Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz offered high praise Tuesday for the progress of Drew Ott, a sophomore from Giltner High School.
“I've seen him improve immensely,” the coach said, “even during the fall last year, but more in the spring and summer.
“He's not there yet, but the one thing about him, he's a tough-minded guy and extremely hard worker. He's got that attitude that a lot of our really good players have had.”
Ott is eighth on the team in tackles (43), third in tackles for loss (61⁄2), second in sacks (2 1⁄2) and second in quarterback hurries (4). He also has forced a fumble.
As a freshman last season, Ott's redshirt was pulled after seven games. Ferentz said he could see Ott would have a strong chance to start in 2013 and wanted to get him ready. The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder turned 20 in late June.
“He's not there physically yet,” Ferentz said. “But how could he be? It's only his second year, and he was 'undersized' coming out high school.
“I'm thrilled he's on our team. He's really done a good job, and we're very excited about what's in front of him.”
Players of the week
Offense: Indiana running back Tevin Coleman. The sophomore from Tinley Park, Ill., ran for a career-high 215 yards on just 15 carries with two touchdowns in a win against Illinois.
Co-defense: Nebraska rush end Randy Gregory and Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland. Gregory, a sophomore from Fishers, Ind., had three sacks in a win at Michigan. Borland, a senior from Kettering, Ohio, had 13 tackles and two sacks in a win over BYU.
Special teams: Minnesota punter Peter Mortell. The sophomore from Green Bay, Wis., averaged 46 yards a punt and had three kicks downed inside the 20 in a win over Penn State. Mortell also won this award last week.
Freshman: Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong. The Cibolo, Texas, product complete 5 of 7 passes for 59 yards on the winning touchdown drive against Michigan.
Quotes of the week
Ľ Ohio State coach Urban Meyer on Buckeyes wide receiver Evan Spencer saying OSU would “wipe the field” with Alabama and Florida State: “He won't be talking to the media for a long, long time. You don't do that. It's not good sportsmanship.”
Ľ Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo on the expansion of the Big Ten: “I'm a traditionalist. I am not excited about Rutgers and Maryland in the conference.”
Bits and pieces
Ľ Indiana's Coleman is doubtful for the Wisconsin game Saturday because of a sprained ankle. Coleman leads the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns with 12.
Ľ The Hoosiers also have the league leader in touchdown receptions: Cody Latimer with eight.
Ľ Northwestern senior running back Venric Mark is officially out the rest of the season with a fractured ankle. The school may seek an injury hardship for Mark, who played in three games.