Presser Bullets: Kevin Warren Discusses the Future of the Big Ten, Conference Head Coaches Preview 2022 Football Season

By Griffin Strom on July 26, 2022 at 11:05 am
Kevin Warren

Big Ten Media Days are underway in Indianapolis.

Conference commissioner Kevin Warren addressed members of the media at the podium in Lucas Oil Stadium Tuesday morning, fielding questions about Big Ten expansion and the state of college football as a whole.

Following Warren, seven Big Ten head coaches are slated to step up to the mic, including Nebraska's Scott Frost, Maryland's Michael Locksley, Minnesota's P.J. Fleck, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, Indiana's Tom Allen, Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald and Michigan's Jim Harbaugh.

Below we'll have notes on what each of them said at their podium interview sessions Tuesday, beginning with Warren's comments.

Kevin Warren

  • Warren says "my heart is warm" with how much the Big Ten "has progressed" in the past few years.
  • Warren notes that all 14 of the Big Ten's head coaches have returned this season, and says the Big Ten is the only Power 5 conference in which that is the case.
  • Warren says the Big Ten's recent trip to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, was "healing" and "incredible" and would have made the founding presidents of the conference proud.
  • On expansion: "We will have a footprint in the three major media markets, from New York to Los Angeles to Chicago."
  • "The Big Ten conference will not languish in bureaucracy."
  • On NIL, Warren says "we need federal legislation to put in some guardrails, to make it even cleaner."
  • Warren is "incredibly excited" to welcome in USC and UCLA, says both schools are "incredible" both academically and athletically.
  • Warren on the future of the Big Ten: "It may include future expansion, but it will be done for the right reasons at the right time. ... We will not expand just to expand. It will be strategic."
  • Warren is "incredibly pleased" about the Big Ten's media rights negotiations, and says the conference is finalizing its deals at the moment. Warren says an announcement is coming sooner rather than later.
  • Warren says "we are in a perpetual state of change. We need to embrace change."
  • On the media rights contract being negotiated, Warren says "I'm very conscientious not to focus on the money, although we will be blessed financially." Warren says the goal is to deliver content to fans from age 5 to 105.
  • Warren is "100 percent supportive" of College Football Playoff expansion. Warren says there should be multiple media partners with the CFP.
  • On potentially sharing revenue directly with players in the future, Warren says he wants to listen and learn from the players in the Big Ten and what's important to them moving forward. "It's a topic I think about on a daily basis and I look for the Big Ten to be bold and a leader in that area."
  • "When change occurs, I get excited about it." Warren says he's going to be "very aggressive" when looking to make decisions in general.

Scott Frost

  • Frost says Nebraska was competitive in nearly every game it played last season, despite disappointing results overall.
  • Frost says the additions of USC and UCLA "pretty much ensure" that the Big Ten is ahead of the curve as the college football landscape continues to change.
  • Frost says Nebraska is "gonna be one of the best places for NIL."
  • On CFP expansion, Frost says "I would personally love to see it expand a little bit." Frost says winning a conference title should get a team "a seat at the table" even if they aren't the highest-ranked team in the conference.
  • Frost thinks Nebraska needs "more of a killer instinct" to be able to finish games and pull out close contests.

Mike Locksley

  • Locksley credits his program for having a winning season and getting a bowl win in 2021. Says the program now needs to "take the next step." Locksley says the 2022 team is probably his deepest at Maryland.
  • On QB Taulia Tagovailoa, Locksley says he may be the most underrated player in the country.
  • Locksley says standout wideout Dontay Demus is "ahead of schedule" after suffering a season-ending injury last year. Says he'll likely play in the first game of the year.
  • On Big Ten expansion: "I think it's a win for the conference." Says USC and UCLA both have similar priorities to the rest of the programs in the Big Ten.
  • Locksley says he's been on record saying "I'm all for NIL."

P.J. Fleck

  • Fleck says the 2022 Gopher roster is the "most committed team" he's had in his six years as head coach of the Minnesota program.
  • On Mohamed Ibrahim, Fleck said he could've gone to the NFL, but decided to come back '"for the team." Fleck says Ibrahim's leadership has been very effective because of the life experiences he has accrued. "He's at full strength, he's ready to go."
  • Fleck says his first reaction to the Big Ten's expansion was "LA? Are you kidding me? That's perfect." Fleck says it's a "positive blueprint for the Big Ten."

Kirk Ferentz

  • Ferentz says he's "really concerned" with the direction that college football is headed at the moment.
  • Ferentz says the Hawkeyes have a "fantastic" coaching staff in 2022, which includes five former players.
  • On his new contract, Ferentz says he wanted to make sure the rest of his staff would be compensated well moving forward.

Pat Fitzgerald

  • Fitzgerald says the Northwestern coaching staff has spent the whole offseason looking at film and trying to figure out what went wrong in the 2021 season.
  • Fitzgerald says the experience level of the 2022 team is back to where it was in 2020, while last year's team lacked a lot of experience.
  • On USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten, Fitzgerald says "I'm excited. ... You're going to wake up watching Big Ten football and you're going to go to bed watching Big Ten football." Fitzgerald says "we've always recruited California."
  • On star DB Brandon Joseph transferring to Notre Dame: "Change is upon us." 
  • Fitzgerald says the Big Ten offers a unique experience for athletes because of the "cathedrals of college football" that they will get to play in across the country once USC and UCLA join the fray.

Jim Harbaugh

  • Harbaugh says there's been "zero entitlement" from the Wolverines this offseason.
  • On Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy, Harbaugh says "the best player's gonna play." Says both players are gonna be "really tough to beat out for the starting job."
  • On the offseason after accomplishing many of his goals last year: "It's been a really good continuation from last year's team." Harbaugh says it's "been tremendous."
  • Harbaugh says "we're just gonna continue to attack" in 2022. "They literally attack everything that's put in front of them."
  • On having a new DC and OC coming in this year, Harbaugh says his brother (John) has helped him find top candidates for jobs in the past, and that "it's an incredible group." Harbaugh says "I feel great about our offensive staff, I feel great about our defensive staff."
  • Harbaugh says his goals are to "beat Ohio State and Michigan State in the same year, win the Big Ten Championship and win the national championship. Those would be our four goals."
View 56 Comments