Big Ten Spring Football Overreaction: Michigan Has New Offense by Charles Woodson, Wisconsin Modernizing

Spring training in college football exists for two basic reasons. The main reason is to get a head start on next season. Coaches use it to implement new players and principles into the playbook, so that when the training camp opens, everyone has a better idea of ​​what is expected of them.

The other – and some would argue the most important reason – is that fans and the media overreact to everything they see in this little glimpse to bolster their college football souls for the next few months. Well I’m not a coach because I haven’t been able to play a new version of NCAA Football for years, but I’m a writer. So while I can’t teach you how to play soccer, I can help you figure out what overreactions you should have after spring training in the Big Ten.

No need to thank me, but I’d appreciate it if you could tell EA Sports to speed up the new game.

Illinois will have two 1,000-yard runners: In 2010, just a few years before Bret Bielema left Wisconsin for Arkansas, both James White and John Clay rushed over 1,000 yards in Wisconsin uniform. A third team defender, Montee Ball, ran for 996 yards and 18 touchdowns in the same season. After watching the Illinois spring game, you may wonder if we’ll see a repeat of that performance under Bielema in Champaign. Even with new offensive coordinator Barry Lunney calling plays and a new QB in the Syracuse transfer Tommy DeVito, the Illinois offense was at its best when he handed the ball to Chase Brown and Josh McCray. Brown (1,005 yards and 5 TDs in 2021) rushed for 90 yards on 11 carries in the game, while McCray (549 yards, 2 TDs) rushed for 86 yards on 13. Illinois also had carries available for the freshman giant. Jordan Anderson and were without veteran Reggie Love and another freshman in Aidan Laughery. Illinois will have no shortage of options to apply to this fall.

Tom Allen calling the games in defense will solve everything: Indiana didn’t organize a spring game this year because they wanted to maximize the 15 trials they had to work with. Perhaps he also wanted to give Tom Allen a chance to regain confidence with the defensive call, as the Hoosiers manager announced this spring that he would do so in 2022. It’s not hard to see why Allen felt a change was needed. During Indiana’s surprise run during the 2020 season, the Hoosiers’ defense conceded just 20.3 points per game, good for fourth place in the Big Ten. That number jumped to 33.3 points per game per year. last, last died in the conference and 109th nationwide.

Lukas Van Ness is ready to terrorize the backfields: Iowa did not have a traditional spring game, opting for open training instead. Those who attended got an idea of ​​Iowa’s next great pass-rusher. Van Ness was impressive during his freshman season in 2021, finishing with seven layoffs and 8.5 tackles lost. And he did it before spending a full year on the strength and conditioning program. Van Ness looked bigger, faster and meaner this spring and will be part of many nightmares in 2022.

This team will score 50 points per game: The Terps had a fun attack last season, but Taulia Tagovailoa and companions are ready to take things to another level in 2022. Even with the lack of some key players in skill positions, the Terps attack has lit with great plays in the air and on the ground. It was an opportunity for Jacob Copeland’s move to Florida to shine. Copeland led the Gators into reception last season, and with Rakim Jarrett, Jeshaun Jones and Dontay Demus all out of the way, he was more than happy to absorb Tagovailoa’s targets.

Mike Sainristil is the new Charles Woodson: Charles Woodson won the Heisman Trophy in 1997 because he was not only an outstanding defender, but an excellent receiver and comeback for the Wolverines. Now, 25 years later, the tradition is renewed, as Michigan receiver Mike Sainristil saw corner snaps during the spring game. Sainristil received 22 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns last year, but didn’t get a pass in the spring game despite him playing on the catcher. The closest moment to a catch was when he broke a deep ball in cover. Could we have seen early glimpses of Michigan’s response to Shohei Ohtani?

Darius Snow will be an All-Big Ten defender: Like many other teams, the State of Michigan hosted an open training session that served as a spring game, and converted safety Darius Snow was one of the stars of the day. Snow played safety last year, but he worked a lot more with linebackers in the spring, so he might be in line for a hybrid role, but whatever position you want to call him, he was making plays. Snow canceled tight end Jackson Morse to force a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Later, Snow brought the blizzard again, inflicting great success on Jayden Reed for breaking what would have been a first pass. Linebacker? Safety? Let’s just call it hammer.

These Gophers can cast again: When he was last at the helm of the Minnesota offense, Kirk Ciarocca helped lead Tanner Morgan in a season that saw him pitch for 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns. That year the Gophers had two 1,000-yard receivers in Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman. After leaving, Morgan threw for 3,418 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons. Only one Gopher catcher broke 500 yards in a season, and that was Chris Autman-Bell with 506. So you’ll have to forgive the Gopher fans who got excited seeing Morgan come back and throw passes during the team’s spring game. While the running game is what Minnesota’s attack will be based on, even a whiff of passing attack will help everyone in 2022.

