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Big Ten Friday mailblog

Hoping everyone has a great weekend, especially those attending spring games!

Send in those questions for Tuesday's mailblog.

Ryan from New Zealand writes: Hi Adam, A lot of attention has been paid to rebuilding Michigan's defense and the changes to the offense. But, I haven't heard anything about their special teams changes. Notably, have they found a kicker yet? This was a huge problem last year and really created problems. Do you think they have fixed this problem area?Also, do you know when teams will release their 2011 schedules?Thanks,Ryan

Adam Rittenberg: Ryan, the kicker situation still looks very shaky. Seth Broekhuizen and Brendan Gibbons both missed field-goal attempts in the spring game, although to be fair, that's only a sliver of what they did in practice this spring. Incoming freshman Matt Wile will have a chance to win the job in preseason camp, but until someone starts getting it done in games, you should worry. ... The full schedules should be released soon, along with the Big Ten's prime-time schedule of games.


Dan from Scottsdale, Ariz., writes: I'd like to get your thoughts on the Jack Nicklaus take about Tress "taking the hit". Although Nicklaus claims to know nothing, he's really stirring the pot isnt he? If he's right and Tress wasn't the only one who knew, wouldn't that directly signal the NCAA to keep digging? And wouldn't Nicklaus' comments effectively end any relationship he'd have with Gee and Smith? Seems like the type of comments a well known alum would say to burn his bridge. Unless he can back them up, his comments seem reckless, careless and useless to me.Also, you took it easy on Pete from Chicago (from Wednesday's chat) regarding PSU feeling unwelcome to the B1G due to the OSU/Michigan rivalry. You subtly let him know about experiencing success. I'll not so subtly remind him PSU has pretty much been a doormat to UM since they joined the conference. Until recently UM has completely owned PSU and probably still would if they hadn't pushed Carr out...

Adam Rittenberg: Nicklaus has his own museum on Ohio State's campus -- right next to the football complex, actually -- so he probably can say what he wants and avoid major repercussions. But it's interesting for sure, and I can say there are a lot of folks around the Big Ten who share this opinion about other people besides Tressel knowing what was happening at Ohio State. The NCAA definitely is digging for more information at Ohio State, not only about this situation but anything else that might come up. While I highly doubt Nicklaus knows more than Gene Smith and Gordon Gee about what happened, it's interesting that he has chosen to speak out.


Kyle from Denver writes: Any news on Chris Borland from your Madison visit? I see you didn't mention him on the linebacker depth chart. Is the shoulder still an issue or will he be back competing for a starting role? After his stellar freshman year lets get this man-child on the field again!

Adam Rittenberg: Kyle, I caught up with Chris and he's still working his way back from the shoulder surgeries. He's doing agility drills and recently started lifting again, which is a good sign. He expects to be medically cleared in a few weeks but won't participate in full contact until preseason camp. If Borland can stay healthy, he'll provide a huge lift at linebacker for the Badgers. Wisconsin really could use his playmaking skills after losing J.J. Watt.


Tony from Ann Arbor, Mich., writes: Adam - Regarding Tressel's job status and relationship with this boss, if you signed a form like that for ESPN and it turned out to be a blatant lie, and it damaged ESPN's reputation in front of the whole county over months or more, cost ESPN hundreds of thousands (or more), and will likely cost ESPN major sanctions from its regulator (the FCC?) -- what would your job status be? What would be your relationship with your boss? Yeah, me too, and the same with everyone else reading this. OSU's handling of this situation sends a very bad message to its student athletes; it's an embarrasment to their university and to the Big Ten, among others. I might be from Ann Arbor, but I'm sorry to see it.

Adam Rittenberg: Tony, the difference is I haven't made ESPN millions of dollars and made ESPN's shareholders (equivalent of Ohio State's football boosters) want to invest millions of dollars. Although that's all part of my grand plan, Tressel still has far greater value to the real power brokers at Ohio State, who ultimately decide when a coach gets fired. These situations really show who has the power at certain schools, and it's often not the president or the AD.


Nathan from Iowa writes: Hey Adam,What is your opinion on Adam Robinson's possible re-acceptance onto the team? You've had strong opinions on previous situations about allowing people back onto the team after being kicked off for various reasons. Just wanting to hear your opinion on this. I think he should be allowed back on after what happened based on the substance policies set in place at the schools, this just happened at the extremely wrong time. I would still like to see a game suspension because of the timing that it happened, but I think he is a good kid who made a mistake.Thanks!

Adam Rittenberg: Nathan, here's my post on the Robinson situation from back in January. My stance hasn't changed. I agree that Robinson was hurt by the timing of what he did -- right after the DJK situation and the internal examination of athlete drug-testing procedures -- but he shouldn't get off the hook easily. If he meets the conditions I outline in the post -- complete his drug counseling program, undergo frequent drug tests, maintain above-average grades and subject to a zero-tolerance policy -- he deserves another chance.


Michael from St. Louis writes: Hi Adam - When digging through local papers to fill your lunch links during the offseason, do you ever get the feeling you've read a story a dozen different times already? We get it: Nebraska quarterbacks will be allowed to audible next year. Or last year (and I know you didn't have to go through this): Bo Pelini/Shawn Watson isn't going to name a starting QB until gameday! I guess this is more of a complaint than a question. Please, oh please, God - let the football season start soon.

Adam Rittenberg: Here's to that, Michael! I know what you mean about the links, but it's the offseason and there are only so many storylines when you don't play games between late December/early January and September. I'll try my best to find some links that haven't been regurgitated too many times.


Tyler from Eden Prairie, Minn., writes: On paper, who do you think has the best speed on the offensive side of the ball? I think Nebraska has to be up there or at the top with Taylor Martinez, Rex Burkhead, Jamal Turner, Kyler Reed, and Kenny Bell. They still have 3 4* RB's that will be there in the fall. And maybe even a freak athlete like Bubba Starling passes up MLB and plays for Nebraska.

Adam Rittenberg: I'd agree on the Huskers, Tyler. Martinez and Burkhead both have shown they can run, and I'm excited to see what Turner and Bell can do in games. It might be wishful thinking on Starling, but you never know what happens with these two-sport athletes. Michigan and Ohio State also boast a lot of speed on offense (when the Buckeyes' top players are in the game), and Purdue and Illinois also have speed because of their dual-threat quarterbacks.