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Golden Nugz - 09.27.12

Your daily roundup of Gopher links, more evidence that the NCAA sucks, and Georgia fans try to put Stewart Mandel in his place.

Matthew Holst - Getty Images



Wait, is this not healthy? Who cares?


- Fuller's big article for the day focuses on the defense. Two notes, the coaches were worried that while physically capable, our safeties would make more mental errors:

Going into the season, Kill was concerned about inexperience. But there have been surprises, including former cornerback-turned safety Derrick Wells, who leads the team in tackles (eight per game) and tops the Big Ten in passes defended (seven).

"I thought we'd have a little bit more trouble at safety earlier in the year," defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said. "I've told you all along (Wells and former cornerback Brock Vereen were) great athletes who could tackle. It's how they handled the adjustments during the game. And they've done just a tremendous job. Up front, we've also got some kids."

Hageman also continues to get love from across the conference:

After three sacks in the first two games, junior defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman drew constant double teams the past two weeks, which has allowed teammates to flourish.

"He could arguably be the most talented defensive lineman in the conference," Big Ten Network analyst Howard Griffith said of Hageman. "If he plays the way he's supposed to, he has 'first-round pick' all over him. He just has that type of talent. But a lot of the things he does particularly well, when the Big Ten rolls around, might not show up in the stat sheet. So you have to have other guys step up and make plays."

The stat that still blows my mind is that the Gophers are the only defense IN THE COUNTRY to not give up a play of over 30 yards yet this season. We're not Alabama, but this is a much stouter defense than I can ever remember seeing and it sure makes the games fun to watch.

- Sid talked with the coaches about Hageman. He's got the normal "super great athlete stuff" there, but he also spoke with Ra'Shede about the changes he's made in his life:

Personal problems almost ended Hageman's football career, but he has really got his life straightened out and is doing great not only on the football field but in the classroom.

"I was just being immature. I was trying to really get my life together," Hageman said. "I really wanted to play football and do college. Coach Kill gave me a second chance and, I mean, it was more of a chance that if I mess up, I'm done. It was a tight chance, but he really gave me a chance to turn my life around.

"Football really saved me and just school-wise, I'm more into it and willing to get my head into it to play football. I'm taking things more seriously."

It's easy to rag on players when they do something stupid and I'm always really impressed when a kid bounces back from what can essentially be a public shaming to turn things around.

- Coach Claeys says the key to the Iowa game is the defensive line:

Minnesota’s linebackers aren’t much bigger than Weisman, a powerfully built 6-foot, 225-pound Illinois native. Coker was about the same size and plowed through tacklers last year on a consistent basis. Are the Gophers physical enough this year?

Claeys said his defensive line has to make sure Weisman isn’t able to go untouched into the second level.

"He can come down hill all he wants, but without any blocking he won’t get many yards," Claeys said. "They do a great job up front. They really do. They get a body on a body. He hardly ever gets hit before he gets to the line of scrimmage. By the time you get that much momentum going forward, it’s an issue. So we got to get some penetration. We got to make him go sideline to sideline."

As has been noted many times already, this is a good test for the defense. I think their ability to sell out on the run a little bit more due to JVB's suckitude will help.

- The Daily has a nice story on a new program the U is starting that joins up athletics and the Greek community.

In an effort to boost attendance at Gopher games and also offer opportunities for fraternities and sororities to raise money for their philanthropies, athletics is having greek groups compete to sell the most season tickets with incentives for the greeks.

Greek organizations will compete to see which groups of three to five chapters can sell the most tickets to alumni, said Katie Kolberg, Panhellenic Council’s vice president of programming. Each ticket will cost $50, $10 of which will go to the University’s Amplatz Children’s Hospital.


Interfraternity Council President Mike Danley said Homecoming is an ideal time to pilot an event like this because many of the alumni are making their way back to campus anyway and are likely to buy game tickets during their visit.

Along with a group discount, alumni purchasing tickets from chapter members will get seating near other alumni and near the student section.

The winning chapters will also get tailgating space in TCF Bank Stadium’s Victory Lot, where alumni, friends and family who purchased tickets can park before the game.

Solid stuff. This is the sort of outside the box thinking that was lacking under Maturi. ALL HAIL TEAGUE!

- Sandell says Max Shortell is shouldering a lot of responsibility for the offense stalling at times against Cuse:

Showing impressive composure in his first start of the season in place of injured senior MarQueis Gray, Shortell passed for a career-high 231 yards with no turnovers and mounted two key touchdown drives to help keep his team undefeated on the year.

