-year coach Ryan Day addressed his program’s expectations head on, noting that Ohio State’s aspirations are, as at all times, to “beat the group up north, win the Big Ten Championship, win the National Championship.”

“Those are our targets,” he stated, “and people issues did not occur final 12 months.”

To return to Big Ten supremacy, the Buckeyes will seemingly must beat that group up north, however they face extra obstacles than simply Michigan. Among the challengers can be Penn State, Michigan State and the Badgers, every of which had been represented on Day 2 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

As the convention turns the web page from speaking season to the start of precise soccer, listed here are the takeaways from half two of Big Ten Media Days:

Ohio State’s scars

Day stated he thinks his gamers are “just a little scarred … just a little calloused” after an 11-2 season that featured a Rose Bowl victory however no Big Ten East title and no College Football Playoff look. One of this system’s greatest strikes this offseason to treatment the shortcomings of 2021 was bringing in defensive coordinator Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State to assist enhance a Buckeyes’ unit that ranked tied for 59th nationally final season in complete protection.

If there was any doubt concerning the expectations for Knowles’ unit in 2022, Day cleared that up.

“New scheme, new coaches, all of these issues are new,” Day stated. “I believe going up in opposition to them within the spring and seeing what’s occurred this summer time and now into the preseason, it has been thrilling to observe. There’s simply an aggressiveness about them. But by way of expectations, yeah, we count on a top-10 protection . That’s what we wish. When we have performed our greatest soccer, it is as a result of we performed actually good protection, and we have been balanced and performed complementary soccer. We wish to clearly cease the run to start with after which go from there, however we count on a prime ten protection.”

Manny Diaz’s match at Penn State

The Buckeyes aren’t the one Big Ten East energy with a brand new defensive coordinator after Penn State coach James Franklin tabbed Manny Diaz to switch Brent Pry, who took the Virginia Tech head teaching job. The Nittany Lions completed tied for sixth nationally in scoring protection final season, permitting simply 17.3 factors per recreation, leaving Diaz with some large footwear to fill after a three-year run as Miami’s coach.

“He’s achieved it at a excessive stage at a bunch of various locations, however then additionally has been a head coach,” Franklin stated on the Big Ten Network. “There’s worth in these experiences from a management standpoint, from a giant image perspective.”

Franklin stated he known as Diaz the day after he was fired at Miami and wasn’t positive whether or not he’d be fascinated with speaking concerning the Penn State gig so quickly — however he was, maybe due partially to a preexisting relationship between the 2 .

“He’s a man that we additionally hung out with within the offseason with my earlier defensive coordinators speaking,” Franklin stated. “That’s what we do within the offseason, you speak to different coaches that come from an analogous philosophy and tree. That helped as effectively as a result of while you exit and rent any person who has a very completely different philosophy, there’s going to be rising pains with that . He’s hit the bottom operating.”

Aidan O’Connell poised for highlight

Diaz’s first problem at Penn State can be containing one of many league’s prime quarterbacks, because the Nittany Lions tackle Purdue and a budding star quarterback in Aidan O’Connell to start the 2022 season in a Thursday night time showdown on Sept. 1. O’Connell made the All-Big Ten West preseason group after throwing for 3,712 yards and 28 touchdowns final season.

Now, the sixth-year senior and former walk-on enters 2022 because the unquestioned starter for the Boilermakers after guiding Purdue to a 9-4 file and Music City Bowl win final season.

“Aidan has achieved a fantastic job,” stated Purdue coach Jeff Brohm. “It’s unlucky his head coach did not begin him at the start of the 12 months, however we had been in a position to determine that out. He’s actually earned his spot from Day 1. He continues to work laborious each single day. He’s turn out to be a fantastic chief .”

Week 0 benefit for Illinois

Aside from the plain Week 0 headliner between Nebraska and Northwestern in Ireland, the one different Big Ten group in motion on Aug. 27 is Illinois, which hosts Wyoming in a tune-up recreation earlier than enjoying at Indiana the next Friday. The recreation was initially scheduled for Week 3, however was eligible for the Week 0 slot since Wyoming is enjoying at Hawaii this season.

