I've got good news...It's Friday. I've got better news...Here are the Friday Nugz.
Today's edition is heavy on the Gopher Football links, rounds up some stories from Day 1 of the B1G Media Days, highlights a nice article about the scholastic return of a former NHL pro with Gopher roots, and finishes up with a hefty dose of randomness.
One thing to know about me is that I get really interested by the building projects, uniform changes, and marketing plans of other schools. And since I'm the one putting together this edition of the Nugz, that means you all get to see what interested me today. Don't worry, I'm sticking it below the jump in case you don't care.
I'm also trying out a new thing I'm calling The Smorgasbord. It'll be a collection of things that caught my eye, not all of them sports related. Scroll all the way to the bottom if you want to check it out.
On to the links!
- I decided to open with an older and possibly overlooked Minnesota Daily story about former Gopher hockey player Ben Clymer's return to the U to complete his undergraduate degree. Ben was at the U from '96 to '98 but had 2 seasons cut short by injury and illness. He turned pro after being drafted by the Bruins in 1997 and won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. Once really interesting part of the story (to me at least) was the fact that Clymer came back to the U through a program designed to help former U players complete their degrees. I didn't know such a program existed:
Clymer contacted the hockey department at the University that referred him to the Gopher Graduation program.
The athletic department created the program about five years ago, senior associate athletics director Regina Sullivan said. Its purpose is to actively seek former student-athletes who left school before finishing their degrees and support them in their return to school.
The support for former Gophers student-athletes ranges from financial aid to the use of tutoring and advising services through the McNamara Academic Center for Student-Athletes.
Clymer has become one of approximately 50 athletes to join the program since its inception, Sullivan said.
Worth a look IMO.
- Some of you may have noticed that Coach Kill and the Gophers did not receive the VIP treatment from the media today. It didn't just happen at the main podium (where ESPNU skipped showing Kill to talk about Silas Redd and the reporters in attendance asked like 4 questions). Phil Miller goes into more depth on that topic:
Before TV and radio stations get their turn at Big Ten media day, each head coach is expected to hold two press conferences for the non-electronic media: One at a podium in the large main hall, so everyone among the 1,500 or so credentialed media members can get quotes from all 12 coaches, and another while standing at a special interview table just outside, for writers who want to spend extra time with a specific coach.
It was at that second, um, "gathering" that the current standing of Minnesota football in the consciousness of the Big Ten really hit home.
Jerry Kill stood at the coaches' table for several minutes Thursday, genially taking questions from every reporter, blogger and writer there with an interest in the Gophers' upcoming season -- me.
The trend continued as the 3 Gopher players on hand for TV interviews always finished well ahead of their scheduled time. Miller asked Gray what he thought:
"That's OK," Gray said. "We're happy to fly below the radar. We know we're going to surprise people this year."
Some other good nuggets? Ed Olson is a powerful 313 lbs and Gray completed his degree in Youth Studies this summer.
- Need a pick me up after that last entry? Here is fun video of Gray mic'd up at media days. My favorite quote? "Most people don't know this but, he got that suit from a gas station" (speaking about Keanon Cooper while Coop was being interviewed by KFAN).
- GopherSports has the minute by minute summary of Minnesota's portion of the Media Days.
- The FSN preview train keeps rolling with a look at the Gophers Offensive Line.
- Speaking of offensive line rankings, FBT takes exception to the high quality work displayed in Brian Bennett's O-Line preview. MV rightfully points out that BB's subjective take is pretty meaningless so he goes all analytical to deliver a Pair-Wise style preseason ranking of the B1G Offensive Lines. This interesting approach has Minnesota 9th, above Iowa, Illinois, and PSU.
- Golden Gopher Gridiron continues their Throwback Thursday series with a trip down memory lane to the 2004 Music City Bowl victory over Alabama.
- Jerry Kill makes it clear that he isn't wasting any time pursuing PSU players but that he will take their phone calls.
- FBT was displeased to hear that Keelon Brookins had decommitted.
- FBT continues the 15 for 2012 series with a look at punter Dan Orseske.
- I don't know what he had for lunch, but MV at FBT decided to deliver a 2nd round of statsy goodness in the form of an analysis of punter Dan Orseske. Chock full of stats and charts, the findings he presents will not surprise you. But still interesting to see him break it down.
- GopherSports has a roundup of Gophers who are playing in the Northwoods League. I'll have to keep an eye out for some of them from the Duck Blind (will try to find them early before the all you can drink opportunities get in the way).
