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Podium Presence: Ranking Big Ten Head Coaches At Media Days

All 14 Big Ten coaches did their own thing at the podium during Big Ten Media Days — how'd they do?

Each Big Ten head coach gets 15 minutes on the main stage as part of an introduction for the entire event. After that, the coaches, along with players brought along, spend an hour on a breakout stage. The 15 minutes up front is witnessed by everyone, which allows for some interesting critiquing.

Here's how the 14 coaches ranked while up in front of the entire media throng.

14. Scott Frost - Nebraska

I'm honestly not sure how Scott Frost recruits players. Not only has he been bad on the field in Lincoln, he barely seems to have a personality. While up on stage he didn't put much of an effort into the event and looked bothered the entire time. He gave no opening statement and very short answers whenever he was asked seemingly any type of question.

13. Paul Chryst - Wisconsin

Chryst speaks like he coaches — he's kind of boring but I guess he gets the job done. He's just not really a “press conference" guy. He has a bit of an awkward presence and just doesn't look comfortable in front of a crowd. He somewhat of an awkward opening statement and didn’t exude much confidence. He's a good football coach, but not much of a talker.

12. Greg Schiano - Rutgers

Schiano looked the part up on stage but just didn't have much enthusiasm or presence. He did give pretty complete answers, but he was rather dull. Overall, he was pretty mellow and sort of went through the motions. Honestly, his appearance up there felt pretty Rutgery.

11. Jeff Brohm - Purdue

I like some things about Brohm and other things I could do without. He gave full, complete answers while at the podium and never really wavered away from the topic at hand. He didn't say anything overly notable but didn't drone on either. If he wasn't coaching at Purdue, he'd be higher on this list.

10. Bret Bielema - Illinois

Bielema said "the world we live in" about two or three times early in his opening statement, which made the whole thing feel very "get off my lawn". He did drone on a bit here and there at the beginning but then his Q&A was pretty solid. He tried to be funny a couple of times but it didn't really land.

9. Kirk Ferentz - Iowa

Kirk Ferentz is a machine in just about every way. Practice makes perfect, so to speak. Ferentz rolls through media day with ease because he's done it about 100 times. He's stoic up there, to the point and never rambles. He's not very energetic but he's effective and very even keel.

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8. Mike Locksley - Maryland

I liked most of what Mike Locksley did. He looked solid in his suit, delivered a strong opening statement and handled the questions pretty smoothly. He was really positive and honestly seemed like he practiced for the 15-minute opening.

7. Jim Harbaugh - Michigan

Harbaugh was Harbaugh. He's obviously riding high as the league champion and was certainly in a positive mood because of it. Still, he can't help himself when it comes to throwing out some cliche statements. He also answered the last question with an awkward "I don't know," followed by a patented Harbaugh stare off into space. Overall, he was good — he delivered very concise and confident team goals, exuded solid energy and answered all but one question pretty well. Still, there's always going to be a sprinkling of Harbaugh in there.

6. Ryan Day - Ohio State

Day is extremely sharp but a little too serious for my liking. He gave pretty short answers but they were on target and answered the questions asked. He's always composed, focused and prepared, which gets the job done efficiently, but it's not very entertaining or enjoyable. Along those lines, there wasn't really anything necessarily negative other than it just wasn't "fun" to watch.

5. Tom Allen - Indiana

I like how Tom Allen goes about his business. He manages to blend old school ideals and new school energy really well. He's always very enthusiastic and always manages to heap praise on seemingly everyone. He didn't shy away from how bad Indiana was in 2021 and was prepared for that angle. He didn't light up the stage, but he was really solid.

4. Mel Tucker - Michigan State

Mel Tucker has a way of walking into a room and owning it, and that's exactly what he did at Big Ten Media Days. He was a little shorter with his opening statement and answers than he usually is at press conference, but he still had that same presence about him. He express extreme confidence in his football team, and never shied away from any question. When you hear Tucker speak to the media, it's not hard to see why he's such a great recruiter. He knows how to press all the right buttons.

3. James Franklin - Penn State

I generally think of Franklin as a bit of a goober when it comes to his coaching chops, but the dude is really comfortable at the podium. He's got great energy, a likable personality and extremely sharp suits. His opening statement and answers were a bit wordy but they were on topic and certainly gave the people asking the questions plenty to use.

2. PJ Fleck - Minnesota

Fleck is the definition of energy at the podium and he's extremely easy to watch while speaking. He actually wasn't as over the top as he can be, which was well received. He sort of found the sweet spot. He was very prepared to give answers and oozed confidence, which isn't easy at a place like Minnesota. Some of Fleck's cliches can weigh on folks, but it's clear that his message resonates with a lot of players.

1. Pat Fitzgerald - Northwestern

Man, Fitzgerald is easy to like. The dude rolls up to the podium in a glorious lavender suit coat and always looks like he just got a haircut an hour before the appearance. He's obviously a really smart dude and he's extremely personable. He mixes humor in well, answers every question pretty directly and doesn't shy away from the tough stuff. In fact, during one lull where we were all waiting for the next question, he said, "I guess that's what happens when you only win 3 games." That's self awareness and frankly, the facts. Fitzgerald gets it and so does everyone else once he's done talking.