Apparently I couldn't count on Tuesday and got the number of days until FB wrong. I'll try a little harder with the math today. We are now only 14 days away from kickoff. Just 2 weeks left. That is awesome.
Lots of football links today.
- Miller has a quick profile on RS Freshman tackle Foster Brooks. Kill was very high on Foster and almost burned his RS last season when the team was short bodies on the O-Line. But holding on to that RS has proven to be a big help as he now knows the position/plays better and can step in to help replace Gjere.
- Phil also delivers a series of updates from practice, including news that Devin Crawford-Tufts won't let a hamstring injury slow him down. That said, there is some reason for concern since he's had these injuries before:
The injury to his left hamstring was similar to the one he suffered in a sectional track meet during his senior year at Edina, just not as severe; it required three days, not three weeks, of rehab before the pain subsided. "It's like someone is grabbing on to you when you try to move," said Crawford-Tufts, a likely starter this year. "You can't extend it."
Which is why Crawford-Tufts is a training-room regular now, doing range-of-motion exercises, high kicks over hurdles, stepping drills, and many others. "It's just to get all the movement back, and we do step-ups and push-offs to get the strength back," he said. "No one is ever 100 percent, not in football."
Here's hoping the injury bug doesn't bother him too much moving forward.
- Fuller takes a look at the changes Max Shortell has made to his throwing motion. The goal? To speed up his delivery and reduce arm fatigue and soreness:
But Gophers quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski noticed something different on video with Shortell's arm and body movement when he threw the ball. He was relying too much on his arm.
"I told him, 'You're not the most flexible kid in terms of how you're built, so as a taller dude you have to really work on being able to carry the ball and bend,' " Zebrowski said. "I think that's helped him because he's not as sore as he was last year.
- Ra'Shede Hageman has a sick Justin Tuck style facemask for this season. His teammates call it his Bane mask. All I know is that it is BA. Take a look and then tell me you disagree.
A reminder that Gopher students need some incentives to attend games, plenty more football links, Team USA wins a match but has to dodge urine, and a Saved By The Bell star might be on a MAC sideline near you...
- Shama talked to the BTN crew for his latest post. Gerry DiNardo who says that Minnesota is done losing to the NDSU's of the world thanks to Jerry Kill. Howard Griffith also passes along praise for Hageman, Gray, and others:
No Gopher discussed on the preview show received higher praise than junior defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman. Griffith doesn’t believe any center in the Big Ten can block Hageman who was outstanding in Minnesota’s final game last season against Illinois and has continued to progress. "In my mind he’s going to be tough to block for anybody," Griffith said.
Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys told the Big Ten Network that Hageman, a former tight end, is now understanding the demands of his position. "There’s not a better athlete in the United States playing d-tackle than what Ra’Shede Hageman is," Claeys said. "The more he continues to learn the game, the better off I think he will be."
The big thing for me in reading that quote is just how much Claeys is talking Hageman up. I can believe it (the athleticism part that is) given that he was the #1 TE prospect in the country coming out of HS. I really hope he puts it all together as a DT because I want to see just how awesome he can be.
- Audio of Coach Kill talking about how many players will be going in Thursday's scrimmage.
- Sid talks about the freshmen he thinks will make an impact.
- FSN profiles the JUCO transfers who hope to make an impact this season and beyond.
- CBS Sports gives their Best Case/Worst Case scenarios for the Gophers. Final prediction? 5-7. Seems about right.
- Gopher Athletics has revealed the new student section t-shirts. I like 'em a lot. Especially since this much attitude being shown by our athletic department. It's also direct quote of Coach Kill's and its nice to see the dept back him up and push this theme.
- As long as we're on the topic of the student section, the STrib's Mike Kazsuba has a story that is frustrating on multiple levels. The first level is the completely apathetic student fanbase who have only purchased approximately 2,000 tickets thus far. While this PO's me to no end, there is plenty of blame to go around. The U administration and athletic department have done little to encourage a gameday atmosphere and are reaping the results. Obviously losing is also a prime factor, but all you have to do is look to the Dome to see how to turn things around (when did you think you'd hear that?). Mason won more, true, but most of his seasons were mediocre and there were plenty of collapses mixed in. But he delivered a quality product (offensively at least) and ran it up on the bad teams. That gave the student body enough to be excited about. Another piece of the puzzle? Abundant tailgating for the students near the Dome before all those condos went up. You know what is not happening near TCF? Large gatherings of drunk students all partying in one lot. That in and of itself won't fix everything (see Indiana's students who never leave the tailgate lots) but a better party atmosphere won't hurt. I could go on at length about this but it's time to move on.
