TGIF, peeps. TGIF. It's the Nugz, Friday edition...
So the NFLPA made it so the professional football players no longer have to have full-blown two-a-days at camp anymore. At The U, not only are they still doing grueling two-a-days, but if head coach Jerry Kill had his way they'd be doing THREE-a-days! Yeah Coach Kill is definitely old school, and loves the discipline and toughness two practices a day brings to his team. Miller does a nice job of laying out all the people involved in making a 14-16 hour day that's all about football happen, and what the players do to try and keep going.
The Gophers held their second scrimmage yesterday, and the U's official site has the video.
Over at the PP, Marcus Fuller looks at which JC players could make an impact this fall. In a word- all of them. Six guys were brought in, and it looks like all six should fit in somewhere in the two deep and on special teams. Brien Boddy has moved ahead of Jeremy Baltazar in competition for a backup corner spot, yet none of them have been able to beat out Troy Stoudermire or Michael Carter. That for me is good news, as if those guys play to their potential I'm suddenly infinitely (or is it exponentially? Whatever) more excited about the secondary. James Gillum should be the starter at tailback, and it sounds like they're going to give Isaac Fruechte a chance for some playing time at receiver, as well they should. From all reports the kid is a physical freak, and you can't have enough fast 6'3 receivers who can actually catch the ball. But that's just me.
If you take a look at Off Tackle Empire, some dude named JDMill has a Closing Argument for the 2012 Minnesota Gophers. In it Mr Mill makes his case for how he thinks the Gophers will fare during the upcoming season, and he settles in at...well you'll just have to read it to get his opinion. He also includes video of Ron Swanson. Is it possible to get enough Ron Swanson? You're right, it's not. The staff picks (they have like 16 writers over there now) averages out to a 4-8 season. Obviously they're wrong.
At FBT, MV goes all X's and O's on us with a look at something called the "Fire Zone". Interesting read with a lot of stats and analysis.
We don't often link to the SB Nation Iowa Hawkeye blog Black Heart Gold Pants (or just BHGP for short) because, well, it's Iowa. And we hate Iowa. But their Big Ten preview podcast with Off Tackle Empire guests Graham and Ted is pure gold. Be careful listening at work because it will have you laughing out loud. I link to it not just for the hilarity and good insight, but also because the BHGP guys sound down on the Hawks and more than a little nervous about Jerry Kill and your Minnesota Golden Gophers. Seriously people, I don't want to get too crazy too early here, but at some point we're going to need to have a rational conversation about the Gophers going bowling here, and potentially having a chance to start the season at 5-1. The first three non-con's are very winnable, then, as they talk about on the pod, their next three games are Syracuse at home, at Iowa, and Northwestern at home, and it's not out of the question the Gophers win 2 of those 3. Could the Gophers be half way through the season almost bowl eligible? I'm not sure I'm ready to talk about this yet, but I'm getting close.
The E!SPN B1G blog has a video chat with senior OLB Keanon Cooper on the Gopher defense and leadership. They did not ask him how he'll do trying to lead from the sidelines, because if he doesn't play better he may not start. How crazy is that, by the way? Heading into the fall, besides Stoudermire Cooper would have been my #2 choice to be an absolute lock as a starter.
OK then, time for some Gopher hockey links. Yes, in August. Too soon? People, this is likely the #1 team in all of college hockey this fall. Still plenty of good seats available on the bandwagon. I recommend a window seat so you can get a good look at the horrified (and horrifying) faces of UND fans as the Gophers destroy their team in the final year of the WCHA (or at least the final year the WCHA will matter).
So this happened back at the beginning of the month but I don't think we've discussed it yet-- Gopher Hockey has named their captains and alternates, and the captain is NOT Nick Bjugstad. He, along with senior defenseman Seth Helgeson, are alternate captains. El Cap-i-tan for the 2012-13 season is junior wing Zach Budish. The power forward from Edina (cake eater!) is in his fourth season with the Gopher Hockey program, missing almost the entire 2010-11 season because of a knee injury. Last season he had a respectable 12 goals and 23 assists, but more will be expected of him this year as he, Bjugy and sophomore Kyle Rau all return to form one of the best lines in the country. I don't think a 20 goal season for the big fella is outlandish, and I would guess we should see a stronger and quicker Budish now that he's more than a year clear of the knee injury. The players vote on this, and they're obviously big fans of the big guy. Can it be hockey season already please? I CAN"T WAIT!!!
Speaking of Bjugstad, this one is also a few weeks old, but again, we haven't discussed so here it is- the Roberto Luongo trade talks have stalled and the reason is Nick Bjugstad. For a little background, the Vancouver Canucks former starting goalie has a no-trade clause and is able to pretty much choose where he wants to be dealt. His wife and kids still live in Florida and there's like four people who care about hockey down there (unlike Vancouver where there's four million. And they care loudly. And often. And sometimes meanly), so it would make sense Luongo would want to go back to the Panthers and be out of the spotlight. The caveat is that the Panthers don't really NEED a mediocre goalie signed for 10 more years at about $5.5 million per (ok you're right, nobody needs a goalie like that but I digress), what with the best goalie prospect in the world in Jacob Markstrom a year or less away from being NHL ready. Still, it would seem the Panthers have been at least willing to discuss a Luongo trade, but are refusing to meet Vancouver's asking price, which is Nick Bjugstad.
Now Florida is LOADED with prospects right now, and has arguably the best farm system in the league. They have a center that's rated as an even better prospect than Bjugy in Jonathan Huberdeau, who should join the NHL team this fall. So it's not like the couldn't give up a center if they really had to, but obviously this one makes zero sense. You just don't trade good center prospects like Nick, especially coming off the season he just had. Word is the Panthers brass LOVES them some Bjugy, and would love a one-two center punch of Huberdeau and Bjugstad someday soon. While Luongo would be a nice stop-gap for a team that would like to make the playoffs two years in a row for the first time since last century (that's assuming they get the collective bargaining agreement sorted out and have a season), he's certainly not worth Bjugstad. And if they think he's valuable now, just wait until he leads the Gophers on another Frozen Four run as a Hobey Baker Award finalist this season.
Seriously, can hockey season start already please? PLEASE? Have a good weekend, everybody.