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Continued: Spring flings: Big Ten football spring practice wrap-up

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 23, 2013 - 7:30 AM

MICHIGAN STATE

Coach: Mark Dantonio (seventh year); 2012 record: 7-6, 3-5; bowl game: Michigan State 17, TCU 16 (Buffalo Wild Wings); starters returning: offense 9/defense 7

Spring star: LB Max Bullough. Ranked sixth in the Big Ten last year with 111 tackles and anchors a strong defense.

Biggest concern: RB Le’Veon Bell, DE William Gholston and TE Dion Sims all left early for the NFL draft. Bell was the biggest loss; he rushed 382 times last year for 1,793 yards.

Telling quote: Running back “obviously is a position of concern for us. We’ve got to find a guy you can give the ball to 250 times. I don’t know if we have that yet.” — Dantonio

Schedule analysis: The Spartans play Notre Dame Sept. 21. They miss Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin in conference play. Their five Big Ten losses were by a combined 13 points.

 

MINNESOTA

Coach: Jerry Kill (third year); 2012 record: 6-7, 2-6; bowl game: Texas Tech 34, Gophers 31 (Meineke Car Care); starters returning: offense 10 /defense 7

Spring star: DT Ra’Shede Hageman. The senior contemplated a jump to the NFL but returned, knowing he still has a lot to prove in college. Teammates and coaches repeatedly say they’ve never seen him so focused.

Biggest concern: Philip Nelson started the final seven games at QB last season and was inconsistent. Behind him, there is nobody on the roster with any in-game experience.

Telling quote: “Let’s be honest, a lot of people outside of here don’t think that we can make it to a Big Ten championship. We do, and that’s what matters.” — Senior safety Brock Vereen

Schedule analysis: In Big Ten play, they’ll get Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin at home. They don’t have to play Ohio State, but they also don’t get to play Illinois or Purdue. Fans will remain skeptical until their conference record improves.

 

NEBRASKA

Coach: Bo Pelini (sixth year); 2012 record: 10-4, 7-1; bowl game: Georgia 45, Nebraska 31 (Capital One); starters returning: offense 7/defense 5

Spring star: QB Taylor Martinez. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last year, and Pelini said, “This spring, he’s a better football player, by far, than what I saw last year.”

Biggest concern: After giving up 70 points to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game and 589 yards to Georgia in the bowl game, the Huskers need to rediscover their defensive identity.

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Atlanta - WP: E. Stults 4 FINAL
Detroit - LP: J. Chamberlain 2
Washington - LP: X. Cedeno 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Wacha 6
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 18
Baltimore 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Miami - LP: D. Haren 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: R. Montero 7
San Diego 6 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
San Francisco 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 8
Colorado 2 FINAL
Oakland 11
LA Angels - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 5
Cleveland 4 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
Kansas City 11 FINAL
Texas 7
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Arizona 2
Toronto 7 FINAL
Houston 4
Minnesota - LP: C. Johnson 2 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Masterson 14
Boston 116 FINAL
Charlotte 104
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
Philadelphia 111
Houston 96 FINAL
Toronto 99
Milwaukee 88 FINAL
Atlanta 101
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Memphis 97
Utah 104 FINAL
Minnesota 84
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Portland 109
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Montreal 3
Vancouver 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
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Dallas 3
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Chicago 4
Edmonton 4 FINAL
Colorado 1
Buffalo 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
ULM 58 FINAL
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(1) Connecticut 91
(6) Tennessee 48 FINAL
(4) Maryland 58
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