We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Big Ten football offseason will start to come to an end on Thursday, when the conference’s media days begin in Chicago. Ohio State coach Ryan Day and seniors Jonathon Cooper, Jordan Fuller and K.J. Hill are all set to meet with the media on Thursday, along with coaches and player representatives from six other Big Ten schools, while the other seven schools’ representatives will make their rounds with the media on Friday.
While Ohio State will be hoping for a far quieter and less controversial media day than last year, the Buckeyes will nonetheless be at the center of attention once again, as Day attends his first Big Ten Media Days as Ohio State’s new head coach – fresh off a hot summer on the recruiting trail, and with high expectations surrounding the Buckeyes heading into preseason camp once again.
Eleven Warriors will be at the Hilton Chicago to cover it all, so you’ll want to stay tuned with the site throughout the next few days for full coverage from the days’ events and follow @11W, @Dan_Hope, @chasshill and @TaylorRLehman on Twitter for live updates.
If you’re planning to follow along from home or work, here’s what you need to know about what’s happening when:
Press Conference Schedule
Big Ten Media Days will open on Thursday with outgoing conference commissioner Jim Delany, in his final football media day before his retirement at the end of the year, meeting with the media at 12:15 p.m ET. Following Delany, new BTN president Francois McGillicuddy will hold his first Big Ten Media Days press conference. They will be followed by seven of the Big Ten’s coaches, starting with Nebraska’s Scott Frost at 1 p.m. and concluding with Ryan Day at 2:30 p.m.
Friday’s press conferences will begin with Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz at 9 a.m. and conclude with Big Ten coordinator of football officials Bill Carollo at 10:45 a.m.
The full schedule for Thursday and Friday’s press conferences, all of which will be televised by BTN:
|Who||When (Times ET)|
|JIM DELANY, BIG TEN COMMISSIONER||12:15 – 12:45 p.m.|
|FRANCOIS MCGILLICUDDY, BTN PRESIDENT||12:45 – 1 p.m.|
|SCOTT FROST, NEBRASKA COACH||1 – 1:15 p.m.|
|LOVIE SMITH, ILLINOIS COACH||1:15 – 1:30 p.m.|
|MARK DANTONIO, MICHIGAN STATE COACH||1:30 – 1:45 p.m.|
|TOM ALLEN, INDIANA COACH||1:45 – 2 p.m.|
|P.J. FLECK, MINNESOTA COACH||2 – 2:15 p.m.|
|MICHAEL LOCKSLEY, MARYLAND COACH||2:15 – 2:30 p.m.|
|RYAN DAY, OHIO STATE COACH||2:30 – 2:45 p.m.|
|Who||When (Times ET)|
|KIRK FERENTZ, IOWA COACH||9 – 9:15 a.m.|
|JEFF BROHM, PURDUE COACH||9:15 – 9:30 a.m.|
|JAMES FRANKLIN, PENN STATE COACH||9:30 – 9:45 a.m.|
|PAT FITZGERALD, NORTHWESTERN COACH||9:45 – 10 a.m.|
|PAUL CHRYST, WISCONSIN COACH||10 – 10:15 a.m.|
|CHRIS ASH, RUTGERS COACH||10:15 – 10:30 a.m.|
|JIM HARBAUGH, MICHIGAN COACH||10:30 – 10:45 a.m.|
|BILL CAROLLO, COORDINATOR OF OFFICIALS||10:45 – 11 a.m.|
Podium Interview Schedule
Each of the coaches and the three player representatives from each school will also be available to the media for one-hour breakout interview sessions on their school’s designated media days. While those sessions will not be televised live, Eleven Warriors will be posting partial video and additional coverage from the interview sessions featuring Ohio State’s representatives and other relevant players and coaches.
