The Gophers held their first scrimmage Tuesday afternoon. It was their first time in full pads trying to simulate what a game would be like running Matt Limegrover's offense and Tracy Claeys' defense. Hopefully when the real thing starts September 3rd at USC it will be a lot better than the simulation- at least offensively. Phil Miller says it was sloppy but Jerry Kill still tries to find the positives:
"I've been doing this 29 years, and every time you have a first scrimmage, that's pretty much how it goes. The offense is usually a little bit behind, you don't have much timing, [and] we're playing all kinds of people," Kill said. "We had a lot of adversity today, and the kids responded pretty well to it. Hopefully they do it on game day, because there's going to be adversity."
For any and all of us Gopher fans who might be concerned about this, especially with how well MarQueis Gray played (and from all reports he did not play well at all), heed those words from Jerry Kill: it's a new offense and a new system, and it's going to take time. This is why they practice. This is why Kill has been saying over and over and over that there's still a lot of work to be done and that this team has a long ways to go. They do. There's absolutely talent here, and none moreso that Gray, but they're not going to be juggernauts overnight. And Gray, who spent very little time his first two years on campus playing quarterback in practice or in games, is going to take time to adjust. He's going to make some amazing plays and have some amazing games,,,and he may have one or two like yesterday.
And frankly, I think most of Gopher Nation or Gold Country, or whatever we're calling ourselves these days, are prepared for this. From the poll in GN's Golden Gopher Preview from last week, the majority of you picked the Gophers for less than six wins required to go bowling. Your expectations are probably right where they should be. We all hope this team is capable of more, but I think also understand there's going to be growing pains with a team learning a new coaching staff and new system.
But that's not to say the scrimmage were all negatives. True freshman David Cobb ran the ball very well, including a 43 yard TD romp. After another back failed to punch the ball in from a goalline situation, Kill called for "the touchdown back" and he was talking about Cobb. Interesting. Our very own Buck Bravo had spies at the scrimmage, and they said backup QB Tom Parish was excellent. Good to know that IF something were to happen to Q, we might have not just one but TWO more capable QB's in Parish and Max Shortell.
And of course the defense was excellent. That's no surprise considering how many guys return on that side of the ball, that the defense is almost always ahead of the offense at this stage, and we have some coaches who can really teach defense.
Tubby's first commit of the 2012 class, Wally Ellenson, likes to dunk- and he has the Youtube clips to prove it.
If you haven't yet, read the Yahoo! sports article by investigative reporter Charles Robinson on the illegal benefits given to Miami football players over the past decade by a booster. A booster who is now in jail for his part in a ponzi scheme. A booster who, according to the report, gave illegal benefits like cash, prostitutes, and other stuff to 72 Hurricane players between 2002-2010. Then read Stewart Mandel's reaction on SI.com and see if you agree with him:
But that's not all. There's a picture of Miami president Donna Shalala receiving a check for $50,000 from this booster. And to top it off, the Committee of Infractions chairman for that USC scandal? The guy who you could argue was most responsible for USC's heavy penalty? None of other than Paul Dee, who just happened to be Miami's ATHLETIC DIRECTOR during the time of the alleged infractions at Miami. As Mandel says- um, hypocrite much, Mr. Dee?
So yeah, read the Yahoo! piece, then Mandel's reaction and decide for yourself: If USC gets the stiffest penalty in 20 years (two year bowl ban and 30 docked scholarships) for the infractions of basically two athletes, what does Miami get for the more severe infractions of 72 athletes?