Off that soapbox and on to a new one. The second thing that annoyed me about this story was that it was marred by sloppy factual support and research. The writer used quotes from 3 students to make a point about a student body that is over 10,000 times larger. He also did not locate a single passionate student to get any of their thoughts. Most egregiously, he also threw out stats like Indiana's 12,000 strong student ticket sales without bothering to include (or perhaps even learn) the context that IU sold basketball and football student season tickets as a package this spring. Oddly enough, bball crazy Hoosier students snapped them up to assure themselves a chance to see their top ranked basketball team play this winter. Kind of an important note if your using it to say "Hey, MN students suck way worse than those crappy Indiana fans" don't you think? It'd be like Northwestern fans claiming that they sold out Ryan Field with season tickets this year while failing to note that you couldn't buy single game tix to the Nebraska game. Gee, I wonder who bought all those new season tickets? Hmmmmm...SIgh. Crappy local media is crappy.
- Andy Staples writes a story on Nick Saban's success via his system that is simultaneously a good read yet is nauseating because of excessive slobbering over how super awesome Saban is. However, as soon as I read it all I could think was:
"Hello self! This system business certainly reminds me of Jerry Kill. In fact, "success with the system" is one big reason I'm so optimistic about the Gophers under Coach Kill. Also, go buy more beer on the way home.
(Yes, I just used the quote box to highlight my internal monologue. Deal.)
I was certainly not alone in this line of thinking, as MV over at FBT already put out a nice analysis that delves into details of why he thinks Kill is very similar and how that might pay off for the Gophers.
- Phil Miller says the Gophers were prepared for the loss of Jimmy Gjere. I was impressed by the personal decision the coaches made to account for this possibilty. But what I was most heartened by was their concern for Gjere's health:
The coach had been in contact with Gjere's parents, likely reassuring them that the Gophers would take no chances with their son's health. And the training staff had monitored his condition all along, knowing that a recurrence wasn't out of the question.
Fuller has a similar story that also includes notes about the future of the line.
- It's those sorts of moves that led Adam Jacobi to comment that everyone made the right moves in Jimmy Gjere's retirement from football. He calls out the team/school's willingness to put Jimmy's future first and the staff's desire to keep him involved with the program.
- TDG gets interviewed by the Northwestern SB Nation Blog Sippin' on Purple.
- Gopher Sports has a Q&A with freshman CB Eric Murray.
- Prediction Machine thinks the Gophers will finish 8th in the B1G.
- Gopher Gridiron caught up with Gopher great Tyrone Carter at practice.
- BTN has released a super quick clip of Gray that will be part of The Journey.
- Inside College Hockey has a preview of senior Gopher Seth Helgeson.
- CBS Sports talks about how mobile QB's are taking over the B1G, including several call outs for Gray.
- Athlon lists the Top 35 games in the B1G this year. Minnesota only cracks the list once at #23 for the game @ Wisconsin.
- Comparing every B1G team to a type of alcohol. Minnesota is Jager.
- Warning: Iowa related link (that was too funny to pass up). Black Heart Gold Pants has released an Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God (AIRBHG) t-shirt. As one would expect from BHGP, it is funny.
- Andrew Sharp shares his annoyance with all the outrage and shock being expressed about the UNC football players academic scandal. I think he makes some good points here. He clearly calls for UNC to be punished however the NCAA deems fit (even if they get hammered). He just wishes people would stop acting like academic fraud is something new just to get pageviews.
- ESPN's College Gameday will start the season at JerryWorld for the Bama/Michigan game.
- Tremendous news friends. The CBS College Sports network has added Tim Brewster to their stable of analysts. This means there is a potential for him to call the Gophers/UNLV game. This does not make my chili especially hot.
- The NFL has given many teams (including the Vikings) a hideous 2 tone collar on their unis. FAIL.
-The Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission has released a preliminary timeline for the new Vikings stadium construction. Right now the team is scheduled to play at TCF Bank Stadium for the 2015 season, but looking at that timeline you have to wonder if they won't be there for all/part of 2014 as well. More $$$ for Teague to put to those fancy practice type facilities.
- Mississippi State is undergoing a $75 million dollar renovation of their stadium. In addition to adding seats and ammenities, the renovation allows the school is adding to it's already impressive HD video capacity:
The north end will also accommodate a new high-definition video board similar in size to the one currently standing on the stadium's south end, which is among the largest in college athletics.
- Another link that I can use to rag on petulant man-child Lane Kiffin? A second Bane reference in this edition of the Nugz? Sure, why not. Here is the new "Bane Kiffin" Tumblr page. My favorite is at the bottom.
- I think living in Iowa makes drinking this much a requirement (seriously though, the driving part? NOT COOL).
- The US Men's National Team was 0-23-1 when playing in Mexico going in to last night's match. Then this happened:
And then this:
And then one more big save in the crazy finish:
USA! USA! USA! Followed soon after by bags of pee raining down from the stands. You stay classy Mexico.
- Athlon gives us the 20 best college football coaches with celebrity lookalikes. My two favorites? Frank Solich as Mr. Belding and Lane Kiffin as Daniel Tosh. Check them both out and tell me your thoughts on which is better below. I have to go with Solich/Belding on this one.