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The Daily Gopher Mailbag: #AskTDG Talks A Lot About Kickers

Seriously, I don't recall the last time we talked this much about kickers.

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Here's a quick reminder on how this whole mailbag thing works before we get started:

There are three ways to contact the The Daily Gopher staff with your questions. You can post them in the comments of the "Calling All Questions" post on Monday, you can tweet them at us on Twitter using the hashtag #AskTDG (please use it because then we can search on it and everything becomes easier) or you can email them to DailyGopher (at) If you email it to us we'll use your first name unless you request otherwise, for Twitter/comments we'll use your respective handle or moniker.

Time for answers to compliment your Friday beverages...

Make your best Gopher DL with players from the Wacker era to present.


Matt: Lamanzer Williams, OPrime, Anthony Montgomery, Willie Van De Steeg. Williams gets the slight nod over Karon Riley. The rest really aren't close, sadly reflecting our lack of good DL over the last 15 years.

GopherNation: Willie VanDeSteeg, Garrett Brown, Hageman and Karon Riley

GoAUpher: This is the part where I admit a terrible secret...I don't have memories of anything from the Wacker era.  So I'll go Optimus, VanDeSteeg, Montgomery, and Riley

I think in the past Matt did a post on how scholarships work (maybe on FBT but I think on TDG); can you repost it? I am asking in regards to the whole DCT thing; it was mentioned in that posts how not all scholarships are created equal (in value).


GopherNation: Not sure what you are talking about, but I'm pretty sure that all football scholarships are full scholarships and DCT will no longer be counting towards the football scholarship total. Mabye Matt will have a link.

Matt: You can regularly find this page by hovering over "Library" on the Masthead menu.

So after a few days of camp, let's revisit LB Upgrade/downgrade. The early reports have been overwhelmingly positive. #TeamSunshineandRainbows or #TeamReality?

And speaking of linebackers, has anyone seen our new plus-sized kicker in action yet?


GopherNation: We are going to be starting basically an entire new corp of linebackers but we may be plugging in three guys who are all more talented than the previous three. I'm not ready to say upgrade till I see it on the field but if this group can be better that will go a long way towards being a more competent run defense.

Matt: Mean regression can either be positive or negative, depending on where you're looking up (or down) from. Even average LB play from the current corps would be better than last year's performance.

JDMill: From what very little I've seen with my own eyes, which was just the scrimmage on Saturday, and seeing what I saw from our LB group last year, I'm more comfortable with this group, so I'd consider it an upgrade. Athletic ability at the linebacker spot is key, and while I loved our senior group of guys last year, their overall athletic ability doesn't come close to touching this group.

Additionally, you have two guys who are groomed MLB's in Lynn & Wilson, whereas last season Mike Rallis was really just a band-aid. Add to that the fact that De'Vondre Campbell looks legit, you've got a couple of hungry younger guys in Matilus & Laster, and I think the recipe for upgrade is definitely in place.

Is Santoso an upgrade? We've been terrible at K for some time now, any insights as to how well Santoso is doing would be great.


JDMill: I'm not hearing enough about Santoso to think that he's going to be our everything kicker. Someone, somewhere, suggested that he may start off as just a kickoff specialist while letting one of the older guys handle the placekicking duties, and I could really see that being the case. All indications are that the kid has a huge leg, and I can tell you that I saw with my own eyes that he doesn't look like a kicker, but I think it's very possible that he isn't thrown to the wolves with the placekicking pressure as a true freshman.

Also, how hungry are we for football that we're considering the impact of a true freshman kicker?

Matt: If Santoso can best Hawthorne's 64.6 yards per kickoff attemp average from 2011 (when he was a somewhat fulltime PK before injury), even by a yard, yes -- that would be an upgrade. 65+ yards per KO puts the ball in the endzone with the new KO spot, which combined with the new 25 yard spot on touchbacks has greatly reduced the number of return attempts.

GopherNation: That is a good question and I haven't heard much of anything about the kicking game this month.

GoAUpher: All I know is that Santoso looks like the perfect choice to run the Golden-I fake out of a punt formation.

What is Ryan Santoso's role in 2014? Full time kicker? Kickoffs? Punter? Redshirt? The kicking game struggled last year. I hope he can do it all because the Gophers need deeper/higher kickoffs, more accurate field goals and longer/deeper/higher punts (or at least 0 punts under 30 yards).


Matt: Fun fact! Jordan Wettstein was 20th in the nation last year with a 50% touchback percentage, a stat no doubt inflated by moving the spot of the KO up from the 30 to the 35 yard line. Back to Santoso here. I'm guessing Kill opts for three different kicking specialists, with Santoso getting kickoffs, Hawthorne on FG duty and whomever at punter.

GopherNation: I would guess that Chris Hawthorn is the favorite to kick this year and maybe Santoso will get a chance to redshirt. I also expect that Orseske and Eldred will battle it out to be the primary punter.

GoAUpher: Seriously, they're going to motion from the punt formation into the Golden-I at least once this year and Santoso will carry the ball in for a touchdown with 4 guys on his back Billy Bob style.  Book it.

I see that Dexter Foreman is being left off the 105-man roster again. Any indication as to whether he'll ever see the field, in any capacity? For a team with a lot of QB youth, his name is never mentioned. Not even as a "Wildcat" QB.


JDMill: In Saturday's scrimmage 5 QB's took snaps: Nelson, Leidner, Streveler, Jones & Conor Rhoda. I know nothing about Conor Rhoda, but I can tell you without question that Nelson, Leidner, Streveler & Jones can all run the ball. With that in mind, there really isn't a need for a "Wildcat QB" on this team. Additionally (and perhaps anecdotally), Foreman is the "oldest" QB on the depth chart as a Redshirt Soph. Nelson is the only other Soph by eligibility. All other QB's are RS Freshmen, or Freshmen. All signs indicate that Dexter Foreman isn't going to play QB for the Gophers.

GopherNation: I doubt you'll ever see Foreman on the field. In all conversations about the 3rd and 4th QB spots, the only names brought up are the true freshmen Streveler and Jones.

I've been in the student section since time immemorial. Now, I have real adult people tickets for the first time. What should I know going into the first UNLV game? I have used my ASTONISHING POWERS OF OBSERVATION AND DEDUCTION to determine I probably won't be standing the whole time anymore. Frowny face. What else?

Erik T

GoAUpher: Someone around you will sell their seats to a Badger, Hawkeye, or Husker fan. It's ok to give them crap, but don't be a jerk about it. Personally I think it's a horrible practice, but you don't want to be "that guy." In fact, that's your rule. Don't be "that guy", unless it's in the context of "that Zubaz guy." That's totally acceptable.  And speaking of Zubaz...


JDMill: I think this really depends on where your tickets are in the stadium. If you're in the upper-deck or one of the interior lower deck sections that require a donation, you're probably going to get some pushback on standing the entire game.

My humble suggestion would be to be proactive. Make friends with those around you who may have been in those seats for a couple of years. Get to know the culture, ask about standing, etc. Who knows, maybe you can "be the change you want to see in your section." - Ghandi

GopherNation: The good news is, you can still yell "FIRST DOWN" when the announcer says, "And that's another GOLDEN GOPHER..." Beyond that, I don't know. I'm usually staying warm in the pressbox.

Why hasn't Goldy authored an amusingly irreverent booklet on this issue and seen that it found its way to graduating student ticket holders?

Erik T

GoAUpher: Not sure, but I do think "Spin Your Head" would be an excellent title for a book by Goldy.