Eric Decker has earned national attention. He's getting it.
In this Rittenberg feature at the 4-letter, Tim Brewster calls Decker a "tough hombre, man" and "tough sucker" and compares him to Ed McCaffrey. Indiana coach Bill Lynch added plaudits.
Decker deserves the attention, and I read somewhere (lost the link) that the UofM communication folks are pushing for Decker to get post-season honors attention. And a 2009 Heisman campaign isn't out of the question.
For now, Decker needs to keep producing, because Minnesota's offense would likely stall if Mike Dunbar stops finding ways to get him the ball. He has his work cut out for him.
Decker will need all his skills at work Saturday when he and the Gophers visit Illinois (ESPN, noon ET). The Illini likely will stick star cornerback Vontae Davis on Decker, much like Ohio State did two weeks ago with All-American Malcolm Jenkins.
Ohio State was the first team that geared its coverage scheme toward stopping Decker. He finished with season lows in receptions (5) and yards (52) in a loss to the Buckeyes, but he looks forward to facing another NFL-caliber cornerback.
"I definitely expect Vontae to move around and do more coverage on myself, so it will be a good matchup to see where I stand with guys like him," Decker said. "It would be a great measuring stick."
Rittenberg also touches on Decker's potential professional career. Football? Baseball? Decker is non-commital. Whatever the case, I hope he stays around for 2009 so we can push his Heisman candidacy.
- So, you might have read previously that blogpoll is now under the umbrella of CBS. Apparently, that means we get paid? Well, that's what Black Heart, Gold Pants indicates. Read this post to find out how various bloggers will spend the spoils. One example:
- Because I know you want to follow every twist and turn of Wisconsin Band Gate, here's an update from the Badger Herald. Summary: The band's status for Saturday is up in the air. Uh-oh.
- Two-thirds down in this Chicago Daily Herald article we learn that Ron Zook is concerned about a potential letdown from his Illini. Why? Not only are the Illini coming off a 25-point triumph at Michigan, but they might feel overconfident against the Gophers because they stacked up 44 points and 655 total yards on Tim Brewster's bunch in last year's whupping at the Metrodome
- Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at the Joe Paterno situation in Happy Valley. A good read. (H/T: Rittenberg) Here's a snippet:
- Ron Zook is asking the Illini fans to "Rock the House" and use their "Zook Zone" towels to create loud racket throughout the game. From the Herald-Review.
- Good news from Marcus Fuller of the PiPress. Marcus Sherels is practicing and could play Saturday. The Gophers really need him to suit up to have a chance Saturday, in my opinion.
PJS and Gopher Nation, The Daily Gopher: Repurchased souls sold to Satan in March 2006 in exchange for Tubby Smith's signature - in blood - on his Minnesota contract. Bought bronze pig statue with remaining proceeds (Minnesotan souls aren't that expensive, even with the weak dollar), gave statute to Tim Brewster, and told him it was Floyd of Rosedale. Tim responded, "TREMENDOUS! WE WON A PIG! DID WE BEAT NORTHWESTERN? WHERE AM I? WIN!"
The drama of the season was supposed to be all about coach Joe Paterno, 81, and his desire to retire on his own terms and not at the end of this season. It was supposed to be about a contest of wills between Paterno, who maintains massive support from appreciative alumni who know and understand what he has done for the school, and high-ranking university administrators, who had failed to give him a contract extension and, by most accounts, were trying to gather the necessary strength to force him out of the job he has held since 1966.
``I am making a plea to our fans,'' Zook said. ``We need them hollering and yelling and waving those towels.
``You get a chance to play four Big Ten games a year at home, and we have to be ready to go. Our players will be ready,'' Zook said. ``Our fans need to be ready, because I can promise you Minnesota will come in here with a chip on their shoulder.''