On Matt Rhule Day (Day 2 of B1G Football Media Days), the Big 10 was rude enough to invite six other coaches, so we all just have to live with it I guess. It led off with two coaches whose names I’m betting 90% of you wouldn’t know prior to looking them up on Google.
They were followed by the 5-time winner of the Big 10 His Own Biggest Fan Award (not awarded 2020 due to Covid), Coach PJ Fleck. Purdue’s new HC Ryan Walters was next.
That led into the main event, Nebraska Head Coach Matt Rhule. He and Nebraska of course merit their own column.
After Rhule came Luke Fickell who took the stage as full bladders ran for the door followed by perennial job search whore, the suspended Jim Harbaugh. (Am I the only one who thinks yelling Jimmy’s last name will bring the goats running back in the barn?)
Although Fleck is dallying with low-end cult issues in his program and Harbaugh is to serve a 4-game suspension for burger-buying-lying, neither of these atrocities involve trying to grease up their naked freshmen for a game of Billy Goat Prom Date or whatever else their seniors have dreamed up.
In other words, a pretty slow day.
The Day Begins
- Not as much thunder on the intros today. It’s BTN’s studio host Dave Revsine to do the first three!!! Yeah, I don’t recognize him either. Don’t watch a lot of pre-game before all those stupid 11am kickoffs.
- That’s all I’ve got today. Cemeteries have more energy than Lucas Oil Stadium. No creepy scandal, no thanks, I guess. Yesterday really was Pervert Central.
Tom Allen - Indiana
- Coach Allen is the first guy to introduce which players he has brought with him to Media Days and why. Good for you, coach.
- Sounds like Indiana might be our spirit animal. Allen said they’re gonna work on toughness because they had 8 games decided in the 4th quarter last year. I’m guessing they didn’t do too well in those if he’s bringing it up that way.
- We can relate, coach, we can relate.
- With Allen not being a 1st year coach, not dealing with scandal and only getting questions from local and state reporters, he’s getting to talk about personnel, systems and coaching. What the hell - football’s going to be a topic today?
- 1st impression is the Day 2 coaches may not have to only answer questions about NIL, the transfer portal and what they’ve done to root out hazing ad nauseum.
Mike Locksley - Maryland
- Mike started off with a story about coming back from his vacation to the Virgin Islands and getting slapped with a 14-hour delay. At the airport, there was a worker who went above and beyond in doing everything he could to try & keep people fed, comfy and just generally minimize misery in a bad situation. Locksley said that makes him want to do everything he can to make a great college experience for all the kids. Good for him, college football definitely needs more of that.
- That being said, he better dare not come down on NIL after a Virgin Islands trip, delays or not. (He didn’t - I kid, I kid.)
- And he becomes the 2nd coach to pop an intro for the players he brought with him.
- Locksley could be exactly the coach Maryland needs. He definitely emphasizes a family atmosphere and treating players the right way while pushing them to be their best. He played at Towson State located in Maryland and coached at Maryland twice before. Before getting the HC job, he was at Alabama, rising to OC under Saban in 2018. In a conference chock full of coaching talent, Maryland might have found another.
P.J. Fleck - Minnesota
- Ooooo - Dave comes in hot announcing “The next coach to rock the podium..” for Peej. If it turned out PJ slipped him a $20 for that, my surprise level would be around zero.
- PJ starts off by claiming Minnesota had the #2 hardest strength of schedule last season. The Sagarin rankings put it at #68. Stupid Jeff Sagarin - PJ is always moving mountains, don’t you forget it, son.
- Asked how he is by a reporter, Peej answered, “Feeling elite.” You can’t make this up.
- Oh wow - looks like the Fleckster did an interview with ESPN before taking the stage
- Like Dave Braun yesterday, PJ might be trying to milk the clock a little - he also appears to be dragging out the opening remarks to limit the questions.
- Scott Dochterman of The Athletic drops the question about the Fleck Bank and PJ came back at first denying there was never any actual paper or coin currency - which no one ever claimed.
