Big Ten Media Days kicked off this morning with commissioner Kevin Warren and seven coaches talking this morning. Scott Frost was the third coach to speak. The coaches appeared in order: PJ Fleck (Minnesota), Mike Locksley (Maryland), Scott Frost, Bret Bielema (Illinois - still feels weird to type that), James Franklin (Penn State), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern) and Jim Harbaugh (Michigan).
Nebraska’s new athletic director was in the house too.
Players at B1G Media Days by position:— Evan Bland (@EvanBlandOWH) July 22, 2021
Former #Huskers QB Noah Vedral is in Indy repping Rutgers.
#B1G commissioner Kevin Warren just announced that Barry Alvarez has joined the Big Ten Conference as a special advisor for football.— Erin Sorensen (@erinsorensen) July 22, 2021
Barry Alvarez will be a special advisor to Kevin Warren. Working on expansion, scheduling, bowl partnerships, media rights relationships, etc.— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) July 22, 2021
In other words, B1G football czar.
A step toward being the future B1G commissioner?
On the last year and the conference's dealing with COVID-19, Kevin Warren says "this was not a perfect time for us in the conference, but it was productive."— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) July 22, 2021
Warren says they completed 1,843 of the 2,000 scheduled athletic activities (92%) over the course of the year.
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren: "The Supreme Court, in the Alston ruling, changed the landscape of college athletics forever. Forever."— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) July 22, 2021
Warren believes that national legislation is needed rather than the patchwork of state laws that have been passed so far.
Discussing the future of the conference, Warren brings up the role of the NCAA. He challenges everyone to be "thoughtful" in evaluating what structure would best serve student athletes moving forward.— 93.7 The Ticket (@937TheTicket) July 22, 2021
Personally, I think the NCAA is becoming less and less relevant, especially with the push toward super-conferences in football. I can see a day where the NCAA basically is the organizing committee for March Madness and that is about it.
Finally! We get around to conference realignment!!
Warren is open to Big Ten expansion. But he says much in-house discussion among a wide array of people is needed. He said he will "take the appropriate time" to consider the matter.— Steven M. Sipple (@HuskerExtraSip) July 22, 2021
The perfect, non-answer answer.
First question for Warren is about Oklahoma and Texas. Does potential movement there prompt the Big Ten to look at expansion?— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) July 22, 2021
Warren: "We're always constantly evaluating what's in the best interest of the conference."
Kevin Warren, asked about the Texas and Oklahoma/SEC report: "These are the kind of issues that we all will be dealing with... That’s the world that we live in right now. From where we sit, we’re always constantly evaluating what’s in the best interest of the conference."— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) July 22, 2021
In other words, Notre Dame is still not taking our phone calls.
There was also discussion about expanding the College Football Playoff and Warren was similarly non-committal there, indicating a need to especially talk to players and their families along with bowl partners, administrators and the other usual suspects.
Warren says Big Ten schools are finalizing "proposed procedures for the fall" on vaccinations.— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) July 22, 2021
"It'll be a decentralized decision-making process." Schools decide how they'll handle it locally with the league determining framework after that.
Big Ten commish Kevin Warren, to the media in attendance: "I’d like to thank you for showing me on many days how much you loved me last year." It came with a quick laugh.— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) July 22, 2021
"Maybe the communication wasn't as good and clean as it could have been at times…” - Kevin Warren on how he handled the past year.— Robin Washut (@RobinWashut) July 22, 2021
Yeah, you could say that. #B1GMediaDays
Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck is rolling here in his opening statement at Big Ten media days. RB Mo Ibrahim is "like a bowling ball going downhill with razor blades on it." That's a nice image.— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) July 22, 2021
Fleck: "I'm fired up about name, image and likeness. I think it's tremendous." Touts "urban area" Minnesota is in with "major corporations."— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) July 22, 2021
Maryland coach Mike Locksley jokes he feels like he's being hazed by having to speak after P.J. Fleck again at Media Days.— Evan Bland (@EvanBlandOWH) July 22, 2021
There were no questions for Locksley. LOL!
Most of the time, Scott manages to say something that ticks off a bunch of other fan bases. Let’s see what he does today!
Frost said he was "really excited" by Trev Alberts' hire and says he had nothing to do with process.— Steven M. Sipple (@HuskerExtraSip) July 22, 2021
They've met already four times, "including once before he even started the job," Frost said.
Frost says he doesn't have an opinion on whether games should be ruled "forfeits" if a team can't play due to COVID.— Steven M. Sipple (@HuskerExtraSip) July 22, 2021
Frost’s restraint in not saying what he probably really thinks about that situation is admirable, and refreshing.
Frost on Omaha recruiting shortcomings: "We are focused on winning. Winning will cure a lot of things." #Huskers— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) July 22, 2021
"I'm not into sloganeering" when it comes to whether or not NU has a mantra for this year. "If my guys need them to motivate them every day, I've probably got the wrong players."— Chris Basnett (@HuskerExtraCB) July 22, 2021
When “sloganeering” becomes the weirdest thing our coach says, it means he has taken some Tom Osborne press conference lessons.
Scott Frost on his QB, Adrian Martinez: “I couldn’t be more excited for Adrian than I am. I’ve walked in his shoes. He’s already lived the highs and lows of Nebraska. This is the most comfortable I’ve seen him in who he is, the most confident I’ve seen him in his talent.”— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) July 22, 2021
What else is he going to say about his QB1?
Some comments from Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts
Trev Alberts, on FB expectations: "You will never hear me talk about numbers of wins – low or high. I'm really focused on just narrowing our focus. I like incremental growth, and looking at the small fundamental things. Because ultimately those things lead to what we all want."— Brian Christopherson (@Husker247BC) July 22, 2021
Alberts on the key to raising the #Huskers' level of play: "We’re not going to get back there talking about what we used to do because nobody cares. We’re not going to get back there talking about winning championships. We’re going to get back there by executing the fundamentals"— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) July 22, 2021
Big thing for Trev is building legitimate trust with Frost.— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) July 22, 2021
"What Scott and I discuss in terms of expectations will always be between Scott and I. To me that’s part of trust. I can assure you that Scott Frost wants the very same thing I want." #Huskers https://t.co/6Gitw0TmA1
If anything important comes from the rest of the coaches or the day, we’ll send out an update.
After the debacle that was the Big Ten head office trying to “communicate” about their plans for the 2020 season, I had legitimate worries about Kevin Warren’s ability to lead the conference. Today, he allayed many of those concerns as he was a smooth talker and said all the right bureaucratic stuff. He seems to have found his footing and is more comfortable after a year in this role.
A quick scan of the Twitterverse shows that Scott Frost didn’t set off every other fan base with some offhand comment. Progress? Speaking of Scott Frost, he is aging faster than a U.S. President. It’s no wonder Tom Osborne retired from coaching at the relatively young age of 60(or so).
Trev Alberts is the person who has every book ever written about leadership on a book shelf somewhere. He probably also has a leadership coach. But, he doesn’t spout platitudes or say jargon just to say it. He really does come across as a thoughtful administrator who takes the “people” side of the job very seriously.
What are your thoughts Corn Nation?