Sorry guys, quicker Nugz today.
- Before you do anything else, read this Scoggins piece on MarQueis Gray. He really is a stand up guy and a great leader and we're lucky we got to watch him play in maroon and gold for 4 seasons. I really wish things had worked out differently for him, because he certainly deserved a better shake. Some quotes that really the point home:
Gray had just lost to rival Wisconsin for a fourth consecutive season while playing wide receiver on an injured ankle. No, this is not what the senior quarterback envisioned for his final season.
But then he spoke and his character poured out. He promised to help the true freshman quarterback who took his spot. He vowed to make the most of his new position and the final stretch of his college career. He was disappointed but not disruptive. Nor did he sound jealous or bitter during a series of subsequent interviews that focused primarily on the bright future of his successor, Philip Nelson.
That says a lot about Gray as a person.
But the true measure of his impact on the Gophers program can be found in the way coaches, players and support staff look up to him and admire him. And also in how he's handled disappointment and setbacks.
Gray never became that elite quarterback, but he is a beloved teammate. He's endured his share of tough moments and pointed criticism, but he's always conducted himself with dignity and class. Those things should not go overlooked.
"I'm still a quarterback at heart," he said. "Love playing the position. But it's one of those things where you have to make sacrifices. Coach asked me to play receiver. That's something I need to do to better my team and get a jump-start on my future."
But he also knew his reaction would have an effect on the team, particularly the younger players but even veterans, too. He refused to set a negative tone or undermine the coaching staff's credibility by pouting or giving a half-hearted effort in practice.
"I just want to let the coaches know they made the right decision," Gray said. "They always told me that I'm too good of a player to be on the sideline with them. I wasn't going to help the team sitting on the sidelines."
Gray has projected a positive attitude and tried to make the most of the situation. He approached Kill in the facility a few weeks ago and put his arm around his coach. He told Kill that he looked tired, that he was worried about him and wanted to make sure he was feeling OK.
"That's the type of kid he is," Kill said.
- Understandably, Coach Kill has some major concerns about injuries on the offensive side of the ball, especially at center:
Kill expects Epping will start when Minnesota plays at Nebraska (8-2, 5-1) on Saturday. Christenson's status is uncertain, but the Gophers will not pull the redshirt off talented freshman Isaac Hayes. They might "have to teach somebody" to play center, Kill said.
"I've never been hit on the offensive side of the ball quite like we've been hit," he said. "And (we) still found a way to be able to win."
- BOWL PROJECTIONS: These actually mean something now huh? WWL, BTN, Jacobi, OTE, CNNSI, and CBS all say the Car Parts Bowl in Houston.
- Tyler Mason has his report card for Illinois.
- Sandell breaks down the Illinois film.
- FBT Rouses the Rouser in celebration of our bowl berth.
- POWER RANKINGS: WWWL and BTN both say 8th.
- MSU kickoff has been announced as a 2:30 on BTN.
Moving the Chains
Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.
- HOLY TOLEDO: (yes that was a horrible unorignal lede...deal) Amelia's post game blog wrap-up focuses on the good (great rebounding advantage and Austin Hollins being a rockstar) and the bad (turnovers by Coleman and a sluggish 2nd half). Her piece for the paper hits similar themes. Here's the AP's summary.
- Speaking of Austin Hollins, he feels his defense provides the spark for his offense.
- Trevor Mbakwe is inspired by Adrian Peterson.
- A deeper roster has taken some pressure off Rodney Williams.
- For those that haven't been to The Barn yet this season (like me), here's the official team entrance video:
- Gophers are #3 in both polls.
- WCHA Blog keeps us ranked as #3 in the conference following the 3 point weekend.
- GPL recaps Friday and Saturday night.
- Goldy's National Mascot Championship entry video:
- Um, I don't think this was a friendly exchange between Pelini and Damion Stafford:
- Tommy Tuberville is a jackass and it took him a while to admit it.
- The trick play that Texas ran to start their game. Note, they announced the formation in advance as a tribute to Darrel Royal.
- A nicely executed fake FG. I always enjoy seeing all the ways you can make a play like this work:
- Here's how Florida escaped a loss to a Sun Belt team. SEC! SEC!
- A possible sneak peek at the Pro Combats OSU will break out against Michigan?
- A reminder that Alabama fans are insane:
- Ah, a Taiwanese animation that makes fun of Lane Kiffin. What's not to love?