Live from Memorial Stadium II
12:35: I'm having technical difficulties so I'm going to shut it down for the day. I apologize. We'll be sure to get this fixed before the home opener. Thanks to everyone who participated. Ciao.
11:50 Sorry about the delay. My computer needs to get used to the new look of the stadium too. Juice Williams and Chris Duvalt seemed to have formed a good connection. IIt makes sense They were in the same recruiting class and are friends.
Freshman Mikel Leshoure just scored on a long touchdown run. He is definitely in the mix at tailback.
11:35 Freshman quarterback Jacob Charest is on the field and just hit London Davis with a pass. Charest can play at this level. Unlike Juice Williams, he won't need to be thrown into the game so early in his career. Spending time with Williams and Eddie McGee will help Charest.
11:30 The turf was just filled this week. I haven't noticed any major slipping. Lenny Willis, who is in charge of facilities, said a good rain will help.
Every time the offense gets close, the defense stands up and makes a stop.
11:20 My assistant, Hank, pointed out that the offense doesn't usually score much in scrimmages, though Juice Williams just ran in for a touchdown. The defense seems to have an advantage in the early scrimmages most years.
Speaking of guys who are going to have a big year, David Lindquist is disruptive as a defensive tackle. He is among the best walk-ons in school history.
The running backs are all off to a good start, with Jason Ford, Daniel Dufrene and Mikel Leshoure have all had long gains.
11:10 a.m. Nate Bussey just intercepted a pass from Eddie McGee and returned it for a touchdown. You probably heard Ken say it on the PA.
McGee got a bit of revenge with a long pass to tight end London Davis. The freshman tight ends, Davis and Hubie Graham, have looked very good in practice and will be helping Michael Hoomanawanui during the 2008 season.
I see the Big Ten Network crew that is filming "The Journey" walking across the field. Ron Zook said he didn't originally like the idea of having his team followed, but changed his mind when Ron Guenther said it would be a good chance to show what good people he has in the program.
Michael Hoomanawanui is having another good scrimmage. I'm guessing he catches 40-plus passes this season and is a force in the red zone. Plus, he can block a little bit.
11:05 Well, we know the PA works. I think they can hear Ken Johnson in Monticello.
Juice Williams is off to a good start, hitting a couple of early passes and scrambling well.
The coaches are on the sidelines, as promised. I can see some of the assistants in the coaches' booth high in the new structure. I think it will be a better angle for them than in the past.
10:52 The kickers just took shots at field goals. I think Derek Dimke will be the starter against Missouri, but the coaches could go another direction. They will want to have confidence that whoever is in there can make a field goal with a bunch of people in the stands going crazy. They won't know how the kicker will react until he gets there.
The scrimmage still hasn't started. I will let you know when it does.
More on the stadium: The Colonnades Club seats are going in. They are deep blue. The press box at the top of the new structure looks much closer to being done than it was when I was in there two weeks ago.
A special shout out to Terry Conlon, who supplied this blog with power. He is the ace concession manager at Memorial Stadium and he has some treats lined up for you this year.
10:40 The officials are here. That's got to be a good sign. The players are stretching now, not that you want a stretching play by play.
I can't get over how different the building looks with the new west stands. I knew it wouldn' t be the same, but it really alters the look of the place. In a good way. Somewhere, Red Grange is smiling. And scoring four more touchdowns against Michigan.
10:32 I'm in the east stands at Memorial Stadium. The players are on the field and the music is blaring from the scoreboard, which is working.. The field is brand new and it looks sharp. I will give you updates every 5-10 minutes about what I;m seeing. The scrimmage is still a few minutes away. They do nothing before stretching first. Good move. No surprise, there are workers in the west stands. It looks like they are bolting in the bleachers.