B1G Notebook: Lovie Smith joins in

B1G+Notebook%3A+Lovie+Smith+joins+in

The seven Big Ten West Division schools took part in the annual spring teleconferences on Wednesday.

Just one new coach — Illinois’ Lovie Smith — joins the division this year. He, of course, coached the Chicago to Super Bowl XLI and has strong ties to the area from his eight years in the city.

“I’m excited about everything that’s going on here,” Smith said. “We got a late start, but we’re catching up quickly.”

A late start might be a massive understatement. Josh Whitman, Illinois’ new athletics director, fired Bill Cubit, who had been hired on a short-term contract after having the interim tag removed from his name.

The move was shocking, but once Smith was hired, things started to make sense. All of the sudden, the Illini had a very straightforward direction for its football team. Smith has deep ties to the state and his name brings a certain amount of star power — helpful in recruiting.

However, after being fired from the Buccaneers in January, Smith wasn’t entirely sure what his next move would be. Whitman apparently saw an opportunity and took it.

“My plan was actually to stay out this year unless a great opportunity came along,” Smith said. “If you know Josh Whitman, you know he has a plan, and he knows how to deliver that plan.

“He sold me right away about how we could do this.”

Satellite camps

On April 8, the NCAA banned satellite camps.

They had risen to prominence over the last few years and especially last season as Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh took a tour around the country with his staff, hosting camps for high schoolers. Many of its stops were in the recruiting areas of the SEC and ACC, which both voted against the camps.

In fact, the Big Ten was the only Power 5 school to vote for them, and it wasn’t just Harbaugh who had thoughts on the new ruling.

“I was an advocate and still am of satellite camps,” Nebraska head coach Mike Riley said. “I see great opportunity for young kids, their coaches, and schools. I do think there’s more regulation that needs to be involved with it, whether it’s just purely the number of camps that you can have.”

The ruling has also hurt smaller conferences. Many rely on the camps to find players, and the whole thing almost boils down to other conferences not wanting schools to infringe on “their” recruiting territory.

It’s complex; Riley said he doesn’t believe the issue is dead just yet.

Wisconsin

After a 10-3 season and a win over USC in the Holiday Bowl, the Badgers will once again be a force in the Big Ten West.

However, for the first time in more than a decade, Wisconsin failed to have a 1,000-yard rusher. For an offense built for massive linemen and solid backs, it’s something the Badgers want to get back to.

They are also in the midst of a quarterback competition between Bart Houston and Alex Hornibrook. Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst has yet to name a starter but gave an update.

“Those two have been getting all the reps, and it’s good for them,” Chryst said. “I haven’t wanted the focus to be on the competition, just on them getting better at their craft.”

Facebook Comments