Do not adjust your computer monitor or smartphone screen. The brilliance you see is not an illusion. Give in to the power of the Zubaz.
For those who aren't already in a trance, here's a quick reminder on how this whole mailbag thing works before we get started:
There are three ways to contact the The Daily Gopher staff with your questions. You can post them in the comments of the "Calling All Questions" post on Monday, you can tweet them at us on Twitter using the hashtag #AskTDG (please use it because then we can search on it and everything becomes easier) or you can email them to DailyGopher (at) gmail.com. If you email it to us we'll use your first name unless you request otherwise, for Twitter/comments we'll use your respective handle or moniker.
And if we don't see one of your questions, keep an eye out. I actually have a bunch more that are answered by the TDG team in the wings, but didn't want to overload this week's edition. Anyway, on to the answers!
What really bugs you? Part A: What kind of comment or question about Gopher football (or other sports) to you read/hear/or are asked all of the time that just really bugs you and why does it bug you?. Leave out "Gopher football has always sucked and always will," that being super irritating is a given. Part B: What kind of comment or question (in general) to you read/hear/or are asked all of the time that just really bugs you and why does it bug you?
Elliot: I hate when media members complain about their job from the press box. Or the running, "The student section is empty at kickoff" tweets. You know what college students are known for? Drinking alcohol. You know what they aren't known for? Being on time to sit in a chair in the morning, let alone on weekends. Wisconsin has gone to three Rose Bowls in a row and at kick-off last year against the Gophers, the stands were empty. By the third quarter, the place was packed and no one cared about the first seconds of the game. Get over it.
JDMill: The comment that I get most often that always drives me crazy is one I've written about before. It's the "Gopher fans just need to settle for the fact that Gopher football is only ever going to be as good as Mason had them." First of all, you immediately lose me anytime you begin with the phrase "Gopher fans just need to settle..." Second of all, if you're interested in settling on something, why don't you settle on the fact that the Gophers don't need fans like you.
GopherNation: The question that bugs me more than anything is when people ask me what questions really bothers me the most. I also get really irritated by Glen Mason questions and how Jerry Kill is just getting the Gophers back to his level of mediocrity.
Anything and everything related to "don't you regret firing Mason?" It's such an intellectually lazy statement that ignores the independence of the various steps that led to the Brew mess. Firing Mason wasn't what screwed the program, hiring Brewster was. Joel Maturi passed on Charlie Strong for Tim Brewster. The head to head resume comparison wasn't even a contest. And yet, the Brew years happened.
As for general questions? The one thing I couldn't believe when covering the Women's Frozen Four was how many inane questions get asked. I mean, it wasn't a surprise or anything...I've seen sports pressers on TV before, I know stupid stuff gets asked. But I spent much of the 4 hours driving from Madison to the TC trying to come up with good questions that at least had a chance at getting a response of some depth. Meanwhile Shooter is asking Brad Frost after the semi's if he would call the Gophers the best team ever ASSUMING they beat Boston. I mean...you know that's going to get a nothingburger response plus it's a BS question anyhow. I am an unpaid blogger. You are the guy who does this for a living. Only one of us gets accused of eating Cheetos in our mother's basement. ARGLE BARGLE.
I am interested in how new players start integrating with the coaches and learning the system. The early enrollees have a huge head start as they went through spring camp. But what about fall semester enrollees? According to the Big 10 blog on ESPN:
July 30: All players report
Aug. 2: First practice
They obviously put in lots of work prior to July 30, but there must be some limitations on when/how they can work with coaches. When can the Freshman (and transfers) start working with strength and conditioning coaches? When can they work with other coaches? Can coaches observe on-the-field workouts? When and how do they start learning the playbook? Can coaches lead classroom playbook sessions and film sessions?
GopherNation: Without knowing the exact rules, the freshman class does arrive on campus in June and enrolls in summer classes. During this time they do begin working out with the team but I do not know the exact amount of time the coaching staff is able to work with them on playbook and technique.
Who your favorite athlete through their entire career through all the levels, current and all time?
GopherNation: I'm going to stick with a Gopher angle here. MarQueis Gray was one of my favorite Gophers in recent memory, not for what he accomplished as much as what a great teammate and leader he was. A great kid and phenominal athlete who never found a great fit on the field. If I go with all-time, my favorite Gopher is kind of on the opposite end of the "good human being" spectrum. I loved watching Courtney James play basketball for the Gophers. I know he beat his girlfriend and didn't do his homework; but he defines for me what a Big Ten power forward should be. If he is disqualified due to throwing phonebooks at his girlfriend, I'd pick Sam Jacobson.
GoAUpher: To be honest, I don't tend to follow Gopher players in the pros unless they play for a team I care for. I mean, I pay a little more attention that I would to someone I'd never cheered for before and I want them to succeed, but I've never been one to go much farther than that.
This has probably been addressed several times in several posts in several different ways, so maybe this is a request to consolidate your thoughts in one location:
Which of the incoming freshman will not redshirt and what role will they play? Which of the incoming freshman will clearly redshirt as they need (at least) one year of strength/conditioning/growth/learning before they are ready for B1G football?
