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Mailbag - Gopher Sports, Randomness, Beer, Food, & Minutia Questions All Answered By Your Resident TDG Know It Alls

You might be asking yourself "Wait a minute Self! Wasn't this mailbag thing supposed to have run already? What's up with that?" Well...

OK, I'll admit it. It's all my fault. I was excited to start the new feature and totally forgot that I was going on vacation the following week. And then last week we had the B1G Tourney and Hockey and I didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle. So here we are, late but (hopefully) awesome. But just in case it's been so long that you've forgotten what I'm going for with this post (or maybe you missed the first post altogether) it's all explained here. The high points?

- Once a week (usually on Friday through Sunday) we'll toss up a Mailbag Open Thread.

- Ask us questions, lots of questions.

- The TDG staff will divvy up the questions, preferably while drinking bourbon.

- The actual TDG mailbag with our super awesome and 100% accurate answers will run on Thursdays.

That Thursday part is still being attempted obviously. We reserve the right to switch days if we think there's going to be a lot of Gopher centric stuff that deserves attention.

You guys came through with plenty of questions for this round, so here we go. NOTE: The questions are listed in the order they came in via the comment thread.


Who switches positions during the spring? I sense there’s a receiver who might become a corner.

- gophmeister

(ED NOTE: I want to apologize again for the delay in posting because obviously the news about McDonald broke after everyone wrote their responses to the first question. My bad.)

JDMill: I don't think this is a crazy notion because in theory there are a lot of guys at the WR spot, but the problem is that nobody has set themselves apart in that group yet. You've got guys like Fruechte & DCT who have gotten playing time, but haven't really jumped off the page, and then you've got guys like McDonald and Harbison who have humongous potential, but haven't had a chance to show anything yet. You also have freshman who could see time at WR. Wolitarsky is a good route runner and Donovahn Jones is a ridiculous athlete who could see some time out wide. It's a bit jumbled, but there's enough talent (/fingers crossed) at WR that hopefully somebody emerges.

Matt: Tracy Claeys has hinted several times that the composition of the secondary will change a bit this fall, specifically moving Derrick Wells down to boundary corner to fill the void left behind by Troy Stoudermire. In short, that would be a very good move for a number of schematic reasons, not the least of which is it gets the three best defensive backs on the field at the same time and frees up a path to PT for Antonio Johnson and Damarius Travis.

I don't suspect there'll be any movement from offense to defense, if for no better reason than the offense needs as many playmakers as it can at this stage in the program's cycle.


Will there be a podcast after the spring game? If so, who will be involved now that Matt is over here?

- Fuzzy Rumpton

JDMill: Yes. Everyone but GN will be involved because in addition to never reading what anybody else writes around here, he doesn't participate in podcasts.

GN: That's not completely true, I've participated as guest on other blog's podcasts. :) I'd love to do a full-staff podcast this spring, sounds like a great idea. Sponsored by Four Roses, of course.

Matt: I'm always game for blabbing incessantly.

GoAUpher: I love to hear myself talk. Count me in.


Where does your Maroon and Gold fandom stem from?

- DJ14

GN: I think this is a great question and one that deserves more than a few sentences. Look for a series of these in the offseason (always looking for good offseason content).

GoAUpher: I'll sort of cop out and link back to my first real post here at TDG. There's a lot there that I go into but the shorthand version is experiences, relationships, and geography. I grew up in northwestern MN so I've always had the Gophers as my home state team. My g/f throughout most of college was at the U (I attended a small lib arts school in WI). So that gave me the chance to see games in person which is when I got totally hooked. My fandom has only gotten stronger the more games I attend and especially now that I'm married to someone (different woman than college g/f) who enables my crazy fandom and kindly looks the other way as I spend way too much time and money on season tickets, tailgating, road trips, and blogging.

As GN says, I think this is a topic we'll try to dive into again as we hit the summer doldrums.


Why/how are you guys so awesome?


JDMill: It's science.

GN: It's hard to explain.

Matt: Because I drink bourbon.

GoAUpher: Because I'm taller than everyone (almost). Seriously. You think I'm kidding? Come to the TDG meetup this weekend (FYI, more details on the way). I'm a giant!


When is lunch?


JDMill: Who's buyin'?

GoAUpher: Not me.


Where do babies come from?

- SWMplsGopher

GN: It's hard to explain

GoAUpher: A special baby planet. Seriously. This commercial says so:


If oranges were a different color what would we call them?

- SWMplsGopher

GoAUpher: I was going to try and be funny here but I'm failing. I'm going to go with "spheres of deliciousness."

GN: Greenges, duh!


If it took a chicken and a half a day and a half to lay an egg and a half, how long would it take a monkey (with half a wooden leg) to kick a dill pickle?

- SWMplsGopher

GoAUpher: That's a mathmatical stumper. Good thing my AP Calc teacher showed us a formula that is always correct and can be used for just such a situation. It's called the SNIFF method. I'll even show my work.

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The answer is one dog sniffing another dog's butt. You're welcome.

GN: I've seen too many eggs laid this basketball season, I can't handle this question.


Maryland I. Thoughts?