- But he did deny everything categorically as far as being able to use them to get out of punishments - or a failed drug test as one player alleged. It got weird after that, he started saying here’s things you could do to get Fleck Bucks, but you couldn’t get out of punishment and they don’t do physical punishment anyway at Minnesota. And they had all kinds of ways to report anonymously but zero people ever did. Also, the Fleck Bucks were just an analogy. Got it?
- And with that 3rd question, PJ thanked everyone, belted out a Go Gophers! and all but sprinted off the stage.
Ryan Walters - Purdue
- 1st question to Ryan Walters involves whether or not he tried a peanut butter burger at a local eatery yet. He was very honest saying he had breakfast there, so no peanut butter burger that day and he doesn’t find the sound of it appealing but he will try it. Ugh, will read that review before diving in myself.
- While trying to create an exciting and disruptive defense at Purdue, he still intends for Purdue to have an offense which will air it out and be creative with the running game.
- Have to confirm the energy in the building here is VERY different today. While not by half or anything, there’s definitely fewer people and it is a tomb - no buzz like most of the day yesterday. I might have to gear back my predictions for a Rhule-aissance.
Luke Fickell - Wisconsin
- I’m gonna call the Matt Rhule Q&A a win as the masses started breaking for the bathroom as Gerry DiNardo was introducing Fickell. Gotta do their business before Jimmy Harbaugh takes the stage but waited for HCMR to finish.
- Fickell also appears to be using over half his time on the opening remarks. And it’s making me sleepy, not inspired.
- Luke’s throwing the first question to himself because he says he gets this from everyone. “How do you define success?”
- Ummm? I know you guys aren’t in any trouble at Wiscy-ville but I don’t think that was going to be the first question.
- Answer? To be playing the best ball at the end of the year. And dragging out every trope of what makes success you’ve ever read in a book of daily inspirations. Electric.
- He is now talking in depth about the players he brought with him. Luke may have time for 2 questions.
- And then no one was going to ask a question. The MC was about to shut it down - “So if no one has a question for Coach Fickell, then- oh here we go.” Ouch.
- He just got the question about changing the Wisconsin philosophy, as in why change it? Luke?
- “Why not?”
- Talked about spreading things out a little but emphasized still wanting to be physical and tough up front. He didn’t sound real convincing on that part.
- We’ll see. It went south fast the last time the Badgers tried to spread things out. If this blows up spectacularly - which some of the reporter buzz seems to think is in play - is this partly because Nebraska? Wisconsin seemed all set to make Jim Leonhard the head coach but then suddenly pivoted to Fickell after Rhule was hired. If that’s the case and the implosion occurs, that would just be magical.
Jim Harbaugh - Michigan
- So weird seeing Harbaugh without a cap.
- Tied with Coach Rhule for quickest “screw opening remarks, let get on with the questions” lightning opening.
- Wow, you know the first question’s a setup when a dude asks about what makes JJ McCarthy so great and a JJ McCarthy highlight hits the big screen on cue as Harbaugh starts pumping JJ’s tires with the answer. Comparing him to Mahomes and Josh Allen was bit much.
- Jimmy gets the 1st question of the day about NIL and transfer portal - Harbaugh was one of the 1st to speak out about allowing a penalty-free one-time transfer. He pointed out that at the time there were only four sports which didn’t allow unlimited transfers so it just seemed fair.
- Adam Rittenburg asked about the suspension. Darn. Anti-climactic - he’d love to lay it all out, he’s got nothing to be ashamed of but he can’t talk about it. Having that answer in the bag was why he was fine with letting questions fly.
- Oops, someone asked Jimmy about what he thought about their NIL collective stepping up and making making a push to keep all the running backs at Michigan. It was quickly apparent he wasn’t expecting that when he unleashed around 10 seconds of sputtering and stammering followed my some talk which never addressed the question and finished with something like, “and just going to do our best this season.” Fairly high comedy.