Highlights from Day 1 of Big Ten media days

Head coaches, players, and Big Ten officials sounded off at the annual Big Ten Media Days in Chicago.

Big+Ten+Commissioner%2C+Jim+Delany%2C+speaks+during+the+Big+Ten+Football+Media+Day+in+Chicago%2C+Ill.%2C+on+Thursday%2C+July+18%2C+2019.
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Highlights from Day 1 of Big Ten media days

Big Ten Commissioner, Jim Delany, speaks during the Big Ten Football Media Day in Chicago, Ill., on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Big Ten Commissioner, Jim Delany, speaks during the Big Ten Football Media Day in Chicago, Ill., on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Katina Zentz

Big Ten Commissioner, Jim Delany, speaks during the Big Ten Football Media Day in Chicago, Ill., on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Katina Zentz

Katina Zentz

Big Ten Commissioner, Jim Delany, speaks during the Big Ten Football Media Day in Chicago, Ill., on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Pete Mills, Assistant Sports Editor

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CHICAGO — College football is nearly upon us, and rosters and teams continue to take shape in the Big Ten.

Head coaches, players, and Big Ten officials converged at the annual Big Ten media days here to speak on topics across the college-football landscape, ranging from the transfer portal, the College Football Playoffs, and the city’s mayoral race.

Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck on the nature of competition in today’s Big Ten:

“Whether you’re in the West or the East, we all want the Big Ten to succeed. We all want the Big Ten represented in the Playoffs. We all want multiple teams in the Playoffs. And I think that’s healthy. It’s OK to root for the Big Ten if you’re a Big Ten coach. I root for the Big Ten except for the Big Ten team we’re playing that week. I root for the Big Ten all the time. It’s an honor to coach in this league and be in the same talk as a lot of these coaches. It’s really an honor. It’s a dream for me.”

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio on the return and impact of defensive tackle Raequan Williams:

“Raequan is from Chicago, and we’ve got a lot of reporters here and everything, so I just want you to know his goal and his vision is to be the mayor of Chicago, so we look forward to his campaign. But Raequan is a tremendous young person. We had numerous guys have to make a decision whether they were going to come back or go out in the NFL Draft, and he was one of those guys. And he made that decision to get his degree and sort of complete his circle in that area. He is a tremendous person, a very caring person, outstanding athlete.”

First-year Ohio State head coach Ryan Day on replacing Urban Meyer:

“[It’s not] something I really like to answer because first off, you don’t replace a legend. You don’t replace one of the best football coaches in the history of the game. What you can do is just be yourself, and I think that’s what I’m doing, focusing on what we call tough love, tough is being tough, being tough on the field, and with our strength and conditioning program being the backbone of our program, they have to be tough … But then also love, love for your brother and creating those bonds with your coach, creating those bonds with your teammates, because that’s the ultimate motivator in my opinion.”

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany on transparency in College Football Playoff decisions and lack of Big Ten appearances:

“We sort of walked away from [transparency] in some of the BCS formula. We took a poll here, and a poll there, and a strength of schedule here, combined them, cranked it out. It was very transparent, but it wasn’t very good. So I think having worked on a variety of committees, negotiating committees and selection committee of various kinds, you’re going to get well-intentioned experts who have different points of view. And if you’re going to go with the human element, and I happen to be favorable toward the human element — my problem is I don’t like what computers tell me sometimes, and I don’t like what people tell me sometimes … So I try not to be too critical, especially at the time when you don’t get what you want.”

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost on starting quarterback Adrian Martinez:

“I wouldn’t trade our guy for anybody in the country at that position, at the quarterback position. On top of being a great player, he’s just a great individual, exactly what we’re looking for to run our offense. We’re probably going to go as far as he can take us next year … From personal experience and coaching experience, your biggest jump comes from your first year of playing to your second year of playing, and I’ve seen that happen with some of the guys that I’ve coached, as well. As good as he was last year, if we get a similar jump, we’re going to be really strong at that spot.”

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