Welcome to the first ever Big Ten Media Day Mailbag. You had questions, and other than my failure to get a chance to speak to Javery McFadden, here are the answers.
John C. Sorensen: Will Northwestern make a bowl game this year?
Pat Fitzgerald’s Answer: “We're proud of the fact that we've won three Big Ten Championships since '95. That's third-best in the league in that time period. We've consistently been improving. Obviously we've changed the attitude and tides here in the Big Ten, and that's by recruiting the right fit and right quality young men and tremendous support from the University and our fans and alumni. I think we're just scratching the surface. I know we're an improving program on the rise.”
Ryan Jelley: I'd like you to ask Stevie Brown who he thinks is a more intense defensive coordinator, Steve Shafer or Greg Robinson, and whether he thinks the defense will see improvements this year?
Stevie Brown’s Answer: “Robinson just brings a wealth of knowledge. He wants us to be the best athletic team in America. He’s won Super Bowls, he’s won Rose Bowls. Defense is going to be defense, regardless. He wants people to hit hard and cause turnovers.”
Bobbie McGee: How will Iowa replace the likes of Shonn Greene at the RB position?
Kirk Ferentz’s Answer: “We're certainly hopeful that (Jewel’s) growth will continue. We're confident that it will. He's worked extremely hard, and I think has a good demeanor. He's a guy that's certainly capable of playing well in our conference. We've got a guy behind him in Paki O'Meara who's been very solid for us, and we see him improve on a weekly basis. And we're also hoping that Jeff Brinson, a young redshirt freshman can help us out, also. We're really probably focused on all three of those guys contributing to replace some of the productivity that Shonn Greene gave us.”
Tim Cary: Ask any of the Purdue players why they think their team can surprise people when they're not being picked very high in the league...and also ask if they (as some do) see parallels between their no-name team in its coach's first year and 1997, when Tiller's first squad shocked folks with a 9-3 record.
Danny Hope’s Answer: “Well, there are a few comparisons. We have a great home schedule for 2009, and we did as well in 1997. From a quarterback standpoint, I think there's some similarities. We had Billy Dicken in 1997, and he's a guy that had not played a whole lot and people didn't know a whole lot about Billy Dicken. Same thing with our quarterback this year in Joey Elliott. He's a guy that the fans and the experts don't know a whole lot about. So there are some similarities.”
Other Interesting Quotes…
From Stevie Brown: “As long as I’m on the field, being a hybrid works. It depends who I’m talking to (what position I consider myself).”
From Corey Wootton: “They cancelled (my invitation to the Playboy Party) because of the economy. How lucky am I?”
“I think people are going to be surprised by our offense this year. Everybody is going to know Mike Kafka’s name.”
From Juice Williams: “Fatherhood makes you see things differently. It makes you mature faster. I’m a little soft (on disciplining my daughter). It’s hard to be strict right now.”
From Joe Paterno: “I’ve got 17 grand kids and the oldest is 13.”
From Arrelious Benn: “I’m only human. I stay away from (the thought of injury in the pros).”
“Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, I think Jarred Fayson and me are in the same situation.”
From Mike Kafka: “The Metrodome was loud but it was fun to quiet all the fans with the win (last season).”
“Brad Phillips is the toughest player on our team.”
From Daryll Clark: “I feel like I’m considered an elite (quarterback), yes. What a difference one year makes.”