Minnesota Football: Thoughts while watching the season previews

Seems like everybody has got a Big Ten Football season preview show of some sort. Most of the ones that I've seen have, unsurprisingly, covered the Gophers in the last 15 minutes or so of the show... another testament to the level of respect the Gophers are receiving.

I am sitting down to watch ESPN's "Big 10 College Football Preview" and Big Ten Networks "Big Ten Football Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers," and as I do I figured I'd share some thoughts.

ESPN Big 10 College Football Preview

*The first two players highlighted are Duane (whose name they pronounce wrong) Bennett and his 958 carrer rushing yards... ouch, and Ryan Collado.who they refer to as "a playmaker." Hmmm, interesting. Moving on.

*Next they mention Troy Stoudemire and his team leading all-purpose yards (over 1,300) in 2009.

*And that's it. That was their ENTIRE preview of the Gophers. What was that I was saying about the level of respect the Gophers are receiving? I was going to go back and make it a point to mention who the commentators on this show were, but at this point, who cares?

Big Ten Football Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers

*Does anyone know why Dave Revsine does that kind of growling/yelling thing when he says "NOOOW!!!"? Who told him that was a good idea?

*They're showing some Adam Weber highlights, which reminds me... BTN had a replay of last season's contest against Michigan State on Friday night. This was clearly Weber's best game in 2009, but as I watched the replay I was struck by how good Weber's receivers made him look in that game, specifically Nick Tow-Arnett who made several catches on poorly thrown balls.

*Dinardo just said that it takes 5 full recruiting classes for a coach to get the scholarships on his team the way he wants them. While this may be true, I still think that a good coach needs to figure out how to get his team to produce on the field by year 3.

*Weber says that they called themselves a running team last year, but they didn't "hang their hat on it." Another zinger on Jedd Fisch.

*The highlights of Weber have shown some pretty accurate throws... oh please football gods, let Adam Weber be more accurate.

*Sounds like Weber and Horton have a good relationship, which is huge for a QB and his O-coordinator. Hopefully this means some other pieces will continue to fall into place.

*This season Weber will likely become just the 5th Big Ten player to throw for 10,000 yards in his career.

*Wow, nice to see Duane Bennett drop his shoulder and drive through someone. He looks bigger than I remember him being in past seasons. Hopefully he still has the speed we've known him for.

*The Gophers are 11-2 when they run for 100 yards or more over the last 2 years and 2-11 when they fail to break the century mark. YIKES! The good news is that we boast the 4th largest offensive line in the country.

*Donnell Kirkwood is a compact and very physical runner, something that this team hasn't seen since Laurence Maroney.

*Howard Griffith and Gerry Dinardo have mentioned how much the offensive system has been simplified under Jeff Horton. The simplified scheme will obviously help the players, but should there be concern that it will be so simple that it won't be effective?

*In Tim Brewster's first year as head coach of the Gophers (2007) the team gave up over 36 points per game. In 2009 they gave up just under 24 ppg. A 12 point swing in two years is damn impressive.

*I really like Donnell Kirkwood.

*Rallis is always around the ball.

*Dinardo just used the word "thirdendary," as in, once you get past the secondary, there's no thirdendary to back you up. Oddly enough spell-checker doesn't recognize thirdendary as a word.

*Even Jeff Horton is getting in on the Jedd Fisch bashing!!! "From the first day we came in, back in February this (being a running football team) is the identity that we're going to establish. And I think that maybe they had heard that before, but they never really stuck to it."

*From a formation standpoint Horton is running a lot of two-back sets, which is quite different than what we saw last year and something we almost never saw in 2007 & 2008.

*In general it seems to me that Jedd Fisch's offense was focused on beating the defense by fooling them, while Jeff Horton's offense may be more focused on beating the defense by perfect execution.

*Johnny Johnson just tried removing Donnell Kirkwood's head on an off-tackle run by Kirkwood. I'm thinking this is some kind of new form of freshman hazing.

*Weber threw a PERFECT ball to Da'Jon McKnight int he endzone through some fantastic coverage by Johnson. You couldn't have asked Johnson to cover any better than he did, but Weber just placed the ball exactly where he needed to.

*Tim Brewster doesn't seem to have the sunshine and rainbows coming out of his butt like we're used to seeing from him in the past. He seems to be a bit edgier, a bit less excitable, and a bit more businesslike. I like the change. He says the program is right on schedule in the building process.

Anybody else who has watched some of the preview shows, or who specifically watched BTN's preview of the Gophers, what kind of things struck you while watching?

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