Day’s Q&A session with reporters will go from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Thursday, while Cooper, Fuller and Hill will field questions from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
The full interview schedule:
|Who||When (Times ET)|
|MICHIGAN STATE LB JOE BACHIE, DE KENNY WILLEKES, DT RAEQUAN WILLIAMS||3 – 4 p.m.|
|NEBRASKA COACH SCOTT FROST||3 – 4 p.m.|
|OHIO STATE COACH RYAN DAY||3:15 – 4:15 p.m.|
|INDIANA COACH TOM ALLEN||3:30 – 4:30 p.m.|
|MARYLAND COACH MICHAEL LOCKSLEY||3:45 – 4:45 p.m.|
|NEBRASKA LB MOHAMED BARRY, DL KHALIL DAVIS, QB ADRIAN MARTINEZ||3:45 – 4:45 p.m.|
|ILLINOIS COACH LOVIE SMITH||4 – 5 p.m.|
|ILLINOIS RB REGGIE CORBIN, CB NATE HOBBS, OT ALEX PALCZEWSKI||4 – 5 p.m.|
|MICHIGAN STATE COACH MARK DANTONIO||4 – 5 p.m.|
|MINNESOTA COACH P.J. FLECK||4:15 – 5:15 p.m.|
|INDIANA OT COY CRONK, LB REAKWON JONES, WR NICK WESTBROOK||4:45 – 5:45 p.m.|
|MINNESOTA DE CARTER COUGHLIN, RB MOHAMED IBRAHIM, WR TYLER JOHNSON||5 – 6 p.m.|
|MARYLAND DB ANTOINE BROOKS JR., DB TINO ELLIS, RB ANTHONY MCFARLAND||5:15 – 6:15 p.m.|
|OHIO STATE DE JONATHON COOPER, S JORDAN FULLER, WR K.J. HILL||5:30 – 6:30 p.m.|
|Who||When (Times ET)|
|IOWA DB MICHAEL OJEMUDIA, QB NATHAN STANLEY, RB TOREN YOUNG||3:15 – 4:15 p.m.|
|MICHIGAN COACH JIM HARBAUGH||3:15 – 4:15 p.m.|
|FORMER MICHIGAN STATE RUNNING BACK LORENZO WHITE||3:30 – 4 p.m.|
|IOWA COACH KIRK FERENTZ||3:30 – 4:30 p.m.|
|WISCONSIN C TYLER BIADASZ, LB CHRIS ORR, RB JONATHAN TAYLOR||3:30 – 4:30 p.m.|
|RUTGERS COACH CHRIS ASH||3:45 – 4:45 p.m.|
|RUTGERS LB TYSHON FOGG, LB TYREEK MADDOX-WILLIAMS, OL ZACH VENESKY||4:15 – 5:15 p.m.|
|PENN STATE COACH JAMES FRANKLIN||4:30 – 5:30 p.m.|
|PURDUE COACH JEFF BROHM||4:45 – 5:45 p.m.|
|PENN STATE LB CAM BROWN, P BLAKE GILLIKIN, CB JOHN REID||5 – 6 p.m.|
|MICHIGAN G BEN BREDESON, LB JORDAN GLASGOW, LB KHALEKE HUDSON||5 – 6 p.m.|
|WISCONSIN COACH PAUL CHRYST||5:15 – 6:15 p.m.|
|PURDUE LB MARKUS BAILEY, WR RONDALE MOORE, DT LORENZO NEAL||5:30 – 6:30 p.m.|
|NORTHWESTERN COACH PAT FITZGERALD||5:45 – 6:45 p.m.|
|NORTHWESTERN LB PADDY FISHER, DE JOE GAZIANO, C JARED THOMAS||6 – 7 p.m.|
Additional TV Coverage
From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET on Thursday and Friday, BTN will air a live Football Media Day Special featuring interviews with coaches and players from each of the 14 Big Ten schools. BTN’s Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith will anchor the network’s coverage.
BTN will also air the conference’s Kickoff Luncheon in a tape-delayed broadcast on Saturday at 8 p.m. The luncheon, which will feature a speech from Minnesota holder and four-time cancer survivor Casey O’Brien and will also feature interviews with all 14 Big Ten coaches and appearances by College Football Hall of Fame inductees Lorenzo White, Tom Osborne and Barry Alvarez, is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Hilton Chicago.
The luncheon will be preceded by an autograph session for ticketholders and group photos of the players and coaches; tickets for the event, on sale through the Big Ten’s website, are $110/person.
What to Watch For
There aren’t necessarily any major burning questions for Day and the Buckeyes entering Thursday’s media sessions, but they will surely be among the main attractions in Chicago, nonetheless. Day will be in the spotlight leading up to this season as he enters his first season at a head coach at any level – and doing so at one of the most prestigious college football programs in the country – while Fuller, Hill and Cooper are all expected to be Ohio State’s key leaders this season.
The biggest news for Ohio State since Day last met with the media in June has been its exceptional run of commitments from top recruits over the last month, so that will surely be a popular topic of questioning on Thursday – even though Day isn’t allowed to talk about any recruits specifically. Of course, Day is also likely to field a multitude of questions on new Ohio State quarterbacks Justin Fields and Gunnar Hoak, as he has yet to officially name Fields the starter – and probably won’t do so on Thursday – as the Buckeyes move forward following the departure of Dwayne Haskins, the 2018 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.
With preseason camp now just a couple weeks away, Big Ten Media Days also serves as an opportunity to get updates on how the summer went for the Buckeyes, and those updates usually include at least some minor news such as injuries, transfer or other items that had not been previously reported.
Elsewhere around the conference, star players like Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez, Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore, Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor and Michigan State defensive end Kenny Willekes are among those attending who should command the most attention from the media. Michigan has been widely projected as the frontrunner in the Big Ten this year, despite its lack of success against Ohio State for the past seven years, so Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines will be firmly in the spotlight, too.
Jim Delany will also get his moment in the sun on Thursday, as the Big Ten’s commissioner of the past 30 years will almost certainly spend the majority of his press conference discussing and fielding questions about his decision to retire at the end of the year and the transition to incoming commissioner Kevin Warren.
All in all, the two-day event will serve as the biggest opportunity of the year to date to hear from the conference’s coaches and some of its best players as the start of fall camp – and soon the start of the season – begins to come into focus.