CHICAGO – Steven Richardson was excited to represent the Gophers at the Big Ten media days. Only one problem, though. He didn’t own a suit.
Apparently, finding a suit that fits powerhouse nose tackles isn’t easy.
“According to the place that I went to, my body is built like an upside [down] triangle when it’s usually the other way around,” Richardson said. “My shoulders were too broad. So either I get the [sleeves] that don’t fit or the shoulders that don’t fit.”
Richardson weighs 290 pounds and is listed generously at 6 feet in the media guide. While being fitted for a suit, his biceps were measured at 18½ inches.
Richardson said he tried on “a lot” of suits at different stores with no luck.
“We almost just came with suspenders and a bow tie,” he said.
He finally hit pay dirt at DXL Destination XL in Roseville.
“I wore a suit for prom, but obviously I was smaller than this,” he said. “This is my first suit in college, and I definitely need one for job interviews.”
Targeting to be topic again
Bill Carollo, Big Ten coordinator for officials, said the league called 22 targeting penalties last season, including four that were overturned.
“If we miss a targeting call, I am really, really disappointed,” he said, adding “that’s why we went to the eighth official.”
The Gophers accounted for seven targeting penalties during the regular season and an eighth in the Holiday Bowl by safety Duke McGhee, his third of the season.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said repeat offenders concern him.
“If you see a young man or maybe a team that has multiple targeting fouls, I think we need to look at that,” he said. “Because obviously that’s not what we have decided to have in our game. … Have some accountability … maybe to even make the rule a little bit more robust.”
Costume never comes off
Every Big Ten coach except one wore a suit to Big Ten media days. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh wore his gameday coaching attire, complete with khaki pants and baseball hat.
Harbaugh took his team to Rome in April for spring practice because, well, Harbaugh operates unconventionally.
“It was very interesting to watch our team do six hours of sightseeing one day where we’re walking through old Rome and then in the afternoon we’re at the Colosseum, at the Forum, and you learn so many things along the way,” he said. “Colosseum has been around for 600 years — it’s been active for 600 years. Around here, 30, 40 years as a stadium and they tear it down. Amazing, really.”
Ask me about Akron
After advancing to the Rose Bowl last season, Penn State is expected to start this season ranked in the top 10 and challenge for the College Football Playoff. But don’t ask coach James Franklin about any opponent on the schedule, unless it’s the first one.
“Two things I’ll say is we open the season against Akron, and I would love to talk about Akron and Akron and Akron and Akron and Akron and not get ahead towards any other games,” he said.
Ash has only one way to go
Rutgers coach Chris Ash’s first season didn’t include many highlights. The Scarlet Knights went 2-10, including 0-9 in the Big Ten.
They lost to Ohio State 58-0 and Michigan 78-0 in consecutive weeks. Then, later in the season, they lost to Michigan State 49-0 and Penn State 39-0 in back-to-back games.
Ash was asked what lessons he learned from his first season.
“Not much fun, that’s the first lesson,” he said. “You don’t want to do it again.”