Checking up on the Big Ten's QBs
Nathan Scheelhaase is Illinois’ quarterback. How about the rest of the Big Ten? Here’s a look, courtesy MATT DANIELS:
Indiana Tre Roberson
Comment: Both Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld were steady this spring. Both players, too, helped pick apart Illinois last fall. But this job is Roberson’s to lose. As long as he stays healthy after he missed most of last season with a broken leg.
Iowa Jake Rudock
Comment: Kirk Ferentz will have to replace two-year starter James Vandenburg, who threw more interceptions (eight) than touchdowns (seven) last fall. Look for Rudock to hold off Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard this summer.
Michigan Devin Gardner
Comment: He’s the man now that Denard Robinson has left Ann Arbor. Should produce better passing numbers while still an option to burn defenses with his feet. We’ll call him Denard 2.0.
Michigan State Andrew Maxwell
Comment: The senior leads a unit that should have nine starters back for coach Mark Dantonio. Folks in East Lansing should feel good after Maxwell threw for more than 2,600 yards last fall.
Minnesota Philip Nelson
Comment: Jerry Kill took the redshirt off the Mankato, Minn., native last season. He will need to increase his pedestrian numbers (873 passing yards, eight TDs, eight INTs) during his sophomore season.
Nebraska Taylor Martinez
Comment: The old one in the group, the dual-threat California native enters 2013 with 39 starts (three more than Scheelhaase) for top honors in the conference and has rewritten the Cornhuskers’ record book in the process.
Northwestern Kain Colter
Comment: If he’s not throwing the ball, chances are he’ll run or catch it. The multi-faceted athlete should get the start against California on Aug. 31. If not, Pat Fitzgerald will go with Trevor Siemian, a traditional pocket passer.
Ohio State Braxton Miller
Comment: He’ll get early Heisman buzz. As he should. When you put up the numbers he did last year (2,039 passing yard, 1,271 rushing yards, 28 combined TDs) for an undefeated team, prognosticators are already reserving his seat for New York City in early December.
Penn State Christian Hackenberg
Comment: Bill O’Brien turned Matt McGloin into a deep passing threat in one year. With the transfer of Steven Bench after the spring game, look for Tom Brady’s old play-caller to use the highly-regarded freshman out of Fork Union, Va., against Syracuse on Aug. 31.
Purdue Rob Henry
Comment: Danny Hope didn’t leave new coach Darrell Hazell any proven veteran to build his offense around. Henry has shown flashes in the past and is the Boilermakers’ best option at this point.
Wisconsin Joel Stave
Comment: First-year coach could go with Danny O’Brien, who looked nothing like Russell Wilson last fall in Madison. Chances are he’ll stick with Stave, who came back for two plays in the Rose Bowl after breaking his collarbone in late October.