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Golden Nugz 8.22.11

NUGZ! Holy crap it's already the end of August! That means State Fair time, summer is over...and we're now less than two weeks away from football season! Roll on Fall, that's what I say...

I don't think we talked about this Friday, so let me do so now- Marcus Fuller sat down with Minnesota AD Joel Maturi for a pretty lengthy Q&A. The main take away from the interview was this:

"Last year was a very challenging year for lots of reasons. Lots of negative public concern about my ability to be the athletics director. If indeed that negativity would persist and therefore it's a reflection on my leadership, then I don't think I should be the AD. Because I can't be effective in that kind of environment."

Maturi is certainly an insightful guy, and I do think the negative comments and publicity (I highly doubt he reads this sight site, but I was- and still am- one of those who feels he's not right for this job any longer) he received truly did affect him much more than it would have another B1G AD. And perhaps that's part of the problem- if Maturi truly has a plan to make the athletic department profitable and successful, and he's attempting to fully implement that plan, then it shouldn't matter what people say because he's doing things the way HE thinks it should be done. Often the process is good, but the results may not show up right away, or the way you thought, but if you believe strongly enough in your process, then public comments- positive or negative- shouldn't matter.

But apparently they do for Joel. I think Maturi is a nice man who has done some good for the University and the athletic department (TCF Bank stadium and Jerry Kill are the first two that come to mind), and I have nothing against him personally, but I continue to believe we need an AD who prioritizes the success of the revenue sports over the non-revenue sports. Not to say the non-rev's should be neglected, it's just in the rough financial times we're in, your revenue sports need to win so they can make money and support the non-rev's. This seems obvious to anyone but Joel, and I have a feeling regardless of how things go this winter with football, basketball and hockey (I waited in line for Wild single game tickets Saturday morning, and a nice guy behind me was a big Gopher women's hoops fan who talked about how far that program has fallen under Pam Borton and Maturi. That's another program that needs fixing that can support itself when they're winning and they're packing 8,000-9,000 a game into The Barn), we'll have a new AD for the 2012-13 sports season.

Marcus also had a story over the weekend on the Gopher pass rush, and how they're going to do more to put pressure on the quarterback. If you were at the scrimmages Tuesday or Saturday, you got a pretty good idea of that. DC Tracy Claeys is not afraid to bring pressure, and those were just in his vanilla base defense! Wait until he starts unleashing the real deal in games.

Phil Miller of the Strib had a good article on the weekend about Jerry Kill not redshirting many of his freshmen this year:

When Jerry Kill took over at Southern Illinois a decade ago, he decided for the long-term health of the program to ignore his instinct to play his best players. Anyone who could redshirt did so, and the result was a 1-10 season -- and a brighter future.
He's chosen a different path at Minnesota, though, mostly because the Gophers don't have enough depth on the roster to compete without help from the freshmen. So Saturday's parade of youngsters was more than an audition for the bench -- it was a preview of what fans will see this season.

Freshman tailback David Cobb is going to get carries, Max Shortell is the #2 QB right now, WR Devin Crawford-Tufts was impressive in Saturday's scrimmage at a position where they need playmakers, and Tommy Olson is running with the "2's" at guard. I'm sure we'll see some contributions on defense as well from some true freshmen.

JDMill and the staff at OTE preview the Gophers. Clearly those at OTE are unaware of the greatness of Jerry Kill. They will find out soon enough!

Trevor Mbakwe is just scratching the surface of his ability, which is great news for the Gopher hoops team. While Team USA had a disappointing 5th place finish at the World University Games in China, Mbakwe continued to dominate, scoring a team-high 21 points while also grabbing 8 boards to lead the team to an 86-83 win over Germany.

E! has their bowl predictions for the B1G, and Minnesota was not one of the 10(!) teams they predicted will go bowling this year.

If you haven't seen the new ugliest rivalry trophy in college football, do yourself a favor and check out GN's post on it.

FBT delves inside the numbers to look at a possible turnaround for the Gopher defense.

Finally, Chris Monter of Gopher Hole and myself will be joining the podcast this morning at 10am for a half-hour preview of the Gopher football season. I believe you can listen live here, otherwise we'll post a link to the podcast once it's done so you can hear Chris' informed and educated opinion of the Gophers and my...well not so informed or educated opinions.