CHICAGO - When the Iowa football team opens fall camp next Friday, coach Kirk Ferentz expects fullback Brad Rogers to be on the field with the Hawkeyes.
A sophomore who saw action in 11 games last season before a heart condition forced him off the field as Iowa prepared for the Insight Bowl, Rogers is listed as the Hawkeyes' second-team fullback on the preseason depth chart but has not participated in workouts since December.
"It has been a serious issue and a lot of things they were concerned about have been ruled out," Ferentz said. "That's the good news, but there are some things that take time to run tests on and see how he is progressing."
Rogers, who started one game last season, is listed behind converted tight end Jonathan Grimm on the depth chart at fullback.
"We'll know more next week, but we're hoping to have him back," Ferentz said. "We're on about eight months right now, but the good news is that he seems to be moving in the right direction."
Gone, not forgotten
Illinois football coach Ron Zook said his team continues to adjust to early departures of three players for the NFL.
Running back Mikel Leshoure, linebacker Martez Wilson and defensive tackle Corey Liuget all opted to leave early for the professional level.
"I'd surely have loved to have those guys back," Zook said. "They had great years which gave them the opportunity to pursue their aspirations at the next level and the way they helped our younger guys will impact our team this year."
Zook said Akeem Spence will move into Liuget's role after recording 45 tackles a year ago, and he doesn't expect a drop off in performance.
"When I watch Akeem, I see Corey," Zook said. "He doesn't realize this now, but the best thing to happen to him was for him to be around and have the chance to learn from Corey. I see it in his work ethic and I see it in his leadership."
Back behind center
After splitting time between receiver and quarterback a year ago, MarQuis Gray will be a full-time quarterback for Minnesota this season.
New Golden Gophers coach Jerry Kill said watching video of Gray compete led him to take that route with the versatile athlete.
"It's kind of scary to think how good he could be if he had been given a lot of reps at quarterback," Kill said. "He's so athletically gifted and we're going to give him a chance to use those gifts."
Mix and match
Purdue might have a two-quarterback system in the works.
Injuries allowed Robert Marve and Rob Henry both to get plenty of work behind center a year ago and coach Danny Hope said the Boilermakers might make the most of Marve's passing skills and the rushing threat that Henry creates behind center.
"It won't be the bread and butter of our offense, but I think we will use both of them," Hope said. "I certainly like the potential I see in that. It's just a matter of making it work."
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The addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten and the off-field issues at Ohio State added to a record turnout of media members at this year's two-day kickoff event, which ended with a luncheon Friday at the McCormick Place Convention Center.
There were 515 media members in attendance and only one asked Ferentz about the rhabdomyolysis scare his team dealt with earlier this year.
"I expected to get a few questions with people here from around the country, but I guess people have moved on," Ferentz said. "I had to correct the guy who asked, too. I had to point out that all of the players involved were cleared to practice last spring and that nobody transferred."
The question wasn't as bizarre as one Ferentz dealt with Thursday, when he was asked if his team would be "especially anxious" to face Ohio State following a couple of close losses to the Buckeyes.
Ferentz paused momentarily, then responded, "Sure, especially this year because if we were to play them it would be the Big Ten Championship Game. I can't think of anything wrong with that."
On the clock
New Michigan coach Brady Hoke has plastered the walls of Schembechler Hall with clocks.
Each counts down the days and hours to upcoming games. One counts down the days to the season opener, others to the date of rivalry games with Michigan State and Ohio State. Another charts the number of days that have passed since the Wolverines last beat their arch-rival Buckeyes.
"I've never seen so many clocks," Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin said. "They're all over the building and they let us know that it's time for us to turn things around."