14 days till Gopher Football kicks off against Eastern Illinois. Everybody making their plans for Thursday the 28th?
Before we get into the current Gopher squad, how about a quick look at one of our favorite former Gophers now playing in the NFL. SBN's Cleveland Brown's blog, Dogs by Nature, looked at how MarQuies Gray was used in their first preseason game and his potential role in the Cleveland offense this upcoming season.
Their preseason game snap count shows that Gray played 40% of the snaps from Tuesday's game. This doesnt mean a whole lot because it is the preseason. But this comment was interesting.
The fullbacks got plenty of work, particularly MarQueis Gray, who looks to be utilized heavily in the passing game this year.
Then following up the game the crew at DBN highlighted Gray as one of the key takeaways as part of their game review (scroll down to #6 on their list).
Big Plans for MarQueis Gray: If we are going off of the first game only, then FB MarQueis Gray is going to be a significant part of the offense this year. I envision him being utilized in a role that would have been somewhat suitable for WR Joshua Cribbs back in the day, except that the coaching staff actually values Gray as someone who will see maybe 50% of the snaps per game.
We actually got to see quarterbacks get the ball to Gray in this game, as opposed to last year when it became a running gag that the ball would always sail 20 feet over his head despite being open. Besides that, though, Grey's blocking on carries by RB Ben Tate made me all-the-more impressed.
More follows those paragraphs with screen shots and talk about Gray's value as a blocker in the Cleveland rushing game. It would be fun to see Gray become a key part of an NFL offense. What a strange path of positions Gray has gone through over the years. QB to WR to QB to WR to NFL TE to FB. I'm sure he's happy to be collecting an NFL check and contributing on Sundays.
- Speaking of popular former Gophers in the NFL...ever wonder why Eric Decker chose to play for the NY Jets? Find out here. You can keep an eye on Decker's season in New York at Gang Green Nation.
- Marcus Fuller looks at how the Gophers will replace RaShede Hageman. The answer? You don't, but hopefully we make up for his play-making in other areas of the defense.
- GopherSports.com also has a defensive line preview.
- Fuller also looked at the Gopher secondary and how it is time for them to start getting the respect they deserve.
- FSN looks at Ryan Santoso and his big leg.
- Ruesse has an interesting story on Leidner and a relationship with a Blue Earth man who likes his game.
- ESPN has their best case / worst case for the Gophers this year. Best case is another 8-win regular season, this time with a trip to the Outback Bowl.
- Gopher Basketball's season opening game against Louisville now has an official start time. Mark your calendars for 6:00 on November 14th and set your DVR to ESPN.
- So this is really more of a Twins story but MLB's top prospect Byron Buxton collided with his right fielder last night and left with a concussion. It was Buxton's first game after being called up to the AA level. Why am I linking here? Cause it was former Gopher and Houston's first round pick, Mike Kvasnicka who had the run-in with Buxton.