B1G Media Days/General B1G News
- Pat Fitzgerald thinks that the a selection committee should be used to pick the 2nd half of the B1G Title Game matchup this fall. Tweets suggest that Jim Delaney is not enthused.
- B1G coaches offered mixed opinions about recruiting PSU players, though most seemed to take Kill's stance of "not going to initiate but will take calls." Illinois meanwhile had 8 coaches camped out in a restaurant near campus yesterday.
- Speaking of Illinois, recruiting tactics may not be the only reason that the Illini may be seeing a reincarnation of Tim Brewster. Coach Tim Beckman wins the title of Mr. Excited according to the Hlog.
- PSU players went on the offensive at the Media Days. They are PO'd and weren't afraid to share it:
- Sticking with PSU, some are suggesting that the team could use the 13th game exemption with Hawaii to offer the Nitany Lions a "replacement bowl game" in at least a few of the NCAA bowl ban seasons.
- Jim Delaney supports the NCAA sanctions against PSU and suggested the B1G would have imposed harder penalties if the NCAA hadn't dropped the hammer hard enough.
- CBS collects the "top tweets" of today edition of the Media Days.
- A little more detail into Wisconsin's moving of the Purdue game in 2013.
Like I said, I find uniform changes very interesting. And several B1G (and wannabe B1G) teams have provided me a bounty of links to share.
Uniforms - Northwestern
- Northwestern unveiled their new Under Armour uniforms today. CBS Sports has a nice overview of the changes. For a little extra info on the UA design team's process, check out the video at the bottom of the page. I'm really intrigued by their 500/50/5 idea.
- The key theme in the new uniform? Reclaim The Stripe. A bold stripe has been a traditional part of the Northwestern uniforms throughout their history. They certainly didn't leave it behind in this edition of the unis. That is one key design theme that will now be shared in some form by every Wildcat team.
- Lake The Posts is excited by the uniforms and the overall plan with Under Armour. Sippin' On Purple also approves.
- Here is the full photo gallery from NUSports. My first impression? The home purple isn't bad. The road whites though? I dunno. They've grown on me a little, but that purple stripe is a lot to get used to. I'm a fan of the gloves, but am wondering if the logo will be on both hands (that'd be kind of dumb somehow).
Uniforms - Michigan
- Ann Arbor's bastard children will be wearing a special uniform for their opening game against Alabama. The overall look is better than the "bumble whites" they had last season. But the gloves? I like the idea of having the words to the fight song on there but they just look busy. It must piss off MGoBlog, but Notre Dame shows how to do it with some nice "Play Like A Champion Today" mitts.
- Jumping back to Northwestern for a minute...I'm been very impressed with their marketing moves over the past few years. I think "Chicago's Big Ten Team" was a bold move (added bonus for them that it annoys the crap out of rival Illinois) and the Wrigley Game was a stroke of genius (end zone issues and all). Lake The Posts has a summary of their recent moves. I was glad to see the U add an outside sales force for tickets and I hope Teague pushes the folks at Bierman to consider other, bolder, plans to draw in both attention and attendance.
- If you're headed to Lincoln this fall, you'll see that Nebraska is in the midst of a huge East Side addition to Memorial Stadium. Here's a great video from the Huskers that's a combo of a tour and time-lapse review of the progress.
- Michigan has been improving the Crisler Center. From what I understand, this was definitely needed. Here's a full photo gallery of their progress.
- What better way to start off a section called The Smorgasbord then with a link to food. Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated runs his own food blog. He posts stories about places he eats at while he's on the road. If you are a health nut, you should not bother to click because Andy was raised on southern food and all the places he recaps are not known for their calorie control. Since he's in college towns a lot, many of the reviews provide a great roadmap to college football eating across the country. And his trips to other national events means that cities like Chicago and New Orleans also get a healthy bit of attention too. Best of all, in addition to a normal archive, Andy helpfully categorizes the posts with tags like "Bacon" and "Weiners and weiner-shaped things."
Not sure if this blog is for you? Read Andy's description of why he used to be known as "The Sweet Tea Guy" and his love of food and football. As he puts it:
I love to eat. I love to write. So why not a side project in which I write about eating?
Give it a look.
- Oregon coach Chip Kelly ran with the bulls in Pamplona. No word on if his pre-race scouting report was compiled by a shady bull recruiting coordinator from Barcelona for the low low price of $25,000.
- Apparently "The Mondays" is not a real thing. I call shenanigans.