Big Ten Media Days key takeaways
July 28, 2022
The second day of Big Ten Media Days featured some of the league's biggest names. The event was held at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
It was highlighted by the presence of Wisconsin, which is the favorite to win the Big Ten West. With just a month until the start of the season, the sense of urgency was apparent as the conference looked to produce its first national champion since Ohio State in 2014.
Among the programs under the spotlight was Ohio State, which is coming off a disappointing season. Fifth-year coach Ryan Day said his team's goal was to win the Big Ten Championship and compete for the national title. He added that those goals did not happen last year.
Despite the expected return of Michigan, Ohio State will still face challenges from teams such as Michigan State, Penn State, and Wisconsin.
Buckeyes scarred after last season
After going 11-2 in his first season as a head coach in 2021, Ryan Day said his players were "a little scarred" because they did not win the Big Ten East title and did not participate in the College Football Playoffs. One of the most significant changes that the program made this off-season was hiring Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State to serve as the defensive coordinator.
Day said the expectations of the new scheme and the new coaches were different going into the 2022 season. He said that all of these factors were new.
The 43-year-old said the was excited to watch the Michigan State defense's progress during the summer. The coach said he expected a top-10 defense from the program. When asked about his team's expectations, Day said they wanted to be able to play consistently good defense.
Diaz perfect fit for Penn
After Brent Pry left to become the head coach at Virginia Tech, James Franklin named former Miami defensive coordinator and assistant coach Manny Diaz to replace him at Penn State. The Nittany Lions were able to hold opponents to just 17 points per game last season, which was the sixth-best mark in the country.
During an interview with the Big Ten Network, Franklin said that Diaz had the necessary experience to be successful as a head coach. He insisted the experiences he had gained during his previous positions would benefit his team.
According to Franklin, he first spoke with Diaz about the Penn State job the Day after he left Miami. He said he was initially unsure if he wanted to talk about the position but was eventually interested in becoming the head coach at the university.
During the off-season, Franklin also spent some time with his former defensive coordinators to learn more about their philosophies. It helped him in hiring a new defensive coordinator. He said the transition period would be easier with Diaz because he had already started implementing his latest scheme.