GoAUpher: Edwards doesn't redshirt. Outside of that, I'm not very good for speculating. I would have told you that Rodrick Williams wasn't losing his last year and look how that turned out.
GopherNation: I think you'll see Berkley Edwards and Drew Wolitarsky playing as true freshmen. I think most of the rest of the class will be afforded the opportunity to redshirt. For the first time in Kill's tenure they should have some depth to allow for that.
Elliot: Other than purely speculating Berkley Edwards, I would rather wait and see what happens once everyone starts playing.
As far as including junior college players, if Damien Wilson isn't able to take control of the middle linebacker spot, I think the interior of the defense is in trouble.
JDMill: This has been addressed several times in several posts in several different ways.
Has Anyone Really Been Far Even as Decided to Use Even Go Want to do Look More Like?
Jeffrick: You must be from Grand Forks.
JDMill: I think GoAUpher has, but I doubt he's willing to admit it. Jeffrick attempted, but didn't make it. Personally, I'm scared to death to use even go want to do look more like. Terrifying.
Tom: I only understand English.
What kind of schematic nuances do you see Limegrover and Claeys putting in this year? Will we see new blocking schemes out of the O-line? Will we finally see the staff commit to getting something out of the Jet Sweep and the accompanying play action passes and misdirection runs that come out of that package?
Jeffrick: I don't know enough to know, but I can tell you what I'd like to see- get the slot receivers more involved. KJ Maye, Harbison (when he's not outside), and potentially Donovahn Jones could be very dangerous on a jet sweet, bubble screen or something where they get the ball in their hands with a couple of blockers in front of them. We haven't seen much of it in the first two seasons with guys like Maye and Marcus Jones with good wheels available, so we'll see if they start incorporating more of that into the offense.
GopherNation: I don't know exactly (I'm not on staff, duh) but I think that the program is now at a place where they have a firm foundation and they can start to expand the playbook...slowly. Should be fun to watch.
GoAUpher: GN, Jeffrick...what the hell is wrong with both of you? The correct answer is clearly MOAR GOLDEN-I! Duh.
TDG Tailgating Area...Where’s the TDG tent going to be in the tailgating lots this year? I realize this doesn’t exist, but it’d be a lot cooler if it did…
JDMill: There has been some discussion of a TDG tailgate happening prior to the Iowa game, but details are still sketchy at best and this has definitely not been confirmed.
Jeffrick: I think the tallest TDG writer has to plan the TDG tailgate, so we're waiting for Chris to get it going.
GoAUpher: JD and Jeffrick are both correct. We've been mulling over some ideas and it's on me to finish the plan. Basic outline thus far is: Iowa game, East River Flats, some way to ID our group, everyone brings their own food and booze and comes to hang out. I'd love to do something more in depth (sponsored, etc) but right now none of us have the time to take on that kind of a challenge.
However you would define better, will we do better in football or basketball next year?
Jeffrick: Football, only because I don't watch basketball.
GopherNation: I think football, the program is on a firm foundation and I think this is when we start to see a more competitive team. As far as basketball there are just too many frontcourt question marks and a vastly different system that may take some time to see things come together.
GoAUpher: Hockey will do the best. Wait, that wasn't an option?
Will there be podcasts this season for each week?
Jeffrick: There will be some sort of spoken word audio-related Gopher talk. Still working out the details.
JDMill: Stay tuned.
GoAUpher: There actually should have been one this week. I'm not sure which of us effed that up. I'm blaming Job A across the board.
How much is Max Williams gonna play? Is he a guy who is gonna line up split out at WR often? Do you see the Gophers running some Gopher-I with Max lined up as a TE, and then running a variation where Max splits out to a WR spot before the snap?
GopherNation: I think Williams is going to be a great Gopher. I love his size and skill set, he is going to be a be big time.
Jeffrick: The Gophers will do whatever they want out of the Golden-I, being that its the greatest offensive weapon in the history of humanity.
GoAUpher: I'm not a great X's and O's mind so my responses are simple. On the split out to a WR question? God I hope so. That would suggest they are running an even more motion heavy version of the offense, the sort of thing the bowl game teased at. As for Maxx in the Golden-I? MOAR OF THIS!
Why is it so cold in Minnesota lately?
Jeffrick: For me, 70's and not humid are the best, so that "cold snap" last week was most welcome. Also feels like football weather.
GoAUpher: I'd razz Jeffrick with some sort of Canadian crack, but I share his feelings. Personally, the weather just got me extra jacked for football.
GopherNation: Global Warming which had to be renamed to Climate Change to account for cold snaps. Is that too political? ED NOTE: POTENTIAL SPIDER ALERT!!!!!
GoAUpher: Why are you so tall and how did you find zubas made for a giant?
GoAUpher: Miracle Grow. My parents sprinkled it in all my food. It's also the source of my horrible brain lesions. As for the Zubaz, I honestly didn't think they'd fit when I first got them as a gift. But they did and my love affair with Zubaz has only grown in the years since. #TeamZubaz for life! Also...