Big Ten football media days kicks off its second and final day on Thursday, and there was plenty to talk about with the coaches who were up on the main stage today. Veteran coaches like Mike Locksley, Tom Allen, P.J. Fleck, and Jim Harbaugh were joined by newbies to the conference, Matt Rhule and Luke Fickell. And first-year head coach Ryan Walters.
Of course, Fickell isn’t really a newbie to the conference, but this will be the first time he’s back after an extended exile to a Group of Five school, Cincinnati.
Tom Allen kicks off day 2 of Big Ten football media days
- Allen mentions that the Hoosiers had a lot of close losses. Nebraska football fans can certainly relate. Also, know that doesn’t mean they’re gonna be better this year.
- Asked if its hard to build confidence with a young team with such a tough opponent. He says that he’s been here before and that a tough first game can lead to toughness and “grow up real fast.”
- Allen says that he’d like to build up to a Big Ten football opponent, but he doesn’t have that luxury. Additionally, it’s challenging to go from practice to such a high-level opponent.
- When he names a starting quarterback, says he knows as a defensive coach, it’s important that they be dual threat. “We want to be able to have it at that position.”
- Allen says he’s excited about the new defensive coordinator because he knows it’s important that he not call the defensive anymore. “it’s important for me to be the best head coach I can be.” Coaches always say this, and it doesn’t seem like it’s ever true.
- Allen has mentioned bringing in guys from the portal more often than before quite a few times.
- Says it’s awesome that the conference is adding USC and UCLA. I gotta think he’d preferred to have added someone like Cal or Colorado. But that’s me.
Mike Locksley’s odd story
- The Maryland head coach spends most of his time talking about the time he was stuck at an airport, and he got good customer service. Alright.
- Talks about the fact that Maryland has built some recruiting momentum. Maryland finished in the 30’s of class rankings last year, currently sitting in the 40’s.
- Says this is the first time he can say that he believes they’re ready to compete for Big Ten football championships. I say they’re not ready yet.
- Asked how to keep the momentum and he says he wants to do things a little bit better than a year ago and that will lead to results.
PJ Fleck rows his way to the stage
- After reading the article about his “cult” I’m surprised he didn’t have anyone throw down some rose petals for him to walk on.
- He’s late. And now everyone else is standing around waiting for him.
- PJ Fleck says that his schedule is the second toughest in the country, but he believes that makes it the most opportunistic.
- Claims his team has been listening to 80’s rock band Poison during workouts. I… why
- Feels like PJ is filibustering his time. Maybe doesn’t wanna get asked about that article.
- Mentions Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule right off the bat. Said he’s known Rhule for a long time. Adds he’s always had a ton of respect for the Huskers.
- And there’s the question about Fleck Bank and Fleck Coins. He says that the Fleck Bank was an analogy and was not something that was actually used for payment and there was no currency made.
- Says no physical activity was ever used for punishment.
- Claims it’s a story that gets peddled every year. Says those players have been removed from the team? I don’t quite get what that means.
Ryan Walters makes Big Ten football media days debut
- The Purdue head coach said he’s known for a long time that he wanted to be head coach.
- Excited to show what he’s been working on. Season ticket sales are the highest they’ve been since 2008. That’s certainly an interesting tidbit.
- The guy who asks dumb questions asks another one.
- Says that he believes his players have recognized the authenticity that he and his staff have brought to the Big Ten football team.
- Loves having Graham Harrell there mainly because he wants to attract quarterbacks and offensive skill guys.
Matt Rhule is finally up
- His speech was the shortest of the week. About 30 seconds long and right to questions.
- Dumb question guy is back.
- Rhule calls Chili and Cinnamon life changing.
- I asked him how he is preparing differently for the Big Ten as compared to the Big 12 or Temple. Said that it isn’t specific to the Big Ten but he has changed up how he practices based on what he’s learned from Coach Osborne.
- Asked how he keeps the fanbase from getting ahead of itself. He points out its literally written on the stadium that “day by day.”
Luke Fickell is another new Big Ten football head coach
- Fickell starts by saying he needs to give recognition to those that came before him.
- Fickell blanks on where one of his players is from for a second.
- Says that he picked Wisconsin because quite a few factors that all came together.
- Asked why he’s changing what’s the philosophy of Wisconsin. Responds, “why not?”
Jim Harbaugh closes out the main stage of Big Ten Football Media Days
- Harbaugh correctly points out that we’re about to start another football season
- Asked of Michigan and Ohio State should move their game to earlier in the season. Said that he’ll play it whenever its scheduled.
- We’re three questions in and no one has asked him about his suspension yet.
- Finally asked about the investigation. Said that he can’t talk about it. Would “love to lay it all out there” but he can’t.
That wraps up the morning of Big Ten football Media Days. The afternoon is all individual podiums with players and coaches and then everyone goes home.