I think Matt Parker and Trey Stone knew some Gopher fans...
There is a reason the gnomes posted this before the Wisconsin game. It still applies now.
Onward to the Nugz.
- Scoggins has a piece out that discusses how Norwood Teague just received his first non-fundraising test as Gopher AD. There were a few interesting things from it that I want to quote and discuss.
...Teague has discovered that sitting in that chair at Minnesota also requires him to spend an undesirable amount of time and energy dealing with brush fires and mini-crises. Every athletic director in America encounters drama of various degrees, but the Gophers rarely seem to enjoy smooth sailing for any extended period of time.
Bolding is mine. And this is so annoyingly true.
In the past two weeks alone, news of basketball star Trevor Mbakwe's DWI arrest surfaced; football coach Jerry Kill was hospitalized because of a postgame seizure; Kill and Teague came under heavy criticism over their decision to spend $800,000 to cancel the North Carolina home-and-home series; and Tubby Smith's son and assistant basketball coach, Saul, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.
Which one of these is not like the others? This is why Kill needs to be out in front talking about his epilepsy. I know he dislikes it and clearly finds it to be a more personal issue than his cancer was, but until he raises awareness of what the condition is and what it means any public seizures will continue to be lumped in as serious PR issues.
The recent events have served as a trial by fire for his managerial style and probably provided him some valuable lessons. The Gophers botched the handling of Mbakwe's arrest in July by trying to hide it in the hope that it never became public. The school is under no obligation to release negative information, of course, but the Gophers are remarkably naive if they believe it was purely coincidence that news of Mbakwe's arrest surfaced hours before the team's media day news conference. So instead of focusing on the optimistic outlook for this season, Tubby spent half of his media session talking about Mbakwe's arrest and punishment.
I agree strongly here. Not getting the info on Mbakwe out and dealt with was a mistake. Taking a PR hit in the middle of summer is far preferable. I see that Chip also find's JB's timing on the tweets to be BS attention seeking behavior. But that's the sort of thing you open yourself up to when you don't own the bad news or control the story.
Teague and Kill grossly underestimated the public relations backlash that accompanied the North Carolina debacle. The financial penalty coupled with the perception of ducking North Carolina -- a team that lost to Duke on Saturday, mind you -- sent fans over the edge and resulted in an avalanche of negative feedback that put Kill on the defensive about his philosophical approach and Teague for going along with it.
I'm not sure if they underestimated it or if they didn't care. The Duke thing is an annoying jab that ignores a key point...this year's Gophers team would stand a good chance of losing to Duke.
Teague took swift, appropriate action against Saul Smith by placing him on indefinite unpaid administrative leave. Smith's alleged actions represented a serious lack of judgment, but the timing of his arrest pushed the matter into a realm of stupidity. His arrest happened roughly 14 hours after Mbakwe pleaded for leniency from a Miami judge in his probation violation hearing by admitting that he's an alcoholic and dealing with depression. Smith's behavior put Teague in an uncomfortable position of having to determine the proper punishment for the coach's son on the heels of a stressful week.
Seriously Saul, WTF?
This is a side of Teague we haven't seen in his short time on the job. Anyone who has watched him work a room filled with boosters can see he's comfortable in that setting. Fundraising clearly comes naturally to him. But sometimes he must deal with a mess, too.
Teague found himself knee-deep in it last week. It probably won't be the last time.
Scoggins doesn't offer any thoughts on how Teague did. I'm not sure I have any either. I don't think he handled things horribly, but I'll need to see more from him to know for sure. At the very least, he seems more than capable of ignoring the foot in mouth silliness that plagued Joel.
- GRAY TO WR: Our local beat writers appear to have differing impressions on how MarQueis Gray is handling his transition back to WR. Fuller says he's ok with it. Miller says the same, but adds a key word (grudgingly) that implies that it might just be the public message.
- Nate Sandell breaks down the film from Wisconsin.
- The Gophers are shaving their heads to raise money for cancer research.
Moving the Chains
Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.
- SAUL SMITH SUMMARY: In case you hadn't heard, Saul is an idiot, got a DUI right after the Mbakwe DUI mess was finishing up, and is now on an indefinite unpaid leave while Teague sorts everything out. In his presser on the matter Norwood made it clear that the U can't and won't tolerate this sort of thing:
"We just can't have behavior like that," Teague said of the DUI arrest, which according to police came after Smith was pulled over on I-394 early Saturday morning. "It's just not good for anyone, it's embarrassing and I won't tolerate it.
"With a coach doing this, it's disappointing. The timing is one thing. The other thing is it's just not what we want."
