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Golden Nugz - 10.25.12 - Make or Break Week

Thursday Nugz are here! Lots of Gopher goodness to sift through, plus a Northwestern speech to their not so great fans, general stupidity in CFB, and a video game level highlight.

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It may not be warm this weekend, but at least it won't be raining or snowing. Beautiful fall football weather if you ask me.


-The reemergence of Brandon Green was a nice surprise on Saturday. It has gone overlooked, but he was the team's leading receiver against the Badgers (3 for 44, 1 TD). Finally healthy(ish), he hopes to keep the fun going and get past his frustrating history of injuries:

Brandon Green -- a fifth-year senior, who forced his balky body into the lineup and made his first serious contribution of 2012 -- caught that perfect spiral, ushered it into the end zone and was the team's leading receiver Saturday. Yet he was overshadowed again.

"You have to feel good for a kid who's worked so hard," coach Jerry Kill said. While that's probably true, Green himself can't help but feel at least slightly melancholy about his dwindling college career.

There's no sense being humble; Green, 23, came to Minnesota with the same expectations for himself that most football fans projected for him after his stellar career at Chicago's Robeson High: All-Big Ten, certainly. All-American, possibly. Touchdowns and titles, part of a Gopher turnaround that Tim Brewster promised was coming.

But like so many promising football careers, Green's was derailed by one bad moment. A ligament tear in his left knee just two games into the 2010 season forced him to have surgery for a second time, and he just hasn't been the same speedster since.

After all that, Brandon really hoped this would be the year that things would get better. But his knee never cooperated.

But just a couple of days into fall camp, his left knee ballooned. One again, his plans were derailed.

"Any time I ran around for a while, it would swell up, and it wouldn't stop. [Athletic trainers] would drain it, and it would come right back once I ran again," Green said. "After the first week, it was just about every day."

Just a crappy situation for the kid. I really, really hope that his knee holds up for the rest of the season and that he's able to go out on a high note.

- Phil Miller says that Coach Kill is using the bowl game as motivation for the team.

"Our goal is to try to get [his graduating seniors] to a bowl game," Kill said Tuesday, making it clear that any of those pizzas, wings or steaks -- the title sponsors of three games in the Big Ten's bowl lineup -- would be fine with him, not to mention bowls named for Meineke Car Care,, or the Heart of Dallas. "That's what we need to do."


"We've got to find a way to rally the wagons here a little bit," Kill said. "We need to reward the seniors who have gone through so much."

There are other quotes that make it clear that Kill recognizes the importance that a bowl berth has in terms of taking momentum into year 3.

- MUST WIN GAME? I'd argue yes, at least in terms of a bowl berth. Sandell agrees. It's a pretty fair look at what this game could mean both to this season and to the wider perception of the direction of the program in year 2.

- Fuller says that Gray's ankle is ahead of where it was this time last week. Gray also talks candidly about moving to receiver. You can tell he is disappointed, but you can also tell that he is determined to do what is best for the team. It's been said before, but the kid is a real class act.

- The Daily looks at how Nelson and the Gophers are prepping for Purdue.

- Tom Powers delivers a typically snarky yet pretty even handed look at the opportunities and pitfalls presented by the Purdue game.

- Purdue hopes to make a fresh start versus MN.

- Hammer & Rails put up their version of the Game Day Vitals.

- FSN says the recent losses haven't slowed the Gophers drive.

- Gopher Sports has their excellent preview central up for the Purdue game.

- The Daily calls out a move on the part of the AD to get the positive word out about thought process behind the UNC move. I like the proactive effort (something that should have been done on Mbakwe) but I think the execution was rather ham-handed.

- MOAR BOWL PROJECSHUNS: Off Tackle Empire thinks we're going to the Car Parts Bowl. They have both MSU and Purdue staying home.

- PREDICTIONS: No one is really picking the Gophers this week. Jacobi and both BTN guys pick Purdue. The WWL Blog splits, with Rittenburg picking Purdue and Bennett picking MN (someone go check hell).

- Gopher Sports goes "Under the Helmet" with Derrick Engel.

- AUDIO TIME: Mike Rallis talks about Connor Cosgrove and shaving his head, MarQueis Gray talks about playing receiver, Phillip Nelson talks about how he wasn't interested in Minnesota until Kill.


- Press Conference Transcript for Kill.

- Cool time lapse video of various parts of Homecoming weekend:


- Media Days. Here is Fuller's report. Here is Amelia's recap, along with notes from the first week of practice.

- Shama says the U has 3 potential 1st round picks on the roster. Well, to be more precise Tubby said it to Shama. If true, then there are some clear expectations to live up to (if there weren't already).

- Distractions aside, Trevor Mbakwe is clearly a player who will help the Gophers.

- CBS Sports names Trevor as #7 on their list of Top 50 bigs. They also have Rodney Williams as #29 on their list of the Top 50 wings.

- The B1G media picked the Gophers 6th, with votes for anywhere from 5th to 10th coming in.

- New schedule poster!



- Black Shoe Diaries put their Gophers preview up.