But Shortell's accuracy had its fleeting moments. He completed 16 of his 30 attempts, mixing an array of well-timed passes with a spattering of overthrows and throws at the backs of his receivers. While seven of his attempts either were dropped or bounced off the hands of the 'U' receivers, Shortell was quick to accept the blame.

"We weren't on the same page (at times)," Shortell said. "A couple of those were flat out behind them. They were completely my fault. They were catchable not nearly where I wanted them. That's definitely my fault."

That said, the coaches are also talking about all the confidence he can take from the win. The coaches are also on the receivers to knock off the drops.

- Do you like hating Iowa? Then enjoy Amelia Rayno's look at the struggles of the Hawkeyes.

"It's just stupid football," Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde said after the Central Michigan game.


- Phil Miller takes a look at RB turned safety Cedric Thompson:

Thompson made his first career interception Saturday, and the coaches have cited the safeties -- Thompson, along with former cornerbacks Brock Vereen and Derrick Wells -- as a big reason for the Gophers' strong start on defense.

"They've gotten bigger and stronger. They're smart. They run fast. They make plays. They make you look good," said coach Jerry Kill. "Sometimes you make good moves in coaching. Those were good moves, moving them to safety."

Only thing was, Thompson knew nothing about defense.

"It was difficult, because I had never learned defensive schemes. It's like a whole other world," he said. "But I love it. I'm getting comfortable with getting everyone aligned right, making sure the ball stays in front of me, communicating with [Wells]. I'm glad they called."

- The Daily also brings us news that game day crime rates are down in a big way compared to last season, despite the addition of alcohol sales.

Through three games this season, 21 incidents have been reported. Nineteen were alcohol-related, and 12 involved University students.

In 2011, when beer was not sold at the stadium, University police responded to 37 incidents through the first three games, nearly all of which involved alcohol.

Compare this to Wisconsin, who threw out 119 just AT THE LAST GAME.

- PREDICTIONS TIME! As noted by the BREAKING NEWS headline, the WWL blog picked us to win, BTN also likes the Gophers, and CBS Sports is dead to me.

- FBT is just on a HATE WEEK roll. This is the best example of disdainful hate I've seen in a long time (if ever). Just...go, read, enjoy.

- MOAR FLOYD: Love the title on this WWL blog post (three little piggies...ha!) about the Gophers plans to keep Floyd home. Mansour also takes a look at the Floyd protecting plans, including notes on just how much Kill stresses the rivalry games:

Yet, even with all of the excitement surrounding his homecoming, Rabe understands the importance of this rivalry game and knows what a win could mean to the University of Minnesota.

"During camp we actually had a whole meeting where we talked about rivalry games," Rabe explained.

Kill also shared this fact saying that alumni letterman joined the team for this preseason meeting to explain the importance of the rivalry games and the importance of beating Iowa to retain Floyd of Rosedale.

"[They explained] what it means to the state, to the school and to us players," Rabe said. "We know there's going to be a lot of people watching us, and we're going to be ready to go."

This is pleasing compared to hearing the trophies referred to as trinkets.

- Shooter says that Kill feels the program is moving forward.

- In case you were not aware, the offensive line dislikes false starts.

- Shama feels confident that the U won't finish last in the Legends West Division. He's see a 5th place finish with room to do better.

- Getting pub from across the US? Sure, why not. The LA Times columnist known as "Rankman" went out and, well, ranked the Gophers #25 on his ballot. AP stories on the Gophers have been picked up and run by the Washington Post, the national Fox Sports page, and the Denver Post. And the FB writers in Omaha are singing Kill's praises.

- Iowa beat writers are writing pretty respectful stories about the Gophers. REMEMBER THE MAYANS PEOPLE.

- Gopher Sports has a fun "Get to Know Your Gophers" post up.


- The B1G has announced TV times for the upcoming basketball season:

The Big Ten today released the TV times for this season's basketball schedule.

Here are the Gophers' times:

*bold denotes a home game

Nov. 1 Mankato State (exh) -- 7 p.m.

Nov. 5 Southwest Babtist (exh) -- 7 p.m.

Nov. 9 American -- 7 p.m.

Nov. 12 Toledo -- 7 p.m.

Nov. 15 Tennessee State -- 7 p.m.

Nov. 18 Richmond -- 6 p.m.

Nov. 22 Duke (Battle 4 Atlantis) -- 2:30 p.m.