Damn! We are all exhausted!: Honestly, most of the spring rehearsal ends with fans deluding themselves into thinking that everything is going to be wonderful (that’s the basis of this story!), But there haven’t been many happy feelings around the Cornhuskers this spring. Perhaps the bad run of recent times has left one of the nation’s most fervent and friendly fanbases a little tired, but the fact that everything hasn’t been perfect has convinced everyone that disaster awaits. Instead of Casey Thompson, Logan Smothers, or Chubba Purdy taking the reins and showcasing program-changing talent, an offense breaking into many new faces felt like an offense breaking into new faces. There was good, there was evil and there was a lot of inconsistency. Thankfully, there are still nearly four months left for Nebraska to face an opponent, which is plenty of time to figure things out. But don’t tell Nebraska fans that.

It’s a two horse race at the QB: Northwestern didn’t have a spring game, so we only have coach quotes, but Pat Fitzgerald hinted at the battle at QB. While he mentioned all four players fighting for the job, he also mentioned that Ryan Hilinski and Brendan Sullivan are the two “fighting for that # 1 job going to training camp.” Hilinski moved to Northwestern from South Carolina last season and was one of four players to see snaps at QB. Sullivan was a three-star recruit in the 2021 class of Northwestern who has yet to see the pitch, so while it’s a good sign he’s being mentioned as fighting for the job, you have to assume Hilinski’s experience is winning as of now. .

CJ Stroud will win Heisman: OK, so these should be exaggerations, and to say that Stroud will win Heisman is not crazy. But how can we not be excited? As Stroud splits up with Kyle McCord and Devin Brown, it’s the show of him and he’s leading one of the most explosive crimes in the country. Even with some key offensive players like TreVeyon Henderson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Emeka Egbuka watching most of the spring game, there are guns everywhere and Stroud did a great job getting him the ball. Stroud will launch mind-boggling numbers in 2022.

Christian Veilleux is the backup, Drew Allar will be in the red jersey before the transfer: There’s no question what Penn State fans wanted to see in the spring game. Ever since five-star QB Drew Allar got involved and signed with Penn State, fans have been counting the minutes until they’ve had a chance to see him shoot lasers across the pitch. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as Lions fans hoped in the spring game. Allar didn’t play much. He’s a freshman who’s been on campus for a few months and is probably struggling to remember where his dorm room is and when it’s lunchtime pizza day, not to mention mastering the playbook. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. James Franklin hinted that Christian Veilleux was the favorite to support Sean Clifford this season, and the spring play strengthened that. Having a QB depth is a good thing!

Tyrone Tracy Jr. is the new Rondale Moore: Rondale Moore was one of Jeff Brohm’s biggest recruiting wins at Purdue, and while he battled injuries during his college career when on the pitch, Purdue never found a shortage of ways to get the ball to him. Relocation to Iowa Tyrone Tracy Jr. played a similar role in Purdue’s spring game. He was used as a catcher, took the ball on a jet sweep and also deployed in the backfield on some snaps. Tracy already appears to be a Brohm favorite, and a versatile weapon in the hands of an innovative playcaller can lead to many fun moments.

These Knights go wild on the Big Ten: Running back Isiah Pacheco led Rutgers into the run with 647 yards last season, but this summer he will be on an NFL field after being drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s great for him, and it’s not as bad as you might think for the Knights. If there was anything evident this spring, this team has depth in the running back position. Although Aaron Young missed the match due to injury, Kyle Monangai, Jamier Wright-Collins and Al-Shadee Salaam all impressed and showed the ability to effectively spin the ball. Considering Rutgers’ problems in the QB position last year (problems I don’t know have been solved), having a solid quick attack to lean on will be key.


We didn’t need Caleb Williams anyway: There was some interesting smoke former Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams was about to relocate to Wisconsin before going to USC, but it turns out the Badgers didn’t need him. They still have Graham Mertz, and with the arrival of new offensive coordinator Bobby Engram, this won’t be your father’s attack in Wisconsin. Sure, they’ll keep getting the ball rolling with the no longer just 17-year-old Braelon Allen behind a giant offensive line, but this is a team ready to open things up in the passing game. There have been hints of multiple receivers from the Wisconsin offense this spring! And I don’t mean two tight ends and two receivers. This team believes they have the talent in QB and receiver to open things up a bit.

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