Coach speak

Seven of the 14 Big Ten coaches took the stage Tuesday in Chicago, followed by four college football administrators. Here are some highlights from Day 2:


“We feel like we’re Chicago’s team.”

Former Bears coach Lovie Smith, now at the helm for Illinois, had a little fun with the idea of media day home-field advantage.


“Recruiting is going well. And it’s been awhile since I’ve been in college ball. That has changed a little bit. It is a 24/7 job. And we’re embracing that.”

More from Smith, who before this season last coached at the college level in 1995, directing defensive backs at Ohio State. The Gophers play Oct. 29 at Champaign, Ill.


“I’m not going to say you gotta come in at 220 or 230, but you’ve got to come in and be ready to go.”

Dropping weight at Michigan State, coach Mark Dantonio said, isn’t a focal point. But the benefits are nice. LJ Scott and Madre London, who ranked first and third in rushing yards for the Spartans last fall, are lighter this season. Dantonio believes Scott, who rushed for 699 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, “looks very good right now” at 224 pounds.


“I think it’s the difference between confidence and belief. What came first, the chicken or the egg? The more you win, the more you believe; the more you believe, the more you win.”

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson on the meaning of life and how to win more close games. Five times last fall the Hoosiers lost by eight or fewer points, including twice in overtime.


“Our kids are excited about it. I know that much. And it certainly does grab a player’s attention when you know you’re playing against a heck of an opponent for your first game.”

Coach Paul Chryst and Wisconsin open the season Sept. 3 against Louisiana State at Lambeau Field. A Border Battle concludes the regular season as the Gophers travel to Camp Randall Stadium.

“A little bit like the baseball metaphor, you need to be strong up the middle. We’re very strong.”

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer gushed about his quarterback, J.T. Barrett, and Pat Elfein, who he called “the best center in college football.”


“We do get to worry about the weather. First time for us to have an outdoor venue. But it’s Tampa. It’s January. It’ll be great.”

Year 3 of the College Football Playoff format brings the Jan. 9 national championship game to Raymond James Stadium. Bill Hancock, College Football Playoff executive director, isn’t overly concerned about the logistics.


“What’s most interesting to us is within Power Five conferences, [the Big Ten Network] has more matchups within the Power Five our first three weeks than three of the college sports networks in our competitive set — ESPNU, SEC Net, Pac-12 Net — combined.”

Sounds like good watchin’ if you ask Mark Silverman, BTN president.


“In this one, it was pure geography. If you draw a line, and that was the decision, that was discussed, debated and decided. So I don’t expect that to change in the short term.”

Get used to the Big Ten East and West divisions, said Jim Delany, Big Ten commissioner.

David La Vaque