Nov. 23 TBD (Batlle 4 Atlantis) -- TBD

Nov. 24 TBD (Battle 4 Atlantis) -- TBD

Nov. 27 Florida State -- 6:15 p.m.

Dec. 1 North Florida -- 1:00 p.m.

Dec. 4 South Dakota State -- 7 p.m.

Dec. 8 USC -- 9:30

Dec. 11 North Dakota State -- 8 p.m.

Dec. 22 Layfayette -- 6 p.m.

Dec. 31 Michigan State -- 1 p.m.

Jan. 6 Northwestern -- TBD

Jan. 9 Illinois -- 8 p.m.

Jan. 12 Indiana -- 11 a.m.

Jan. 17 Michigan -- 6 p.m.

Jan. 23 Northwestern -- 8 p.m.

Jan. 26 Wisconsin -- 1 p.m.

Jan. 29 Nebraska -- 8 p.m.

Feb. 3 Iowa -- noon

Feb. 6 Michigan State -- 6 p.m.

Feb. 10 Illinois -- 5 p.m.

Feb. 14 Wisconsin -- 6 p.m.

Feb. 17 Iowa -- 1 p.m.

Feb. 20 Ohio State -- 6 p.m.

Feb. 26 Indiana -- 6 p.m.

March 2 or 2 Penn State -- TBD

March 6 Nebraska -- 8 p.m.

March 9 Purdue -- 11 a.m.


- Gopher hockey has a new TV announcer, Doug McLeod. His name may be familiar to some, as he was the Gophers hockey PBP guy for 16 seasons as well as covering the North Stars for 6. FSN talked with McLeod about his long history with the program.

- The North Dakota REDACTEDS can apparently keep many of their REDACTED logos in their arenas under a new agreement with the NCAA. This only makes sense as it would cost the school a boatload of money to take them out. Frankly, it makes me laugh b/c they'll serve as painful reminders that the team had to change it's name.


- So, Tom Osborne is retiring from his role as Nebraska's AD, effective 1/1/13. WWL has some notes.

- Illinois gets ready to play the team it tried very hard to poach players from.

College Football

- Oh Texas A& really do have an inferiority complex don't you?

- This is why I hate neutral site games.


- So, the NCAA doesn't come off looking so good when it comes to how they handle the selling of their student athletes to video game companies:

In one internal email sent after the lawsuit was filed in 2009, University of Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman wrote to then-Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe that he disagrees with the NCAA's legal defense that it can sell publicity rights without any compensation to the players.

"This whole area of name and likeness and the NCAA is a disaster leading to catastrophe as far as I can tell," wrote Perlman, a former member of the NCAA Board of Directors and law professor specializing in intellectual property. "I'm still trying to figure out by what authority the NCAA licenses these rights to the game makers and others. I looked at what our student athletes sign by way of waiver and it doesn't come close."


In one note, Plonsky disparaged football and men's basketball players for bringing the lawsuit. Plaintiffs include former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller, and basketball stars Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell and Tate George, whose lawyers have proposed to the court that athletes receive a cut of licensing and broadcast contracts with monies going into a fund that can be accessed after their college careers.

"I view these cases as being the result of the entitlement attitude we've created in our revenue sports," Plonsky wrote. "We now have threatening s-a's -- many of whom, based on grad rates of the '80s and '90s, sucked a whole lot off the college athletics pipe -- and now want to buckle the system at the knees of the expense of today's s-a's."

The NCAA sucks. I think this lawsuit might bring to light just how much they suck.

- Here's an interesting story on NCAA coaches turned NCAA investigators.


- Tim Brewster is rubbing off on Mississippi State. The Fighting Cowbells are adding an all white uniform to their combos.

The Smorgasbord

- This kicker got SMOKED on a poorly executed onside kick:

- Lastly, from Stewart Mandel's mailbag comes an awesome tale of superfandom:

Remember when I revisited my Program Pecking Order this summer? It apparently stirred up a pair of Georgia bloggers, Senator Blutarsky and Travis Fain, the Dawgbone. They took such umbrage with my 2007 premise that 100 average college football fans in Montana would not recognize a Georgia football helmet as universally as they would a Michigan one that they sought out a volunteer to literally conduct the experiment. "Hoppy" Hopkins, a 35-year-old freshmen English teacher at Great Falls (Mont.) High and a diehard Georgia fan, heeded the call to undertake what became known as "The Montana Project."

Mandel has a full interview with one of the guys. Here's their video of the project: