Big Ten Notebook: Is Jared Abbrederis the Best Player in the Big Ten?

Andrew Coppens@@andycoppensContributor IOctober 29, 2013

Oct 19, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA;  Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis (4) is tackled by Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Zane Petty (21) in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Coaches hate fanning the flames of rivalry games, and this week the Iowa-Wisconsin rivalry gets renewed after a few years off. So, naturally Kirk Ferentz and Gary Andersen were going to praise the opposition. 

However, there's praising the opposition and then there's singling out a specific player, which is what Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz did on Tuesday. 

Ferentz went out of his way to call Jared Abbrederis the best player in the conference. 

Not the best wide receiver, but the best player in the entire Big Ten, regardless of position.

Could it be Ferentz buttering up the opponent a bit? Maybe. But it could also be a lot of the truth. 

Abbrederis comes into this week with 43 of the Wisconsin Badgers' 115 receptions on the season. He is third in the conference in receptions (6.1) and yards (107.4) per game. Additionally, he is averaging 17.5 yards a reception, which is third in the Big Ten. 

He's doing all of that despite everyone on the field knowing he is the main, and sometimes only, deep threat in the passing game. 

With the Big Ten as loaded as it is with quality wide receivers in 2013, Ferentz sure made a bold statement on Tuesday morning.


Will Taylor Martinez Be Out this Week Against Northwestern? 

Oct 26, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez (3) drops back for a pass in the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

As Bo Pelini faced the media across Big Ten country on Tuesday, one revelation that came out was the semblance that Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez's return to action last week may have only been temporary. 

On Tuesday's conference call, Pelini hinted that practice would determine his availability and that Martinez was a no-go over the past two days. 

This has been Pelini's M.O. for injured players for as long as he has been the head coach at Nebraska, but it sure doesn't look good for Martinez's chances of playing this weekend.

That could mean a very interesting tussle ahead with the Northwestern Wildcats because Kain Colter is getting healthier and Tommy Armstrong just plain looked bad in his last start against the Purdue Boilermakers (6-of-18, 43 yards, 3 interceptions; 4 carries, 5 yards). 


Minnesota Won't Fix What Isn't Broken in Coaching Situation

The continuity and relationship on the Minnesota Golden Gophers coaching staff has been a huge help to the situation regarding head coach Jerry Kill's health. But Kill is getting closer and closer to being fully back. 

However, don't expect that to mean he's rushing back to the sideline because his team needs him or anything.

At least that's what he told local media on hand in Minneapolis on Tuesday:

It's hard to blame him for taking that approach. His team did just beat Nebraska with him in the press box and addressing the team at the half and post game.

Kill wasn't the only one with that approach, though, as acting head coach Tracy Claeys uttered those words to the national media before addressing the throngs of local media. 

Claeys also made mention to the fact that Minnesota is following its blueprint and that the result on Saturday over Nebraska was more about showing the fans what the coaching staff has seen in practice all year. 


Is Michigan State's Offensive Line the Deepest of the Dantonio Era? 

That question was answered pretty emphatically by Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio—yes.

Over the past few weeks, the numbers have really started to increase offensively, and a lot of it can be attributed to the depth and jelling of an offensive line that was plagued with injuries earlier this season.

Oct 26, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA;  Michigan State Spartans running back Jeremy Langford (33) runs the ball during the second half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Michigan State won 42-3. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Spo

Running back Jeremy Langford has run for 344 yards and five touchdowns in the past three games alone.

Previous to that, Langford totaled all of 311 yards and four touchdowns in five games to start the season. 

The passing game has also made huge strides thanks to having an offensive line that can help keep the quarterback upright. 

Quarterback Connor Cook has thrown for over 200 yards in three of the four Big Ten games to date. He just got done with a game where he completed 93 percent of his passes (15-of-16) for 208 yards and three touchdowns to no interceptions.  


*Andy Coppens is the lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.