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Golden Nugz - 08.09.12

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<a href="">Photo</a> by <a href="">Mike Ricci</a> at Gopher Gridiron.
Photo by Mike Ricci at Gopher Gridiron.

It's Thursday already? I'm not complaining (only 22 more days until Gopher FB kicks off!), it just sort of snuck up on me. Anyway, NUGZ!


My favorite part of fall camp coverage is the profiles. Sure, you sometimes get a rehash of stuff you already know about returning veterans. But more often than not you also get to learn more about the younger players.

- Fuller continues that trend with a look at promising RS Frosh Thieren Cockran. If you're like me, you've heard him mentioned a lot by Kill without knowing a ton about him or how he ended up at MN. He gave up basketball before his junior year of HS to focus on FB full time, which helps to explain why he was more lightly recruited. So why are the Gophers so high on him?

Cockran has a 6-9 wingspan, a 36-inch vertical leap and runs 40 yards in 4.5 seconds. But he's still getting accustomed to his more muscular body.

Yea, that'll work. He's also put on 35 lbs since he got to Minnesota last year. How the Gophers ended up with him also sheds some light on how Kill and his staff look for potential diamonds in the rough.

Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys first spotted Cockran while watching spring football practice at Homestead High School three years ago. Cockran stood out because he was the tallest, and perhaps skinniest, player on the field. Claeys, who was coaching at Northern Illinois with Kill at the time, liked Cockran's speed around the edge and technique for someone his height.

"We wanted to keep an eye on him," Claeys said.

Plenty more Nugz below the jump...

- Also of note from Fuller's article were 2 injury nuggets:

Kill said tight end Kendall Gregory-McGhee has been replaced on the 105-man fall camp roster by wide receiver Cameron Wilson because of a back injury. Starting receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts (hamstring) sat out the first-team scrimmage in full pads

- Phil Miller shares his thoughts on Day 5 on his blog. It's a post full of little nuggets and observations. Phil also has a little video segment, where he highlighted how far ahead the team is compared to last year. They were already running no huddle plays today, something that Phil doesn't recall happening until late in August last year (and possibly not at all).

- Getting back to the profiles, Miller highlights sophmore RB David Cobb. Sid feels the Gophers have more and better running backs than last season.

- Matt from FBT got a chance to catch the latter part of Wed's practice and shared his thoughts. Some key quotes on James Gillum that excited me:

With full pads on and the learning experience of spring ball behind him, I'm starting to see why the staff is so high on Gillum: he's simply a tough, grinding style running back with very good vision and an ability to move the pile by keeping his feet moving.

Both Gillum's feet and physicality were on display today. Gillum looks like a back that is not going to be tackled easy, or by a single defender.

- Gopher Sports also had a recap. Gopher Gridiron provides photos from the first day of pads. And here's some more audio of Coach Kill from after Day 5. The first two-a-day practices start tomorrow. Also from today's practice, this video of two young fans leading the team in the Rouser (via: GopherGridiron):

- Phil Miller got Coach Kill to offer up his 5 under the radar talents.

- TC Huddle reviews the Gophers' schedule to find the path to a bowl. CBS Sports also delves into the Gophers schedule. I prefer their pick of Purdue beating us in an upset to something like UNLV.

- Adam Rittenburg has a video interview with MarQueis Gray up over at the WWL's B1G Blog.

- Shama devotes a whole column to the Gophers, most specifically to a look at Gray's and the team's determination to make (and win) a bowl game.

- Elliott at FBT continues the 15 for 2012 series with a look at #4 Ra'Shede Hageman.

- Anyone else have the pleasure of finding the football season tickets waiting for them when they got home? I found mine on my porch last night! There were a couple of great quotes from Coach Kill in the letter that accompanies the tickets. You may have already heard about the best one:

"Minnesota Nice" does not apply to home games.



- The Minnesota Supreme court vacated the $1 million award that Jimmy Williams won against the U.

Misc Gophers

- FrothyGopher from FBT delivers a great look at Norwood Teague's speech about the business of college athletics, which he delivered at the Carlson School of Business on Tuesday. Key takeaways? Teague clearly believes that athletics is a big business and that running the program in a way that meets that challenge benefits the whole university in terms of both money and exposure. If you were fed up with Maturi's approach, Teague gave you a lot to be excited (and hopeful) about. Frothy's summary?

Remain skeptical if you wish. There certainly is plenty of precedent for doing so and, after the Brewster debacle, I'd understand if the last vestiges of your hope were shivved in a prison shower. But you don't walk into this job and, three months in, announce plans for a new football and practice facility unless you know precisely where your stakeholders stand. He spoke today like a man who knows the administration is behind his vision and will support him in any scrums with the faculty, should it come to that. He spoke today, to a room full of business people, as a man who knows his business. Having aligned his internal stakeholders, his next stop is you. You want to win? The check is payable to 'U Athletics.'

A fine first effort from the newest member of the FBT team.

- In fortuitous timing, Doogie had a series of tweets today that suggests Teague has a bold vision for both the basketball and football practice facilities (via: @DarrenWolfson)


I have no idea whether Teague can pull off everything he's laying out but I'm excited to watch him try.

- Lindsay Whalen writes about her Olympic experience.

- Some lucky folks held a private event at TCF Bank Stadium. What's so special about that you ask? They got to to watch "Miracle" on the giant scoreboard. "Great moments are born from great opportunity." Love that movie.

College Football

- Looks like the Big East might be on the verge of signing a big TV contract (well, not by B1G standards) with NBC Sports. Each team could potentially receive $14 million a year which would be a massive jump and would put the league almost on par with the ACC.

- While the world focused on the PSU penalties the NCAA was also deciding what to do with the University of Central Florida. The Bylaw Blog takes a look at what it feels are weak penalties given the serious shenanigans being pulled down in Orlando.

- Also slipping under my radar was the news that the NCAA might be making major changes in how it's rules are enforced.


- The Big Ten Network ranks all the helmets in the B1G. Minnesota actually ranks pretty high at #6 given the writer's preference for tradition.

The Smorgasbord

- A school district in Texas built a $60 million football field that seats 18,000. Friday Night Lights on steroids. Fox Sports Southwest has photos.

- The Dunedin Blue Jays, a Class A minor league affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, put together an awesome and creative video celebrating their playoff worthy 2012 season. Did you love RBI Baseball on the original Nintendo? Then you'll love this! (via: DunedinBlueJays)