John Papuchis will head up the defense this year. Did you see improvement during the spring?
BP: We've had some really good competition in the secondary, and I think we've grown up there. Coming out of the spring, I was very encouraged. We have a chance to be outstanding on [the defensive] side of the football.
You've lost a handful of big names on defense. Whom do you see filling the void?
BP: Last year linebacker Will Compton started coming into his own. I thought he really had a good year, [and] another senior linebacker, Sean Fisher, was a mere shadow of what he could be.
SI: HOW DIFFERENT IS THE BIG TEN COMPARED WITH THE BIG 12?
BP: TOP TO BOTTOM, [THE BIG TEN] MIGHT BE A LITTLE DEEPER. IT'S A HECK OF A CONFERENCE.
Taylor Martinez was effective as a runner in 2011, but how has his passing game improved?
BP: He worked very hard in the off-season to improve certain things: his throwing, his mechanics. It's his second year with the offense, so I think he's really comfortable and he's confident. That usually leads to good things.
You actually have a lot of experience offensively, especially with Martinez and Rex Burkhead. What are your expectations?
BP: [We also have] Ameer Abdullah, so we have some guys that can toast the ball. Plus we have some guys at wideout. I like our skill positions. We could have a very explosive unit.