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Continued: Big Ten spring football:  Offseason of change welcomes two more

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 23, 2014 - 12:30 PM

NORTH­WEST­ERN

Coach: Pat Fitz­gerald (ninth year).

2013: 5-7, 1-7.

Start­ers re­turn­ing: Offense 9, defense 9.

Top re­turn­ees: RB Venric Mark (in­jured last year), LB Chi Chi Ariguzo (106 tack­les).

Spring news: Form­er QB Kain Col­ter has tried un­ion­iz­ing this team, an is­sue that has over­shad­owed ev­er­y­thing else, but the cur­rent play­ers are ex­pect­ed to re­ject the i­de­a.

Sched­ule notes: Northwestern opens with Cali­for­nia and will play at Notre Dame (Nov. 15). Cross­o­ver games are at Penn State and home against Mich­i­gan.

Football fe­ver tem­per­a­ture: 50. Trev­or Siemian, who split time with Col­ter, now has the QB job all to him­self, and he is far less mo­bile. Mark’s re­turn should help en­er­gize an offense that re­turns most of its oth­er key play­ers.

PUR­DUE

Coach: Darrell Hazell (se­cond year).

2013: 1-11, 0-8.

Start­ers re­turn­ing: Offense 10, defense 8.

Top re­turn­ees: QB Danny Etling (10 TD pass­es, seven inter­cep­tions), RB Akeem Hunt (464 rush­ing yards).

Spring news: An of­fen­sive line that al­lowed 38 sacks last sea­son con­tinued to show its fu­til­i­ty in the spring game, as Etling was sacked four times.

Sched­ule notes: The Boiler­makers play Notre Dame in In­di­an­ap­o­lis on Sept. 13. The Big Ten cross­overs are home against Mich­i­gan State and at In­di­an­a, pre­ser­ving that ri­val­ry game.

Football fe­ver tem­per­a­ture: 40. The Boiler­makers were lousy last year, and some of their best play­ers are gone, in­clud­ing DT Bruce Gas­ton, CB Ri­car­do Allen and P Cody Webster. This team looks too thin on the of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive lines to ex­pect much im­prove­ment this year.

WIS­CON­SIN

Coach: Gary Andersen (se­cond year).

  • related content

  • Quarterback Mitch Leidner advanced the ball on a keeper during the Gophers' spring game.

  • Tommy Armstrong Jr. takes over for Taylor Martinez at quarterback for Nebraska.

  • Quarterback Connor Cook and Michigan State will try to make it back-to-back Big Ten titles.

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