Big Ten

Terps have new offensive coordinator in Walt Bell


Terps have new offensive coordinator in Walt Bell

D.J. Durkin has his offensive coordinator.

The new Maryland head coach announced Sunday that Walt Bell, formerly the offensive coordinator at Arkansas State, will have the same role with the Terps.

This season under Bell, Arkansas State has one of the country's top-15 scoring offenses, averaging 40 points a game.

“Walt is one of the brightest offensive minds in college football, and I’m excited to have him on my staff,” Durkin said in the announcement. “He has a track record of being part of some of the most potent offenses in college football, and he’s going to bring that exciting brand of football to Maryland.”

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An exciting brand of football was exactly what Maryland has been looking for, saying as much when the search for a new head coach was announced. Athletics director Kevin Anderson said he hoped to bring in someone who could run an uptempo and high-octane offense. That's not the direction Maryland ended up going with its head-coaching hire, with Durkin being a former defensive coordinator. But the Terps could still get that desired type of offense with Bell on board.

This was the second straight season in which the Bell-coached Red Wolves finished in the top 20 in the country in scoring offense.

Prior to his two-year stay at Arkansas State, Bell was an assistant at North Carolina and Southern Miss and worked at Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis and Oklahoma State.

Durkin already had his defensive coordinator in place in former Syracuse head coach Scott Schafer.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.