Where to begin with this one? A win is a win is a win even though I’m not sure this was a win. This was pretty disgusting if you ask me. 21-3 at the end of the first quarter and you need a last second field goal to secure the win, against Rutgers! The same Rutgers team that has been outscored 865-3 the past four weeks. Ok, obviously that’s an exaggeration but that’s how it felt if you happened to watch any of those games. No disrespect to Rutgers, but they are not a good football team, they are in a rebuilding mode. We as Gopher fans have been there, we unerstand what their team and fans are going through. Yet the Gophers were eight seconds away from losing to them after being up 21-3.
The Gophers are now past the halfway point of the season. At some point you are who you are and the Gophers are a team that continues to make far, far too many mistakes. They may have a 5-2 record but does anyone really believe at this point the Gophers are trending in the right direction? The defense looked as if they were starting to put things together, then yesterday happened. Offensively, I have no idea what is going on there anymore. Special teams, some good but a whole lot of bad as well. I don’t know, I try and keep a level head with this team but maybe I exptected too much from them this season. They are 5-2, I should be happy right now but I just can’t fully buy-in to the record from what I have seen so far. Maybe I’m just being overly critical.
Here are my thoughts and observations from the game:
Tracy Claeys - I’m tired of hearing how the team hasn’t played a full four quarters yet and how there are things that need to be “fixed and cleaned up”. That’s on you! You are now responsible for how the team plays. Why are things not being cleaned up? Especially the penalties, which have been a problem all season long. Why isn’t the team playing a full four quarters? What are you doing to address this issue? Stop with the excuses and fix the issues. It’s not making you look real good right now.
Mitch Leidner - I don’t care you were cleared to play, you shouldn’t have played this game. There was no reason for you to play this game. You had two days of practice after missing the previous week. You were a little rusty and it showed. The cynic in me says the only reason you played is Claeys is starting to feel the heat and knows he needs wins to save his job., so he played you.
Rodney Smith - You’ve really elevated your game this season. You’ve been the only bright spot for the offense so far this season if you ask me. You’re carrying the offense at this point.
Shannon Brooks - It looks to me you are pressing a little. You’ve missed some holes and cuts you didn’t miss last season. Not saying you are playing bad, you just need to slow the game down and the big gains will come again.
Wide Receivers - The wide receiver play in the Kill/Claeys era has been a glaring issue. What has been the one constant for the receivers in that time frame? Wide Receiver Coach Brian Anderson, that’s what. I don’t care how good of a recruiter he has been, he has been unable to develop the receivers, which is Job A for him. When the head coach is asked after a game about the play of the receivers and the best he can come up with is “they blocked well” something is drastically wrong. What the heck do Isaiah Gentry and Melvin Holland have to do to see the field? Both players are healthy, yet neither of them can even get sniff of the field. From what we have seen from the receiver rotation and the play of the receivers, you can’t tell me they would do any worse. Everyone wants to #BlameLeidner for every little thing but it would also be nice if he had receivers who could get open once in awhile. Whatever Anderson is doing isn’t working. Something needs to change. I know what change I would make if I was Tracy Claeys.
Suspended Players - I don’t want to hear about the loss of the suspended players. The loss of those players do not explain Jalen Myrick not even making an attempt at the ball while running stride for stride with a receiver on a long touchdown pass. He simply didn’t make a play, that’s on him, not the suspended players. The loss of the suspended players doesn’t explain the complete lack of a pass rush for most of the game. The loss of Kiante Hardin should not make that big of a difference against Rutgers offense. The defense simply didn’t show up to play.
Targeting - I give up. I have no idea what targeting is. Sadly, I don’t think the refs do either.
Penn State - I heard a lot of talk about how the PSU loss doesn’t look so bad after the PSU upset over Ohio State. Sorry, not buying it. Their upset over OSU doesn’t change the fact the Gophers were the better team that day and they gave the game away.
Now onto what really matters, the Stroll Through Twitterland:
The main hashtags for this week were:
@lpeterson830 with an observation everyone at The Bank was feeling after the first quarter, yet it still took a last second field goal to win.
@lpeterson830 chimes in again and I can’t disagree with what he is saying.
@nightflyblog with a great summation of how Rutgers season is going so far.
Missing a game-tying PAT and then giving up a KO return TD on the next play is the Rutgersest thing ever. #RUTGvsMINN— (((Mike B))) (@nightflyblog) October 22, 2016
Kind of sad @BigBird1030 even had to be worried about this one after being up 21-3.
Ok, @muls96 this made me laugh but it also speaks volumes.
Good humor @achilian727 this made me laugh, yet this also speaks volumes.
My head hurts @RedditCFB
I don’t know if I’m to this point yet @Mike_Zanatta but I’m also not saying I’m not at this point.
At this point you root against the Gophs so Claeys gets fired...— Mike Zanatta (@Mike_Zanatta) October 22, 2016
Can’t disagree @aagreene87
Last but not least, this doesn’t have anything to do with the game but if you missed this please give it a read. Big reminder there is more good in this world than ugliness.
So there you have it. This weeks Stroll. What are your thoughts on the game? Am I being too critical? Is Clayes fighting for his job? Are you happy with the win? Is the team trending in the right direction heading down the home stretch?