Teams that make the journey to Hawaii are allowed to start out the season earlier as a way of incentivizing the journey to such a far-flung locale. In this case, that rule occurred to learn the Illini although they are not those enjoying Hawaii, and Illinois coach Bret Bielema credited athletic director Josh Whitman with serving to facilitate the change.

“You see an enormous quantity of enchancment from gamers who’ve by no means performed the sport from Week 1 to Week 2,” Bielema stated. “So that is sort of why I used to be lobbying .. I assumed if we might play one recreation at residence, get our ft beneath us and play one recreation at residence and get our ft beneath us in Week 0 that was an enormous profit.”

Kenneth Walker’s lasting impression

A season after Wake Forest switch Kenneth Walker emerged as a breakout faculty soccer star with 1,636 yards dashing and 18 touchdowns, Michigan State is searching for one other switch to assist in the run recreation. The Spartans are bringing in 2020 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Jarek Broussard from Colorado to place Michigan State once more as one of many greatest potential benefactors from the portal.

With former four-star operating again Jalen Berger additionally transferring in after averaging 4.6 yards per keep on 84 makes an attempt in two seasons at Wisconsin, it is clear that Walker’s development with the Spartans right into a second spherical NFL Draft decide is resonating with operating backs searching for new properties.

“We simply inform a narrative,” Michigan State coach Mel Tucker stated. “I’m undecided how many individuals knew about him nationally. He noticed a possibility to return to Michigan State and get higher. His objective was to play within the National Football League and play in opposition to nice competitors.”

Rutgers in limbo

One of the urgent matters for Rutgers prematurely of the 2022 season is the standing of linebacker Drew Singleton, who’s awaiting a ruling on a petition that might permit him to play yet another season. Singleton declared for the NFL Draft and employed an agent, however then opted to take part within the Scarlet Knights’ bowl recreation after they obtained a late berth to the Gator Bowl.

Ultimately, he went unsigned as a free agent, maybe due partially to an ankle damage sustained within the bowl loss vs. Wake Forest. Had he not declared for the draft, Singleton could be eligible for a sixth season due to the additional 12 months of eligibility offered by COVID-19. As preseason camp approaches, nonetheless, the Scarlet Knights are nonetheless awaiting phrase on the standing of a participant who helped stabilize their protection with 54 tackles final season.

“We’re hopeful that cooler minds prevail,” stated Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. “We have an enchantment in. I’m hopeful he’ll be capable to come again. He desires to hunt his graduate diploma. I consider that — he does so many nice issues. He’s a child from inside metropolis Newark who’s overcome rather a lot . The man is making an attempt to do the correct factor. I hope that we’re in a position to do the correct factor and get him again, however we’re ready to listen to.”

Wisconsin will get a brand new offensive look

With Jim Leonhard as defensive coordinator and Bobby Engram as his first-year offensive coordinator, Wisconsin now has former NFL veterans calling the pictures on each side of the ball. Engram involves the Badgers after eight years on the Baltimore Ravens’ employees and is tasked with rejuvenating a Wisconsin unit that ranked one hundred and twentieth nationally final season in passing offense.

It’s his first stint in faculty soccer since he coached receivers for 2 seasons at Pittsburgh below present Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst. But Engram, who performed 14 seasons within the NFL, has some Big Ten roots as a Penn State alum and former star for the Nittany Lions.

“I’m actually enthusiastic about Bobby Engram having an opportunity to be with us and for me to get again and coach with him,” Chryst stated. “Had an opportunity to educate a few years with Bobby, and only a super quantity of respect. I believe one factor that I at all times really feel is essential while you add a coach is that you just sort of take into consideration your gamers. That’s the place I’m most excited, for our gamers to be round Bobby. I believe that it is as a lot the possibility for — the timing was proper for actually each of us, however for Bobby to return. I believe that with Bobby we’re a greater group. “

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