- Tyler says the Gophers look to bounce back from the Friday Tech loss. Here is something I don't want to be reading moving forward:

The Huskies have historically been near the bottom of the pack in the WCHA, but this year's Michigan Tech team appears much improved. The Gophers found that out the hard way.

"One thing that I think we didn't do that coaches told us to do was not take them lightly," sophomore defenseman Ben Marshall said Wednesday. "… We definitely took Tech lightly, and they took it to us real hard."

NO! Bad Gophers!

- Speaking of Tech, their goalie was recognized for his great play with weekly WCHA honors.

- This weekend's lighter schedule will allow injured Gophers to get more rest.

- Russo has more on the injury and goalie situations:

Coach Don Lucia said freshman Brady Skjei is out for the weekend because he is banged up. Lucia said he should be fine to practice by early next week. Junior defenseman Mark Alt is also dinged up. He definitely will be held out Friday and is questionable for Sunday. If unable to play this weekend, Lucia said next weekend vs. Minnesota State is a likelihood.
That means, I’m assuming, that Justin Holl and Jake Parenteau, who have played some forward this season, will play the blue line at least Friday. Lucia did say that barring injuries this weekend, they are leaning toward redshirting sophomore defenseman Blake Thompson.
Also, Kyle Rau has an ankle injury. He won’t play Friday, but Lucia said he is probable for Sunday.

- Two Gopher women earned WCHA honors this week. Senior goalie Noora Raty was named POW and forward Hannak Brandy was name OPW.

POWER RANKINGS: College Hockey News and the WCHA Blog (as part of the wider WCHA media poll) keep the Gophers ranked #1 in the WCHA.


- The Daily profiles Daly Santana, the freshman phenom from Puerto Rico.

Gophers Marketing

- Here's a quick analytical look at the success of the U's recent program to start selling ticket deals directly through their athletics Facebook page.


- Lake the Posts was PO'd after the Nebraska "home" game at Ryan Field this past weekend. In response, he penned a well written argument that fans need to take responsibility for their impact on a program too.

As a fan, there are very few things you can do to influence the on-field performance, however, on Saturday, we got to see first hand what those things are thanks to the nearly 30,000 Nebraska fans that came, saw and kicked our fans asses in fandom. We may have lost on the field by a point, but we got slaughtered in the stands. The single most emailed item of the 2012 season was without question Kain Colter’s postgame quote which should be blown up in to a two-story quote and posted on the Ryan Field towers as a scarlet letter to our fan base when he confessed that he couldn’t hear his lineman on the two final drives and was forced to go to a silent count. "We didn’t prepare for that the entire week."

Why would you? You’re at home. Or so you thought. Let me be clear on this folks. Two wrongs don’t make a right. There are all sorts of questions that should be answered by Mick McCall and Fitz, specifically around personnel packages on Saturday, moreso than even the offensive playcalling. Yet, we as a fan base have to take responsibility for this loss as well. While I realize this readership is akin to being the churchgoers getting scolded for those who didn’t attend church, I’m hopeful you can help spread the word.

The fact that fans and media are openly questioning strategy is a sign of progress for the program as "real programs" get that daily. It’s a good thing. The fact that Fitz has become far less defensive with the media is a good thing – it’s a sign of embracing the spotlight and expectations. However, the fact four sections on the east side of the stadium were converted from season ticket holding sections to a road game is a joke. Yes, we can bitch all we want about the two fourth quarter meltdowns that have precluded us from being a top ten BCS team this year. However, we as a fan base must take accountability as well.

- We need to win the Axe soon. Not just for our own sanity, but so that Badgers fans can stop pretending that Michigan State is a rival.

- Breakdown of ridiculous arrests at the Iowa/PSU game. Oddly enough, the raucous MN crowd at the 'Cuse night game were able to avoid this nonsense. Can you imagine if Iowa sold beer in GA?

- Ohio State has scheduled a series in the 2020's against Oregon.

- A Michigan blog does a hilarious version of Stephen Colbert's "Threat Down" and focuses it on the Michigan State/Michigan.


- Following news of his reduced NCAA suspension, Nic Kerdiles has announced that he's sticking with the Badgers. This is big for them.

College Football

- So, maybe this is the real reason we're not playing UNC anymore (sarcasm).

- Speaking of UNC and stupidity...One of their players was CAUGHT PLAGIARIZING AN 11 YEAR OLD. That actually happened.

- Lane Kiffin continues to act as the CFB definition for douchbag.

- Mack Brown blames the Longhorn network for his team sucking. Really? Oh Mack Brown...I have a very small violin playing a sad song just for you. The Texas faithful don't buy it either.

- Temple doesn't have a 12th game on their schedule yet...for THIS SEASON. I didn't know that was allowed.

- An East Carolina student vandalized his own team's field.

The Smorgasbord

- Halloween lights synched up to Gangnam Style? Sure.

- Helicopter flyover of the Michigan/Michigan State game.

- Play that looks like it should only happen in a video game:

BTW, that red field is AWFUL.