Every Big Ten media day seems like an exercise in futility -- print, visual, and electronic journalists do their best to get information that'll pique the readers' interest, and the coaches do their best to be as vanilla as possible. Mark Dantonio is on his fifth year at the job in East Lansing, and he runs his press conferences much like he runs his team. 95% of the game is vanilla, but once or twice he'll pick a trick play or make a comment that'll send the crowd cheering or the journalists...well, not cheering, but I'm sure typing hurriedly has its own joie de vivre.
Such was the case in Chicago today, with the standard platitudes:
On the offensive side of the ball, we have to limit our turnovers and have to have the ability to run the ball to be multi-dimensional.
Semi-pertinent player information:
We have numbers on the offensive line and more guys that bench press 400 pounds and vertical jump 30 inches than we've ever had across the board.
Along with general vagaries (on the offensive line):
We have athletic guys up front. I can go on and name all the rest of them, but we've got some athletic guys up front. What we need to find is a blend of experience. I have a good sense we'll be fine on the offensive line, that we can make it work and be very good. That's where I'm at with it.
Yup, just another boring media day. Surely the last question about Jim Tressel won't have anything controversial:
Every person he's (Tressel's) come in contact with as a player and a coach, he's made a positive impact on their lives. To me, it's tragic. He becomes a tragic hero in my respect, in my view.
And uh...yeah. I understand why Mark Dantonio would make such a comment, he's known Tressel since 1983 and obviously sees the now deposed coach as a mentor. However, what happened to Tressel was not tragic unless you consider hubris to be a particularly sad way to leave a job. Tressel lied to the NCAA about players committing violations. He could've suspended said players, suffer a couple 7-5/8-4 seasons, then continue on with ten-win campaigns in near perpetuity. However, for whatever reason, Tressel chose the path of deception, and the result is months of free time. If I'm measuring tragic coach firings on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being how Mike Leach was done at Texas Tech, Jim Tressel is the one.
Enough ranting. On to actual news!
- Zach Heuter is taking a medical disqualification. If the offensive lineman wanted to return he would've needed to have his fifth surgery on a shoulder, and I can't fault him for wanting to have use of said shoulder throughout his life. The OL depth won't be taking too much of a hit because...
- Henry Conway has been cleared for practice! He had a nagging neck injury, but now he's the third string right tackle behind Skyler Burkland (nee Schofner) and Zach Hueter.
- The depth chart was released today as well, and there are no huge surprises (note -- incoming freshmen are not included). The coaching staff still loves the word "or", as it was used to describe the situation at one defensive (William Gholston OR Denzel Drone), center (Travis Jackson OR Blake Treadwell), nose tackle (Anthony Rashad White OR Kevin Pickelman) wide receiver (B.J. Cunningham OR Keith Nichol; Keshawn Martin OR Bennie Fowler), and lastly, tight end (Garrett Celek OR Brian Linthicum OR Dion Sims).
- Other possible points of interest? Dan France is your starting right tackle as of now, the center situation with Jackson and Treadwell (failing winning the starting position, Treadwell is listed as the second-string right guard behind Chris McDonald), and Denicos Allen has the SAM linebacker spot ahead of Jeremy Gainer.
- Good news! Backup strong safety Jairus Jones is progressing faster than expected from an Achilles injury suffered in April and could see playing time in October. BAD NEWS. Antonio Jeremiah is still suffering with a knee injury and could miss out on the 2011 season.
- Lastly, MSU picked up a pair of commitments today from four-star wide receiver Aaron Burbridge and three-star defensive back Jermaine Edmondson. More on them in the coming days, but these are two great recruits; Edmondson was offered by Nebraska, and Burbridge is a top-five player in the state of Michigan, with offers from Michigan, Ohio State, and Notre Dame.