Each week we'll take a look at the new coaches in the B1G. This will feature coaches that are new to the conference, but not new to their team; coaches that are new to being the head, but not new to their team; and coaches who are new to their team and new to the B1G.
Fickell has taken over his hometown and college team, but has the unenviable task of following his mentor who may have crippled the Buckeyes for awhile. Still Fickell's debut was good. Jonanthan had more than a few things to say.
Fickell's debut went about as smoothly as it possibly could have in Columbus. Fickell has the benefit of an experienced group of assistants (every coach returned from 2010 with the exception of Tressel and the addition of Mike Vrabel to fill Fickell's former post) and it's clear he trusts their judgment. I believe that his decision to delegate most of the live game responsibilities (i.e. play calling) to his coordinators is extremely wise, at least until he completely adjusts to managing the entire sideline. Hopefully that will help us to avoid the clock management issues that sometimes plague new coaches. About the only place his inexperience stood out to me, as Chris Spielman pointed out during the telecast, was allowing Braxton Miller to sit on the sidelines for most of the game without a headset on. Again, I think his sideline and media presence will only continue to improve as the season goes on.
Hoke lead Michigan to a truncated opening day win over Western Michigan. Hoke's team started out a bit slow, but the story of the game for Michigan was defense as the Wolverines scored two defensive TD's, both by Brandon Herron. Graham thinks the defensive success has everything to do with Hoke.
The defensive pressure is the first thing we want to talk about. Multiple houses were brought in the third quarter, leading to sacks, fumbles, and a defensive touchdown. I know it's Western, but that's the product of an aggressive Greg Mattison defense. And Brady Hoke brought in Greg Mattison. So... +1 for that.
The Gophers fell by two points to Matt Barkley and Robert Woods, who happen to play for USC, a team that was favored by 23 points over the Gophers. Kill's squad looked like the Gophers of old early on with a false-start on the first play from scrimmage. The mistakes and nerves led to a 19-3 halftime deficit... and that's when Jerry Kill went to work.
It's a bit difficult to say what schematic changes were made at halftime because several plays in the first half looked broken from the word go. Having said that, it was clear that the Gophers were a different team from a comfort standpoint after Kill got ahold of them at halftime. The defense was more disruptive and the offense was more fluid.
The school that David Letterman attended beat the school that David Letterman wanted to attend as Indiana fell to Ball State 27-20. Kevin Wilson in his Indiana debut was beaten by another man making his coaching debut, Ball State's Pete Lembo. Wilson pushed his offense at a frenetic, no-huddle pace, which may have ultimately caused IU's demise, allowing Ball State to play ball control in the 2nd half.
Wilson is working to change the culture at Indiana, which nobody can disagree with, but it looks like it will take some time. The good news for IU fans is that an aggressive style, trying to force the tempo of the opposition, is what seems to make for successful coaches in the B1G.
Bo isn't a new coach, but Nebraska is new to the B1G and therefore Pelini is new to most of us around here. Nebraska took care of business beating Chattanooga 40-7, but Bo wasn't overly pleased with his team's performance. So what did Nebraska fans think of how Pelini lead the squad? From KennardHusker:
Pelini was aggressive on the defensive side of the ball like always, and his defensive calls were stellar. Lots of confusing blitz packages, and a complicated scheme that held an admittedly overmatched Mocs team to seven points. On the offensive side, Pelini has handed the reins of the offense over, and while there are certainly more questions than answers after week one, we only had one turnover and two penalties. That's a reflection of the coach working on the little things.