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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 6 13 mark with the Foster Farms Bowl victory in San Francis- co. It marked the first winning season since 2011, when many outside the program didn't think such results could be accomplished, not with the rebuilding job Jeff Brohm walked into. But Brohm and the Boilermakers accelerated the re- build timeline. And, now, expectations have radically shifted. This season won't be defined by progress for prog- ress's sake, even if that should be a reasonable expec- tation in Year 2. This season won't be acceptable if the win total doesn't at least reach last season's, even if that seems unrealistic with the schedule more stacked and the de- fense reloading. This season won't be successful if momentum feels halted in any way, even if momentum is a tricky thing to establish in a renovation project. "People are going to expect a lot more than they ex- pected last year. Now that we've kind of set the bar, we have to approach the season with a totally different vibe, a totally different mentality," Knox said. "There is no more, 'OK, there were a lot of games we could have won.' Now people are going to expect us (to win). 'You had all offseason to train for these situations. Make it happen.' We hold ourselves to that same standard, but you just have to make sure that every- body is locked in. You have to rally the younger guys who came in as freshmen who didn't necessarily play that season because now when they roll into these positions, you can't have them thinking it's just going to happen. We had some great dudes who graduated and still have some great dudes on the team now that put in a lot of work to put us in the position we were in. We worked our (butts) off to be 7-6. That's the crazy thing. "Just taking that next step is like, 'OK, now we have to dig a little deeper and find something.' Guys that didn't really play or contribute as much don't understand what it took until you're thrown in that fire. So that's kind of the hard part of the transition into being a better team — trying to get guys to understand there's more out there for us to grab and there's more to go get." In the spring, captain Kirk Barron broke down the team huddles with "Big Ten champs," setting a tone for what was to come. He said not a single player offered blowback, no one wondered aloud why they'd speak of such a grand goal. Because it didn't seem all that grand to players. Tom Campbell Senior Jacob Thieneman emerged as a steady contributor last season in his first year as a full-time starter, and he'll anchor the secondary at safety. He also could be charged with an increased leadership role with such an inexperienced front seven. Aug. 30 Northwestern 8 p.m., ESPN Sept. 8 Eastern Michigan Noon, BTN Sept. 15 Missouri 7:30 p.m., BTN Sept. 22 Boston College Noon, ABC/ ESPN/ESPN2 Sept. 29 At Nebraska 3:30 or 4 p.m., TBA Oct. 13 At Illinois 3:30 or 4 p.m., TBA Oct. 20 Ohio State TBA, TBA Oct. 27 At Michigan State TBA, TBA Nov. 3 Iowa TBA, TBA 2018 Football Schedule Nov. 10 At Minnesota TBA, TBA Nov. 17 Wisconsin TBA, TBA Nov. 24 At Indiana TBA, TBA

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