You might have noticed this piece on the WWL B1G Blog a little while ago:
We've already covered the conference's potential villains, so it's only natural that we move on to the good guys.
You won't find them in comic books or out in the Big Ten footprint fighting crime. But even opposing fans won't find it all that difficult to root for this cast of characters. Some overcame injuries or other obstacles, some have been wronged, and others just seem like genuinely good people
On the list? Jerry Kill of course.
Jerry Kill, head coach, Minnesota: Stop me if you've heard this before. "I'm rooting against them when they play us, but I'm wishing all the best to ________ the rest of the season." Chances are Kill's filled in quite a few of those sentences the past few years. He has refused to let epilepsy get the best of him, and his longevity's been a testament to his toughness. He's been a coach since 1985, and he just led the Gophers to back-to-back bowls. Plus, he recently started a new epilepsy foundation for young patients, and he put $100,000 of his own money toward that. How can you not root for this guy?
A well deserved mention if you ask me. And it got me thinking...what would this list look like if you limited it to current Gophers players and coaches? Obviously as fans I hope we're all cheering for every player who represents our favorite school. But I think we all know there are players and coaches who become personal (or fanbase wide) favorites. Here's my quick Top 5 (in no particular order). NOTE: I could easily go past 5 Gophers, but I don't have a ton of time to write this. To make it more interesting, I also kept Coach Kill off the list. If you've read me before you know that he's clearly a guy I root for.
Nate Wozniak (RS Fr- TE - Football)
One of the new jokes among the writers is that I love Wozniak like GN loves Adam Weber. All I have to say is...
DeAndre Mathieu (Sr - Guard - Basketball)
Two words for you...Texas Hop. Lil' Dre is just ridiculously fun to watch play, and I'm really sad we only get to see him in a Gopher uniform for 2 seasons.
Peter Mortell (RS Jr - Punter - Football)
Talented punter with a sense of humor who creates GIFable moments. What's not to love?
Richard Pitino (Head Coach - Basketball)
Love his attitude and am excited about where the basketball team could go under his leadership. Has little time for silly postgame questions, throws his jacket like a pro, has a fantastic death stare, and gave us all this:
Kyle Rau (Sr - Forward - Men's Hockey)
Has a knack for scoring goals, isn't the biggest guy on the ice but always sees to play like it, and perhaps most importantly has the ability to drive opposing players NUTS. I heart your chirping Kyle. I heart it so much.