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August 18, 2006

Big Ten Notes: DE battle heats up at Michigan St.

A quick look at the latest news out of the Big Ten and Notre Dame from around the Rivals.com Network:

Notre Dame and Big Ten Practice Reports
Illinois: Running back Pierre Thomas made his return to the practice field Wednesday after suffering a pulled hamstring. Rashard Mendenhall had been playing with the first-team in Thomas' absence. Center Ryan McDonald was held out of practice with knee and toe infections. Eric Block handled the first-string snapping duties.
Indiana: Former defensive end Charles Emerson is battling Scott Anderson for the starting right tackle position. The receiving unit has looked especially strong in camp. True freshman Ray Fisher and redshirt freshman Chris Banks have looked particularly good competing for the flanker spot.
Iowa: Drew Tate is having a good camp as expected, and so are his receivers. They have been getting the best of the defensive backs during drills. Linebacker Chris Brevi is sidelined with a foot injury, and fellow linebacker Mike Humpal is still missing time following his knee scope. Cornerback Kaliq Price left the team and transferred to Towson University in Maryland.
Michigan: The Wolverines suffered injuries to two offensive linemen this week. Freshman Justin Boren and senior Mike Kolodziej were sidelined, with Boren's injury being the lesser of the two. He is said to have only sprained his ankle, although it was first thought to be broken. Koledziej's injury is a bit more serious. He missed much of last season after waking up numb one morning and it appears this injury may be related and could jeopardize his career.
Michigan State: The Spartans have an outstanding battle going for their rush defensive end spot. Sophomore Brandon Long and junior Ervin Baldwin have been battling hard in camp. Both players made big plays in Thursday's scrimmage, which has not helped coaches in making a decision.
Minnesota: Sophomore John Carlson made the switch from quarterback to safety before the start of last season. Carlson is on the move again this year, this time to linebacker. The kicking battle continues between sophomore Jason Giannini and Joel Monroe - the player who replaced him in the Music City Bowl.
Northwestern: Quarterback Andrew Brewer spent time at wide receiver in Thursday's practice, and it appears if he loses the QB battle with C.J. Bacher coaches will have him catching passes. The team has started preparation for the season opener against Miami (Ohio) University. Thursday they introduced the RedHawks' offense and defense.
Ohio State: The big change at Ohio State this week was in the linebacking corps. Senior John Kerr moves from his inside linebacker position out to the weak side. Taking over inside will be sophomore James Laurinaitis who had been expected to start outside. Behind Laurinaitis inside will be heralded JUCO transfer Larry Grant. Coaches now seem "less than optimistic" about the chances of senior Mike D'Andrea making an impact on the field this year as he continues to struggle through the injuries that have plagued his OSU career.
Penn State: Senior tailback Austin Scott injured his ankle and has missed practice this week. Freshman running back Evan Royster has looked impressive in workouts.
Purdue: Josh Ferguson continues to hold on to the starting middle linebacker position despite the return of George Hall, who had occupied the position before his suspension. Former starting safety Justin Scott returned to practice from an injured hamstring to find himself practicing with the second team.
Wisconsin: Cornerback Allen Langford has been having a great week of practice. Mark Zalewski took reps at linebacker with the first-team, but was replaced by Elijah Hodge during 11-on-11 drills. Junior defensive linemen Justin Ostrowski and Nick Hayden both sat out Thursday's practice.
Notre Dame: Sophomore offensive tackle Mike Turkovich was taken to the hospital Tuesday following a blow to the head during afternoon practice. He spent the night in the hospital, but is OK. When he'll make his return to practice is not known. Freshman Paddy Mullen had spent the first nine days of practice with the defensive tackles, but this week he started taking reps with the tight ends.

(Compiled by Brandon Castel, Rivals.com)

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