Lost in the firestorm over allegations that Michigan forced players to put in too many hours is the fact that the Wolverines will go with three quarterbacks against Western Michigan on Saturday.
Embattled second-year coach Rich Rodriguez is sticking to his decision to play junior Nick Sheridan, who started four games and played in eight last season, and also freshmen Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson.
``I don't imagine us having a preset series that this guy goes in, that guy goes in,'' Rodriguez said. ``It really may be more by feel and more by game situation.''
Like most coaches, Rodriguez is usually a one-QB man.
``I've never been in this situation with three. I've had two several times, but three is a little different, so we're working through that,'' he said. ``I would be a lot more leery but because it's worked so well in practice, I feel pretty good about it.''
his teammates call him - to keep the unconventional look unless he ends up running a play barefoot.
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WARY ZOOK: Illinois coach Ron Zook says the Missouri quarterback lining up against his defense Saturday has a familiar style, and it's one that makes him nervous.
Blaine Gabbert is a lot more likely to run than former Tigers quarterback Chase Daniel, who led Missouri to wins over Illinois last year and the year before on the strength of his arm.
``Chase was a guy that wasn't going to run unless he had to,'' Zook said. ``This guy, he may take off at any moment. The big, mobile quarterbacks are the guys that concern you defensively.''
A lot like Zook's own QB, Juice Williams, who led Illinois in rushing last season.
When the teams met last September, though, Juice ran for just 10 yards but passed 451 and five TDs.
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BROOKLYN BOYS: Penn State coach Joe Paterno knows how to get through to TE Andrew Quarless.
Both were born in the Brooklyn, and Paterno's voice still offers a hint of a New Yawk accent.
``Me and him, we connect in a New York state of mind,'' cracked Quarless, who calls Uniondale, N.Y., home.
Paterno apparently has gotten through to Quarless this offseason after the player had a string of off-field issues in recent years, including a DUI charge in March 2008. Quarless, who turns 21 next month, said he hasn't had a drink since then.
t-5 Quarless has the size and agility to be a factor in the passing game, especially as Penn State breaks in a new receivers. He's grateful to be out of Paterno's doghouse.
``It had a lot to do with my sit-down with coach Paterno, man-to-man,'' Quarless said. ``I let him know what I wanted to achieve in my Penn State career. He really had faith in me and gave me another chance.''
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MARVELOUS: Iowa had a heated QB competition in 2008 that lasted until late September, when Ricky Stanzi finally wrested the job from veteran Jake Christensen.
The presence of Stanzi and Christensen, along with talented freshmen James Vandenberg and John Wienke, left little room for third-string quarterback Marvin McNutt. So the Hawkeyes converted the 6-foot-4 McNutt to wide receiver last fall, and Iowa's coaches have been more than impressed with his progress.
McNutt is listed as a starter - ahead of leading returning receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos - for Saturday's game against Northern Iowa.
``He's got size, he's got very good hands. I think he's developing a knack of how to be a good route runner,'' coach Kirk Ferentz said.
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n teams host FCS opponents this season, a growing trend since schools began scheduling 12 regular season games. Ohio State and Purdue are the only Big Ten teams not playing FCS opponents this season, although both did in 2008.
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ROAD MAC: Wisconsin starts its season at Camp Randall with Northern Illinois, but the game was originally scheduled to be played in DeKalb, Ill.
The return game in the series in 2011 will be at Chicago's Soldier Field - 65 miles east of DeKalb and 150 miles southeast of Madison, Wis.
Badgers coach Bret Bielema dodged a question about whether a team he coached would ever play a Mid-American Conference team on their home field.
``We really liked the idea of having the opportunity to play Northern Illinois at Soldier Field,'' Bielema said.
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QUICK-HITTERS: Other openers on Saturday: Minnesota at Syracuse, Towson at Northwestern and Toledo at Purdue. ... Wisconsin QB Curt Phillips is expected to play early against Northern Illinois as a redshirt freshman. The last freshman QB to see action in the first half of a season opener was Brooks Bollinger in 1999. ... Acclaimed OL recruit Mike Adams is on Ohio State coach Jim Tressel's bad side. Tressel won't say what the problem is, but Adams will not play against Navy on Saturday and has plummeted to third on the depth chart. ... Iowa and Michigan welcome back 17 starters apiece, most in the conference. ... Paterno is 383-127-3 in his 43 seasons at Penn State; Indiana has won only 58 more games in its 124 years of football.
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