Saul's fate appears to be completely in Teague's hands. To me, the most interesting note from this story is about the details and handling of Mbakwe's DUI:
Teague said the DWI incidents with Mbakwe and Saul Smith were different.
"With Trevor, there was some discrepancy early on about the Breathalyzer," Teague said. "There was a urine analysis involved, and there was a debate whether it would be over the limit. We had to wait over a month to get that back. We also had lawyers in the Twin Cities and lawyers in Florida who weren't sure how this would affect his probation. So we had a long time. And I am really satisfied on the things that Trevor has been required to do for the program, for Tubby and for me."
Teague did not specify what requirements Mbakwe needed to take care of, but he said that they "will continue to be significant."
Even with that long wait for the blood results, the U should have been out in front of this and released a statement on it once it was clear that Trevor did in fact have a DUI to contend with.
- In news that should surprise no one, it sounds like some boosters are displeased by all this nonsense.
When Paul Presthus -- head of membership for the Gophers men's basketball team's Golden Dunkers booster club -- has talked with other boosters lately, the conversation hasn't been about high expectations, the return of Trevor Mbakwe or raising money for a practice facility. Instead, he said, the recent legal battles of Mbakwe, and now assistant Saul Smith, dominate much of the discussion.
"I've already had calls and conversations with various people who have said it's going to impact what they do or don't do," Presthus said. "Nobody is happy about this. They feel bad, but they're very frustrated, too."
- Jess Myers says that Shibroski's benching over the weekend doesn't mean the goalie question is settled.
So, after Saturday, in which he helped salvage a split and earned the Gophers first two WCHA points of the season, Wilcox has earned the top job, right?
Not necessarily, for two reasons.
First, it's still early. Shibrowski is 1-1 after playing less than a game and a half and will likely be given more time to prove himself. Second, there's a lighter schedule coming up, with an exhibition game Friday, a nonconference match with Canisius next Sunday and then a home-and-home set with rebuilding Minnesota State, Mankato.
One expects the rotation to continue at least through those games, with Lucia possibly settling on one goalie by the Friday after election day, when the Gophers make the long, long trip to Alaska Anchorage for a WCHA pair versus the team that was a near-unanimous pick for 12th in the league.
Just realized that technically we have a #GOALIEGAZE2012 situation (sweet, more room for flashing lights and banners in my posts).
- RECRUITING UPDATE: Russo reports that the Gophers have landed commitments from a pair of big defensemen.
The Gophers have landed commitments from two big defensemen who are playing for the national development program's U-17 team in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Both Jack Glover of Golden Valley and Ryan Collins of Bloomington played last season for Benilde-St. Margaret's as it won the Minnesota Class AA hockey title.
Neither is expected to join the Gophers until at least 2014. The Gophers have nine defensemen -- one senior, four juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen.
- Russo also notes that the Gophers fell to #2 in the USA today rankings behind BC.
- The Daily profiles women's hockey player Brook Garzone, who is an Oklahoma tranplant.
Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I've just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. I need all of you, to stop what you're doing and listen.
Illinois has a new SB Nation Blog! It's true friends, the unthinkable has happened. Our B1G brethren have come out from hiding in caves and prairie hovels to rejoin the Mothership. Rejoice and check out their new digs, The Champaign Room. Here's the initial post from their dear leader. Good logo, and an already displayed hatred for Northwestern.
- This is why people are still annoyed with Penn State fans.
- A Lego Purdue Pete.
-Last weekend was the 30th anniversary of "The Play." Ya know, the "BAND IS ON THE FIELD!" game between Cal and Stanford? CNNSI had an interesting oral history about it last week.
- Tulsa has created a hype video that includes Walter White from Breaking Bad. I'm wondering who approved that?
- UMass both pranks and rewards 2 walk-ons with schollies:
- A look at all the new helmets used by B1G teams by this point in the season.
- Dr. Saturday rates the new unis worn this past weekend.
- Need a time-waster today? Here is a 13 minute long collection of great "This is SportsCenter" commercials. I'd seen some of these, but there were plenty of new ones (at least for me) as well since I don't watch a lot of WWL anymore (outside of live games and important highlights).
- Y U NO POST FUNNY GIFS?
via cdn2.sbnation.com. One day someone is going to need to explain to my why they have a half human half ugly cat mascot. If I was a child that would be enough to keep me far away from him.
- Do you remember the TV show Perfect Strangers? If you do, then I urge you to see the most ridiculous online game ever to star Balki Bartokomous. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then I urge to to go to the link anyway so that you can be super duper confused.