February 1, 2010

Rivals.com Spring Practice Primer: Big Ten

We're two days from National Signing Day, and that also means the start of spring practice is just around the corner.

The first team to open spring ball? It's Duke, on Feb. 15. (Uhh, that's two weeks from today.)

To get you primed for spring practice, here's a look at the start dates for all 120 FBS teams plus the overriding problem each program must deal with during spring drills.

Big Ten Spring Practice Primer

ILLINOIS
Practice begins: March 29.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: With a new offensive coordinator (Paul Petrino) and defensive coordinator (Vic Koenning), implementing new schemes and philosophies will take priority. Oh, and a quarterback must be found.

INDIANA
Practice begins: March 23.
Spring game: April 17.
Biggest task: The Hoosiers will be looking to shore up a shaky secondary that was a major reason Indiana had one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten.

IOWA
Practice begins: March 24.
Spring game: April 17.
Biggest task: With three starters gone -- including star T Bryan Bulaga a year early to the NFL -- the offensive line will be a major point of emphasis. Coaches seem likely to move Riley Reiff from guard to replace Bulaga, so in a way, there will be four new starters.

MICHIGAN
Practice begins: March 14.
Spring game: April 17.
Biggest task: It's vital that the Wolverines patch up a defense that ranked No. 9 in the Big Ten (393.3 ypg) last season. The secondary is especially troubling; finding two starting corners is a key.

MICHIGAN STATE
Practice begins: March 23.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: The Spartans need to find help at left tackle and kicker. Developing a consistent pass rush is job No. 1 on defense.

MINNESOTA
Practice begins: March 23.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: The Golden Gophers must adapt to their third offensive coordinator in four years. Nine starters have to be replaced on defense.

NORTHWESTERN
Practice begins: March 29.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: The Wildcats need to improve the play at running back and get stronger in the secondary and along the defensive line. Northwestern also must replace QB Mike Kafka.

OHIO STATE
Practice begins: April 1.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: The defense needs to find two new starting safeties, and the offense needs to continue to improve its passing game. Can Terrelle Pryor take the next step as a decision-maker and passer?

PENN STATE
Practice begins: March 26.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: The Nittany Lions have some work to do. They need a new starting quarterback and are trying to replace three starting linebackers and two starting offensive tackles.

PURDUE
Practice begins: March 24.
Spring game: April 17.
Biggest task: The secondary needs to be overhauled, the offensive line must be solidified and a quarterback must be found. The new quarterback could be Miami transfer Robert Marve.

WISCONSIN
Practice begins: March 13.
Spring game: April 17.
Biggest task: With three starters gone, the defensive line will be a point of emphasis after the Badgers ranked No. 5 in the nation in rush defense. The tackle spot is the biggest concern.

MORE: ACC | Big East | Big 12 | SEC | Pac-10 | MAC | C-USA | MWC | WAC | Sun Belt | Indy


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