One interesting thing we learned about each team at Day 2 of B1G Media Days
CHICAGO — Media Days are what they are. You’re not going to learn someone’s deepest, darkest secrets.
At the same time, you’re still going to learn something interesting about a program. That is, if you feel like paying attention.
Fortunately, I paid attention during availability sessions on Tuesday in Chicago. The result was some new information about each B1G team.
Here’s a nugget from each of the seven teams that were in attendance on Tuesday:
MICHIGAN — Jim Harbaugh has a new level of “doing things his way”
Yeah, when the guy showed up rocking his trademark khakis, pullover and Michigan hat, it was clear that Harbaugh wasn’t about to abide by the B1G’s dress code. Actually, is there a dress code for media days? Who knows. Go figure that Harbaugh was the one who discovered that loophole.
Besides his attire loophole, Harbaugh also confirmed that Michigan would be heading to Normandy and Paris next spring. Many would argue that Harbaugh’s spring break trips overseas are the best example of Harbaugh doing his way.
Oh, he also barked quarterback calls.
Jim Harbaugh wants his quarterbacks to be loud. To make his point clear, he decided to give the reporters a demonstration. pic.twitter.com/DmPbuGTplm
— Zach Wingrove (@ZachWingrove) July 25, 2017
Just in case we thought Harbaugh was done with the curveballs, he had a whole stash of them on Tuesday.
MINNESOTA — P.J. Fleck is bald because he lost a bet
Ok, so Fleck surprised many when he showed up at B1G Media Days with his hair chopped off. If you’ve been paying attention on social media, you knew about Fleck’s new look before Tuesday.
As it turned out, it was the result of a lost bet with his wife, Heather.
“First, when your wife wants you to do something, eventually, you’re probably going to do that. You can delay it as long as you want, but eventually, you’re probably gonna do it,” Fleck said. “Second, I lost a bet to Heather so I had to do it, and then I had to do it in Disney World. So we’re at Disney World in the bathroom, and if I had to do it, my two boys had to do it. So I shaved their heads immediately right down the middle so they couldn’t say no.
“But I kinda had a peninsula going a bit. She said, ‘Listen, I really want you to shave that before it becomes an island.'”
It’s now just an ocean.
That's not very elite hair. pic.twitter.com/TULrEFbKej
— Saturday Tradition (@Tradition) July 25, 2017
Fleck didn’t want to share what the bet was, just that it was “fun.” It sounds like it could be Fleck’s new look.
As for one other interesting nugget, Minnesota defensive lineman Steven Richardson said that Fleck recruited him to come to Western Michigan back in the day. Ironically enough, both of them said that they wish they would’ve gotten more time together.
Hey, better than nothing.
NEBRASKA — Tanner Lee has a new nickname
Well, at least he does from Aaron Williams. The Nebraska cornerback explained what he calls Lee after spending the last couple days with him.
“I call him ‘The Golden Boy.’ He’s ‘The Golden Boy’,” Williams said. “I don’t know what it is. Just look at him. He’s a good dude. I gave him that name today because I was talking to him on Monday and I was like, ‘T. Lee, you finally look like a quarterback.’
“So the whole summer, he didn’t get no haircut, or nothin’. He’s just been thuggin’ it real hard. So now he’s cleaned up. I said, ‘You finally look like a college quarterback.'”
Williams lovingly compared Lee’s old look to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now, he said that Lee looks like one of the Manning brothers or Tom Brady.
See for yourself:
— Greg Smith (@GregSmithHV) July 25, 2017
Williams made it clear that despite the on-the-field comparisons of Lee to the Mannings, he only compared their looks for now.
Still, that’s not bad praise for a guy that hasn’t played a down at Nebraska yet. If Husker fans have it their way, Williams’ nickname for Lee will stick because he looks the part on the field, too.
NORTHWESTERN — Northwestern had no idea it was picked to finish second in the West
The Wildcats were picked to finish second in the West in the unofficial B1G Media poll that Cleveland.com organizes. That was news to them.
“Honestly, I haven’t seen that poll,” Northwestern safety Justin Jackson said. “I’ve been told a few different things, but it doesn’t matter.”
The “doesn’t really matter” line wasn’t exactly universal. Jackson gave the typical senior quote. Godwin Igwebuike had a different initial reaction when he was made aware of the poll.
“Really?” Igwebuike said a bit impressed. “Yeah, I didn’t know about this one.”
Ok, Fitzgerald was told by Northwestern’s director of communications on Tuesday. But he wasn’t exactly believing the hype.
“I said, ‘Great. We got picked to finish second? That stinks,'” Fitzgerald said. “I guess I’ve got to get the job done to get picked first.”
Ah, spoken like a true football guy.
PENN STATE — Mike Gesicki won Penn State’s dunk contest…just before he was cut off
If you don’t know the Penn State senior’s background, here’s a brief rundown. Before he became an All-B1G tight end, he was a high school hoops/volleyball star who’s been dunking since eighth grade. Simply put, the dude has ups. During the offseason, Gesicki won Penn State’s dunk contest.
In case you forgot, here’s what he did:
The NBA should put Penn State's TE Mike Gesicki in the dunk contest next year pic.twitter.com/lAU2vCVkpm
— Tailgate Heisman (@TailgateHeisman) March 3, 2017
Apparently after that last alley-oop/jump-over-the-teammate dunk, Gesicki got cut off by tight ends coach Ricky Rahne.
“Coach Rahne was standing in the background and he was like, ‘You’re done,'” Gesicki joked. “I was like, ‘There it is. I’m done. I’m done for the day.'”
It’s a good thing Gesicki stopped, because he’s still healthy and looking like a potential All-American. Needless to say, there won’t be many more dunk contests before he gets his first NFL payday.
PURDUE — Jeff Brohm tries to downplay his glorious XFL soundbite
I spent 20 minutes with Brohm on Tuesday. If I didn’t bring up his “LET’S PLAY FOOTBALL” soundbite, I would’ve fired myself.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s Purdue’s first-year football coach:
“The video is out there and there’s nothing I can do about it,” Brohm said. “It was a lotta fun when I did it, but I would do it again.”
According to Brohm, he doesn’t bring it up to players. Usually, they just bring it up to him. He doesn’t regret the quote, but he doesn’t re-live it.
Well, except when Purdue decides to use “LET’S PLAY FOOTBALL” as a hashtag…which it did eight times on Tuesday alone.
— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) July 25, 2017
RUTGERS — Chris Ash didn’t sugarcoat how bad 2016 was
Quite simply, Ash said that it was awful. He talked about how little fun it was to go 2-10 and to lose every conference game, many of which were blowouts. Being blunt about it was the only way he knew how to address the elephant in the room.
“That’s my style,” Ash said. “I learned a long time ago, making excuses, pointing fingers, blaming somebody else…nobody cares. I could give you a whole book of excuses or reasons that we went 2-10. At the end of the day, I’m the head coach. I take responsibilities of our performance on Saturdays. I’ve got to do a better job. That’s it.”
OK, so that’s not exactly a headline-worthy quote. But more times than not, coaches coming off a 2-10 season in their first year would want to talk about how the team showed positive signs and that it’s improving.
Ash didn’t blow hot air. Players said like that about him. They said that after those blowout losses, he wasn’t afraid to be blunt.
Will that help Rutgers in the long run? That remains to be seen.
At the very least, the Scarlet Knights have a straight shooter running the show, which they couldn’t say two years ago.