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Golden Nugz - 09.20.12

Credit: Marilyn Indahl-US PRESSWIRE
Credit: Marilyn Indahl-US PRESSWIRE

Why can't it be Friday?


- S&C in the spotlight! FSN goes in depth on head strength coach Eric Klein. Kill has been singing his praises since he got here and thus far the results of the off-season workouts Klein has lead have been nothing but positive. Examples?

The results are noticeable on the field from year one to year two. Take senior defensive lineman D.L. Wilhite, for example. As a junior last year, Wilhite was listed at 6-foot-4, 237 pounds. Now, he's listed at 250 pounds, but that extra weight is muscle mass.

Klein said most of the offensive and defensive linemen have gained 10-15 pounds, but have lost between five to seven percent body fat in the process.

S&C has seen a large increase in investment since Kill got here. The new weightroom, the hiring of 3 more assistant S&C coaches, the emphasis on improvements in the offseason. All a big part of building this program.

- Sticking with "things we need to see for the program to improve," let's transition to more press love for Derrick Wells, as Team Beard hits the "underrated kid does big things" line for a little more juice.

Wells also stands as perhaps the best current example of the quintessential Jerry Kill player, an underappreciated, undersized, under-recruited overachiever, someone who works hard to grow into a role far beyond expectations. The sort of player that Kill is counting on to turn around an underachieving program.

"If you look at our career as a coaching staff, we've been able to win because of kids like [Wells]," said Tracy Claeys, Kill's defensive coordinator since 1999. "If they were more developed, they might have gone to bigger schools. We've got to rely on kids who aren't developed, and develop them. As long as they've got the athletic ability, you take a chance that you can."

Important theme is important. For Kill to rebuild the program as quickly as he'd like, he'll need some of the less heralded recruits like Wells to step up big. As for me, I just love watching this kid play. Best open field tackler we have right now IMO. That's not the end of the Derrick Wells pub, as Tom Dienhart from BTN offers us this Q&A.

Plenty more Gopher FB links, how Gopher FB can = both a pumpkin beer AND Grain Belt, OMG NEW MBB UNIFORMS, Kiffykins goes full tool, and a why LSU grandmas are awesome...just hit the jump!

- Speaking of another unheralded guy who has been making waves, the Wall Street Journal picks up an AP story on A.J. Barker. National pub for our favorite WSR? Sounds good to me. Also, the WWL Blog lists him as the #1 rising offensive stock for the B1G from Week 3.

- Breaking news siren!


It's a Fuller story on the quarterbacks. Time for another QBGA...wait, what's this? It's not on Max Shortell? It's about Phillip Nelson? Well then. I guess it's time for #REDSHIRTGAZE2012.

With Gray out, Nelson moves up to No. 2 on the depth chart. And that could be problematic for the Gophers since they would rather redshirt the freshman from Mankato to preserve his four years of eligibility.

As we all know, Kill doesn't want to burn Nelson's RS over a lost helmet. The rest of the article is about what you'd expect, talking about the options (wildcat, maybe Gray for a play) that exist to cover the helmet situation. Fuller also gets reactions on how teammates feel Phil would do if Max got hurt. Unsurprisingly, they all say nice things. And yes, this was all an excuse to use my MS Paint "BREAKING NEWS" banner again.

- MOAR QB NEWZ? Sure, why not. Sandell says Gray is improving but not yet ready for a full return (among many other quick blurbs in this notebook post). Monsour talks about "Next Man Up" over at the KFAN blog. The Daily talks about the changes we might see with Max at the helm. Fuller says there might not be many. FSN says Max is confident about his next start. Team Beard echos this theme. Dienhart wonders if the offense will be ok without Gray. Kill talks about Gray trying to be a backup on Saturday, but he isn't setting a definite timetable.

- Time for a Rallis story. No, not Mike Rallis. His little brother, redshirt Nick Rallis. Nick has been helping out via the scout team and by keeping an eye on what his older brother does during games so that he can point out areas to improve or watch. Miller also has some notes from Limegrover that suggest we should not expect QB runs to disappear just because Max is running the offense.

- Zac Epping should be ready to stay at center a while longer according to Nate Sandell.

Redshirt sophomore Zac Epping has quietly emerged as the versatile standout on the "U" offensive line. As a result, Epping, dubbed by coach Jerry Kill as the team's "best offensive lineman," has seen his role within the unit quickly become more prominent.

When redshirt junior center Zach Mottla was sidelined early last week with a high ankle sprain, Epping was shifted over to replace him from his starting spot at right guard.

If you forgive the line for a brief, early rash of false starts, Epping's starting center debut last Saturday against Western Michigan went smoothly, especially given that the Gophers had to undergo a mid-game quarterback change.

Better watchers of the O-Line than I (like MV over at FBT) seem to prefer Epping at center with Caleb Bak at guard to the previous alignment. Hopefully that proves to be correct as improved O-Line play will be key in continuing to improve the running game. Given what you just read, it probably won't shock you that Phil Miller's blog post about the O-Line notes that Mottla is still questionable for Saturday's game.

