CHICAGO — The annual Big Ten Media Days event is in the books and with it came plenty of zingers and one-liners that will be remembered well into the fall.
That’s mainly because football is close, yet so far away. But there really were some intriguing sound bytes and eyebrow-raising quotes from the first day of action at McCormick Place.
Here are the best quotes from Big Ten Media Day Two:
10. Mark Dantonio and Josiah Price honor deceased teammate
The passing of Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and Michigan State punter Mike Sadler put a bit of a damper on Media Days. But it’s amazing tributes like this by tight end Josiah Price that signify just how wonderful of a person Sadler was.
“Mike Sadler could have been the most successful Michigan State grad there ever was,” Price said. “He was that kind of a person. He had that kind of talent, that kind of intelligence, that kind of drive, that kind of motivation.”
Dantonio also offered some more touching words on his former punter.
“He was a giver. He lived life. There was no take in Mike Sadler. He made everybody’s life around him better.”
Both Foltz and Sadler shouldn’t be forgotten even with Media Days wrapping up and a new season looming ahead.
9. Suction for hands, wow
Ohio State is looking to replenish all over the field, but receiver is one of the particularly questionable spots. Don’t worry, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett appears confident in Noah Brown’s ability to catch.
“He’s got suction cups for hands,” Barrett said of Brown.
Well, guess we can expect approximately zero dropped passes from Brown this season.
8. We don’t sell used cars at Maryland
DJ Durkin is succeeding on the recruiting trail as a first-year head coach at Maryland. What a time to be alive. But really, Durkin has done a tremendous job on the recruiting trail and has a top 25 recruiting class at the moment.
So, what’s the secret to Durkin’s success?
“I think guys are just realizing and seeing we are who we are at our place,” Durkin said. “We don’t really play the used car salesman type recruiting games. This is who we are, if this fits you and you want to do it, come on with it. If it’s not, we understand too.”
Used car salesmen are people too, coach.
7. Dantonio discusses his youthful team
Once again, Michigan State much reload with primarily younger talent. Coach Mark Dantonio found an interesting way to describe his young bucks.
“We’ve got some guys that should be on first and have been born on third,” Dantonio said.
I have no idea what that means and it’s too late to try and understand.
6. Lovie believes Chicago’s Big Ten team plays in Champaign
Northwestern isn’t really Chicago’s Big Ten team after all, according to Lovie Smith.
In his inaugural Big Ten Media Days presser, Smith took a slight jab at his in-state rival, proclaiming that the Illini are truly Chicago’s team.
“We feel like we’re Chicago’s team, and also we have a lot of alumni here, so it’s good to be here,” Smith said.
Smith’s first task will be recruiting better in not just Chicago, but the entire state of Illinois. Of course, many in-state recruits might identify Smith as the former head coach of the Chicago Bears. that certainly won’t hurt.
The bigger question might be whether Smith can mold Illinois’ defense into a version of the “Monsters of the Midway.”
5. Keeping your job is important. Just ask Kevin Wilson
Wilson wins the Chatterbox Award for the week. He rattled off 1,770 words in just eight minutes and rattled off plenty of optimistic opinions on his roster.
Mixed in between Wilson’s rant was a story about Indiana’s success on the recruiting trail. Wilson said the best thing that has helped him on the recruiting trail was, well, keeping his job.
“I think the one thing that’s helped our recruiting the most has been the contract extension,” Wilson said. “I think right now with the six-year extension, I think you got a lot of guys buying the fact (that) we’ve got a chance to be successful, our administration is committed to us.”
Contract extensions will do that for ya, coach.
4. Urban Meyer makes a bold statement
Many believed Ohio State was the best team in the nation, despite missing the College Football Playoff last season. Sometimes the best team doesn’t always win it all and it’s hard to deny just how talented the Buckeyes were. Nine first-round draft picks just scratches the surface of that notion.
But Meyer believes this year’s team could be better. Maybe it’s just typical Media Day fodder, but he wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true (I think).
“I would say that going into it this is as talented a group, top to bottom, as we’ve had.”
That’s a bold statement, Urban. Let’s see how it plays out for him.
3. Kirk Ferentz watches movies, in case you were wondering
In the middle of his presser, Ferentz blurted out this random anecdote.
“That movie was Spotlight, by the way,” Ferentz said to a confused media contingency. “Two months later I remembered it. Sorry about that. The one movie I’ve seen since the season started. I knew I saw a good one.”
Ferentz not only watches movies, he appreciates good, old fashioned journalism.
The second media day featured a little bit of drama revolving around James Franklin, Mark Dantonio and Meyer. It started when a reporter asked Dantonio to respond to apparent allegations made by James Franklin about negatively recruiting against Penn State.
“But from my standpoint, I have not said anything negative about Penn State,” Dantonio said. “And hopefully our coaches have not as well. So I was surprised to read that. I don’t know what happens out there on the road completely. But it’s not our MO. And that’s not how we do business.”
Meyer was asked the same question. Like Dantonio, he vehemently denied that accusation.
“Absolutely not,” Meyer said. “And that’s the first time I’ve heard that. I’ll address that with Coach Franklin if that is an issue. That’s a pretty strong allegation that I’ve not heard yet. So that’s not been presented to me until this moment. Absolutely not.”
Now, let’s be real. It’s tough not to recruit negatively against divisional opponents. The exact things being said are an entirely different story. But it’s safe to say these coaches aren’t afraid to bash anyone if it means landing another talent.
1. A picture
A picture speaks 1,000 words, but in this case this photo of the trio seated next to each other at the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon speaks 10 million words. So it might be appropriate to say goodbye to the 201y edition of Big Ten Media Days with this photo of sheer awkwardness.
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) July 26, 2016
That’s not a very happy face from coach Franklin, who keep in mind is 0-6 in two seasons against the other three coaches pictured to his right.
And with that, Big Ten Media Days is complete.