The Gophers report for training camp on Monday (Monday! Woohoo!) and Jerry Kill had a pre-camp "presser" yesterday. So what did coach have to say? According to the Strib's Phil Miller, not much, but he does have a few notes from things he gleaned from Coach Kill. The most interesting one to me:
-- Every practice of the fall, all 26 of them, have been scripted, so the coaching staff is ready to go. The first 10 sessions, beginning Monday at 3:55 p.m., are open to the public.
Every practice? Um, prepared much? I wonder how many of ol' Timmy Brew's practices were scripted, let alone all 26 of them? I'm guessing not many. Or any. But this is all part of how Team Kill goes about restoring a program, and you can be sure there's no shortcuts in doing it the right way. It's done with hard work, competition and preparation, and it's not going to be easy, or quick:
"There's no quick fix in life. This is not a quick-fix thing," Kill said Thursday. "This is not a deal where, 'Hey, let's win immediately. Let's quick-fix it and get the hell out of there.' I want to be here and I want to build a program."
Kill has been down this road of program restoration a few times, and he's been successful at every stop. But he warned the first year could be painful, like his first season at Southern Illinois:
"That was the worst year of my life, that 1-10 season, but it's probably the best coaching job we ever did," Kill reminded a roomful of media members. "We're going to do it right. I may get hit in the head the first few years, but I'm not going to bend off what works."
1-AA Southern Illinois was gawd awful when Kill and Co. took over in 2001, yet by 2004 they went 9-0 against 1-AA competition, perhaps his greatest success story to date. It took a few years to go from doormat to contender, but it happened there just as it did at Emporia State and Northern Illinois and Sagina Valley State. And hopefully it'll happen at Minnesota, too.
FBT delves into the B1G's decision to play 9 conference games starting in 2017. How much will it effect the non-conference schedule? The Gophers have home-and-homes scheduled with Navy, Oregon State, and Colorado State from 2017 on, so while there'll be some decent OOC competition, it's not exactly Texas or USC on the schedule. Then again, in another 7-10 years who knows where those programs will be at?
The next logical step in scheduling conference games? Moving up the date conference play can start. Right now, B1G conference games cannot begin until the first weekend in October, and they're the only Big Six conference who does this right now: Pac 12 can start the first week, the SEC the second week of September, and the Big 12, ACC and Big East can all start playing conference games before October. It helps balance the schedule out so you don't have EVERYBODY in your conference playing 1-AA or non-BCS opponents the same week. Obviously with the switch to a nine game schedule coming, the B1G will have to move up the dates they can play, but it'd be great to see the make the change before 2017. Like how about 2012?
In his weekly mailbag, E!SPN.com B1G blogger Brian Bennett says a key game for Minnesota could be against Miami, OH in week 3.
Former Cretin Derham Hall star and current Miami Hurricane lineman Seantrel Henderson could miss the entire 2011 season with a back injury.
The PP's Marcus Fuller analyzes the 2011-12 Gopher basketball schedule.
In college hockey news, the CCHA had talks a few weeks ago with Atlantic Hockey about a realignment involving a few of their schools. Now, per CHN, the CCHA and WCHA are having exploratory talks about merging. Both conferences will be
desimated decimated by the formation of the B1G and Death Star hockey conferences in 2013, cutting their membership in half or more. We've heard all kinds of scenarios about the WCHA and CCHA trying to survive separately by adding teams from other conferences, but this is the first we've heard of them joining together. I have to believe this was brought on by the CCHA, as their membership will dwindle to just two or three schools by 2013, and none of them strong programs. Despite the losses the WCHA will suffer, it will still survive in some form, be it merging the remaining CCHA teams into it, or sticking with the six members it'll have and adding from elsewhere. Interesting to see where this goes.