- FBT brings us a great weekly presser breakdown, another Models and Bottles prediction along with another fine podcast.

- Predictions, predictions...WWL Leader Blog no longer loves us, as both Bennett and Rittenburg have us losing a close one. CBS Sports disagrees and has us winning 28-24. BTN splits their picks for the Gophers/Cuse game.

- The WWL Blog thinks the Gophers are on the upswing.

- Listen to Kill's portion of the weekly B1G press conference call. Also listen to Drew Goodger, Derrick Engel, and Mike Rallis.

- Gopher Sports looks at Kill's presser.

- Gopher Sports also brings you their invaluable preview and breakdown of the Syracuse game.

- More info to get you ready for's a bunch of Syracuse links from their blogs and papers...#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9.

- The marketing of the program to the students continues:


- How much does the U spend to bring in lower level non con opponents? Quite a bit says The Daily. The saddest number?

Minnesota hit its record payout last year against New Mexico State. The Aggies walked away with $800,000 after beating Minnesota 28-21, according to athletics spokesman Garry Bowman.

Ooooooooooooooh. No more of that.

- Those cushioned seatbacks? Money maker for the U.

- Speaking of marketing...those $10 tickets? Yea, those went fast. Apparently we're pretty close to a sellout. Though I wonder how many of those $10 seats were snatched by scalpers. FSN talks about the buzz of a night game.

- THIS IS IMPORTANT, READ IT AND HELP OUT: Let's help out a fellow TDG'er. GoldenGopherz is looking for a place in the STP/East Metro area that would be a good spot to watch a game. Lots of TV's and good Gopher fan turnout would be preferred. I think we can all come up with places with lots of TV's, but if you can offer up suggestions that include more Gopher fans please do so. =)

- So, you might have seen this...


- Villa 7, the college basketball networking conference started by new assistant AD Mike Ellis, is officially coming to Minnesota from VCU. This could be a big help for the Gophers when it's time to replace Tubby (whenever that time may be).




Joe Coleman's tweeted image seems to have been pulled, so that might have gotten out early. In any case, I like it.

Misc Gophers

- Women's hockey comes into the season ranked #1 in both polls as they look to defend their national title.

- New volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon gets some national pub.


- POWER RANKINGS: We'll start with the funny one. Off Tackle Empire compared the B1G teams to bad beer this week. Minnesota comes in ranked at #7. The beer?



Grain Belt, the pride of New Ulm, MN, is a mediocre home state product, much like the Gophers. Grain Belt hit it's highpoint in the 60' did the Gophers. But it's also been on a comeback in popularity...also like the Gophers?

WWL Blog is next. They also see the Gophers at #7.

- OTE also gives us a Hot Seat Watch. Take a look at the poll and see if you notice something that you like.

- Mark Weisman deals with the wrath of AIRGHG.

College Football

- Lane Kiffin is a tool. His latest presser lasted 28 seconds because he got pissy about a reporter asking about an injury.

I'm very glad we didn't hire the Kiffy-pants. Yes, even though it meant Brew.

- Why are crappy teams calling out Alabama?


- Virginia goes old school.

- Even the new MBB practice uni's at Northwestern have the new uni theme:




- Michigan's Yost arena reno is almost done:

The Smorgasbord

- Seriously, I'm so bummed that John L. Smith is going to get fired. He is FULL BLOWN CRAZY and I love it! At his press conference this week he demanded that the reporters smile more or he wouldn't take questions. Don't believe me?

- So, this actually happened. MIAC schools Carleton and St. Olaf played an officially sanctioned game 35 years ago on a field whose dimensions were based on the metric system:

Former Carleton coach Bob Sullivan's book on the history of the school's football team, "Knights of the Gridiron," credits Jerry Mohrig, a chemistry professor at Carleton, for the idea. The dimensions of the field were altered so that it was 100 meters long (a little more than 109 yards) and 50 meters wide (just shy of 55 yards). The end zones were a yard deeper than usual, too, with the metric conversion.

The game was either previewed or covered live by national outlets such as the New York Times and "The Today Show," while the curiosity of it all drew 9,000 fans to Carleton's Laird Stadium.

That seems like a very Carleton thing to do.

- Quality Michigan trolling of Notre Dame:



- Speaking of Michigan fans, their students are...special...on gamedays (and yes, I'm sure the U's students are special too. Heck, I used to get this special. But this is about Michigan and laughing at them).

- The NCAA has it's own official Oreo cookie.

- First, we've got the 83 year old grandma who does keg stands. Yes, keg stands.

Next, there is video and an explanation of that awesome R2-D2 keg that I linked to in a previous Nugz:

People saw R2-DBrew and assumed it was bought from a little-known custom keg company. Or that it was assembled by a team of people that were equal parts "Star Wars" nerds and Bayou Bengals fans. In fact, it is the creation of one person, a lifelong Baton Rouge resident with a love for "making anything that makes people happy."

"One of my friends spit it out as a joke: 'What if we had an R2-D2 keg?'" recalled 26-year-old Barton Gilley.