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The Daily Gopher Fix 9.20.08 - Game Day edition

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With just hours to go before 4-0, enjoy your game day edition of the Fix. 

The big story is, of course, this afternoon's game.  But there will be some special visitors watching the game.  We are all enjoying this season but we are also greatly anticipating a season where we can compete for more than a mid-level bowl.  On the sidelines this weekend are a handful of high school recruits.

  • Four star running backs Hasan Lipscomb and Eric Stephens have already committed.  The kids from Texas are the future of our backfield and we need to show them a good time so they don't start looking elsewhere.
  • Defensive end Roy Philon was a teammate of DL Wilhite and Terrell Combs at Byron Station (Lexington, KY) a year ago.  Brewster is going back to that well to help shore up our defensive line down the road.  The two star lineman also has an offer from Tennessee.
  • Getting package deals of high school teammates worked well last year and the staff is working that angle again as they are brining in safeties Frank Crawford and Artice Kellam will make the trip north from Miami.  Crawford has the more impressive offer list which includes Florida State and Alabama.  Kellam is fielding offers from Ole Miss, Connecticut and South Carolina.  Both guys would be welcome additions to the secondary.
  • Last but CERTAINLY not least is the unofficial visit by Mpl Washburn TE Ra'Shede Haggeman.  Arguably our most important recruit.  It seems pretty obvious that Haggeman is really looking for a place that will feature him as a TE, so it would be nice to see another game where Weber finds Simmons on a few key plays.  The Gophers will have to beat out Ohio State, Wisconsin and Florida for Haggeman but I feel pretty good about our chances.

It has been a long time since we have received a commitment and Brewster's success rate of official visits that turned into verbal commitments was pretty good last year.  It would be highly successful weekend to get a W and couple verbals.

  • Coaches Hot Seat says this is the #2 must win game of the week for Tim Brewster and the Gophers.  Personally I think this is crazy.  3-1 heading into the Big Ten schedule would be a "downer" but it wouldn't be the end of the world.  They have shown through three games that they are improved.  He's going to need to win a Big Ten game regardless of what happens.  If they want to make a bowl game this is a must win, but for Brewster to keep his job this game does not carry that much weight.
  • Palm Beach Post says the Gophers are out for revenge, then he rubs it in our faces that the Owls beat us last year.
    The Owls are 1-14 all-time against BCS conference teams with the lone victory against today's opponent - Minnesota - which lost to FAU last season 42-39 at Dolphin Stadium.
    What an honor to be the only BCS team to lose to FAU.  Lets move that FAU record to 1-15 and move on to Big Ten play.
  • Turnovers and pressuring Rusty Smith are two of the biggest keys to a Gopher win today.  Kent Youngblood talks about getting pressure on Rusty Smith and putting him on his back.  Through 12 quarters Smith has not been sacked.  UAB, Texas and Michigan State have been unable to get to him.  There is no doubt in my mind that if we can sack Smith, we can lay claim to being better than the Longhorns.  The Sporting News analyzes the Gophers turnaround in the turnover department.  When you look at the numbers, the difference between 2007 and 2008 through three games is remarkable.
  • Buck Brave predicts a Gopher win 38-20 and shares with us some disturbing pictures of an owl preying on a gopher.   Poor little guy.
  • The Long Beach Post is getting excited about Dan Monson's second season and believes there could be a remarkable turnaround from their six win season last year.  As the author is discussing who will start and who will not he believes the defensive minded player will get the nod.  Why?  Because "we know how Coach Monson loves defense."  He obviously never watched a Gopher team coached my Monson.  Don't get me wrong, I thought Monson was a great guy and took more heat than he deserved but his teams' idenity was never defense.
  • Another basketball related nuggets on game day.  The Northstar Basketball Blog projects that Royce White will be asked to participate on the prestigious McDonald's All-American game.  I did some checking and I'm not going to say this is 100% accurate but I believe White would be the sixth Minnesotan to make this team.  Jim Peterson, Joel Przybilla, Rick Rickert, Khalid El-Amin and Kris Humprhies proceeded him.  All have gone on to successful pro careers so that would bode well for White.  But I should also point out that Ndudi Ebi also played in said game so take that for what it's worth.
  • Brewster isn't the only one bringing recruits in this weekend.  Tubby Smith is hosting Rodney Williams and three star PG-Justin Cobbs is visiting from Torrance, CA.