- timegan2

JDMill: Yes please! The Maryland-I, in my uneducated opinion, is a way for a team that hasn't quite figured out how to be a run-first team, to become a run-first team rather quickly. It produces crazy match-up problems, especially if the defense isn't prepared for it, and once you establish it, there are some wacky things that you can begin to do from a passing standpoint. I don't know a ton about it, but I love it.

Matt: When I get around to it, I'm going to put together a Maryland-I X and O's post from bowl game footage. Basically, it's a rather astute recognition by the offensive coaches that the roster has a relative abundance of depth and talent at the tight end/fullback and running back positions, but are either too young, not deep or not talented enough at other spots. As JD mentioned, rather than try and forcing a team to get BIGGERFASTERSTRONGER and older before they're ready, it creates mismatches on the defense by getting more bodies at the point of attack. It also creates an interesting dynamic off play-action, depending upon what the opposing DC does with the weakside safety.

GoAUpher: I see my esteemed collegues went with real responses. PFFFFT! I have 2 answers to your question. First: MOAR MARYLAND-I! Second: THE MARYLAND-I CANNOT FAIL, IT CAN ONLY BE FAILED!


Hayo Carpenter...Would he be able to read this question about him faster than he could run a 40 yard dash assuming that there was minimal wind resistance, the surface was a standard track, he was wearing shoes, said shoes were tied, there were no obstacles in his path, there was no danger of a bear chasing him, the words here were in a larger font, and he was in a comfortably lit room for the reading?

- WhiteSpeedReceiver

JDMill: Who?

GN: You lost me at "shoes".

GoAUpher: Hmmm....looks like I forgot to include the "Hayo Carpenter" subject line from that question before asking everyone to weigh in. I'd have to say that without a bear chasing him, he'd finish the question well before he stopped running.



Bigger muscles by volume...Trevor Mbakwe or a Blue Whale?

- Sportsavenue

GN: Depends on if Cody Zeller is there to kick around.

GoAUpher: Unanswerable. Whales are not real things. I think you're referring to "SUPER COOL LARGE FISH!"


Can Alaska and Puerto Rico move into D1 so that we can have a representative of every major American entity?

- Sportsavenue

JDMill: Absolutely not.

GoAUpher: I disagree JD. Just think of how much more awesome HOCKEY BEAR would be if Alaska had D-1 athletic department money to blow on production values...


WTH is there only 1 D1 team from Minnesota?

- Sportsavenue

JDMill: Assuming you are asking this question specific to football... who else would you suggest can play D1 football when, according to most recruiting experts, the state of Minnesota doesn't produce enough D1 talent. St Cloud State, Mankato State, Bemidji State and Duluth are all D1 in hockey, but no other sport, and the reason is simple: there are enough high level high school hockey players in the upper-Midwest to support that many D1 hockey programs. Also, keep in mind, a football program needs 100 kids to stand up to the rigors of a college football season, injuries, practice squads, etc, whereas a hockey program needs only 25-30.

Matt: It likely has something to do with the U being both a public flagship and a land grant university. That makes the state of Minnesota similar to Wisconsin in that regard and different than, say, Iowa, Oregon or Washington. When you only have one major university in your state, you're likely only going to have one D1 footbawwwwww team.

GoAUpher: My fault again...failed to include the part that noted it was about basketball. I promise to suck less in future mailbags. As to the answer? I'm guessing it's because the most likely candidates (UMD, Mankato, SCSU) don't want to pay to get up to D-1 in their other sports. Being D-1 in hockey is good enough for them.


Are there any plans for said Minnesota teams ie UMD, Winona Bemidji or the other Northern Sun people to go D1?

- Sportsavenue

GN: Not that I'm aware of. It takes a lot of money, vastly improved facilities and then more money to make the move from DII to DI. When the North Dakota and South Dakota schools (along with Northern Colorado, Neb-Omaha) decided to move to DI and break up the NCC, most of the other schools did their feasibility studies to determine if they wanted to also make the move (Mankato, St. Cloud St, etc). They chose to stay DII and I imagine they will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Those programs are in a competitive conference and have had plenty of success in other sports (Winona, Mankato, UMD) while probably making money in hockey. I don't see what their motivation would be to move to DI. There are some highly successful DII and DIII teams in Minnesota, both in football and basketball. This are may not produce vast quantities of high level D1 athletes but it is producing plenty of quality athletes who can win at the other levels.

If anything, I think you'll see St. Thomas making a jump to probably DII but maybe they have grand plans of making a giant leap to DI. They have gobs of money but facilities would be a major issue.


Is there anything better than ESPN's PBA commercials?

- Sportsavenue

JDMill: Two things, actually. Bacon & bourbon.

GN: ESPN's Arnie Palmer commercial is my favorite. Other things better include Samantha Ponder, bourbon, Gopher basketball and Adam Weber.


What is your favorite pizza in the Twin Cities?

- rencito

GN: Aurelio's on Hamline Ave in Roseville.

Matt: I'm partial to Pizza Luce, though Black Sheep is also a favorite.

GoAUpher: Sadly I eat too little in the Cities, but Luce and Black Sheep top my list.


Summit or Surly?
- rencito

GN: Surly.

Matt: Surly, though Summit Saga is a winner.

GoAUpher: Surly, hate that I can't get it in WI.


How would all of you answered these? What question wins the the title of "Most Random" for this mailbag? And what should my penance be for getting this up late?