Friday, November 30, 2007

The rich get richer

Willie Mobley has made a verbal commitment to Ohio State. Not a big surprise, but this would have been a HUGE get for Brewster and the Gophers.

As of now this is the only link that I have to the info. If anyone else has another link please let me know.

UPDATE: Scoggins is all over it... here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Tim Brewster gets the Dreaded Vote of Confidence"

I missed this quick article last week by Tom Fornelli on AOL Sports last week.

Because often times a coach gets fired even after hearing the words, it's very popular right now when an Athletic Director or owner of a team says they have confidence in their coach in the midst of a bad season, for the media to say that the AD or owner gave their coach the "dreaded" vote of confidence. Fornelli was obviously gravy-training on this trend because in his piece on Brewster he doesn't develop this any further. In fact, he goes as far as to say that Maturi is right, that Brewster does deserve more time to prove that he can build a program.

Fornelli's article is actually spot on, summed up by this...

"Say what you will about the Gophers performance on the field this season, but at the very least, they weren't lying down for anybody. They played hard in every game, they just didn't have the talent to compete."

And then there were two...

... schools that is. Two is the number of schools that stand-out Eden Prairie defensive lineman Willie Mobley has narrowed his list of places where he might play college football next year.

The good news is that one of them is the Gold Country of Gopher Nation's Minnesota Golden Gophers!

The bad news is that the other one is none other than THE Ohio State University.

Here are some of the reasons that it seems possible, or maybe even likely, that Mobley will stay home:

1. Playing close to friends and family.
2. Immediate playing time in the Big10. Big fish, small pond.
3. Academics.
4. The chance to be a stand-out on and off the field, to be beloved by Minnesotans everywhere, to step into a Big10 program where he is immediately THE man, and to be a celebrity in his own home town for the rest of his life.
5. The chance to be spoken forever as one of the premier names that helped turn Golden Gopher football around.

I think I speak for ALL of Gopher Nation when I say to Mr Willie Mobley: PLEASE STAY HOME AND BUILD OUR PROGRAM!!!

SKI-U-MAH, Willie Mobley, SKI-U-MAH!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One in, one out...

Chip Scoggins reported today that Offensive Lineman Matt DeGeest will not play for the Gophers next year, as he has decided to leave the program. He is the fourth scholarship player to leave the team this year. DeGeest was replaced mid-way through this season by red-shirt freshman Dominic Alford.

We can also welcome to the Gold Country of Gopher Nation Mr. Xzavian Brandon, a 4.4 second 40 yard dash wide receiver from Atlanta. Xzavian is 6'2" and 170lbs. Let's hope the training staff gets their hands on this speedster so that they get him up to Eric Decker's size.

A Lifelong Gopher fan...

If you have not yet read Jim Souhan's article about Gopher fan, and former Gopher basketball player, Joe Holewa, you should stop what you are doing and read it right now.

This is a great story of the will to live and devotion to family.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

BIG PLAY TRAYE!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome Traye Simmons (4 Star CB recruit from College of the Sequoias) to Gopher Nation, or Gold Country, or whatever we are calling it today!!!

Also welcome DaJon McKnight (the third player from Skyline HS in Dallas and another D-back prospect) and Maurice Greer (RB from Garden City, KS Community College with 4.5 speed)!

The Handshake heard round the Midwest

Look, we all know Bret Bielema is a cocky guy. To some extent he has a right to be. But let's be honest, he won big last year with Alvarez's guys, and he's still doing it.

Below you will find the highlight video of Saturday's Border Battle from the Big Ten Network...

Two things... First, did anyone else think the refs calling the touchdown for Wiscy at the beginning of the 4th Quarter when the score was tied at 20 was questionable?

Second, and the reason for this post, have another look at Bielema's handshake with Brewster (if you can call it that) after the game... I'm going to go ahead and refrain from calling him any choice words... but let the record show that I certainly would like to!!!

"You want a rivalry...."

There is clearly no love lost between Bret Bielema and Coach Brewster. Bielema said after the Gopher/Badger game "You want a rivalry... you got one."


As if the Border Battle wasn't heated enough, Bielema just raised the stakes. I love it!!! Apparently Decker and CB Ikegwuonu were going at each other, not always above the belt, all game long. I love the fire!

I have to tell you, the Gophers had me fired up on Saturday. I don't ever remember seeing a Gopher defense as fired up as the one we saw on Saturday. I don't ever remember seeing guys flying around the ball and just generally sacrificing absolutely everything they had, leaving absolutely everything they had in them on the field before. It was fantastic to watch! The young guys are learning to play big time ball and they are learning to do so ON THE JOB.

That was one of the most entertaining games that I recall watching in a long time, and part of it was that I just wanted to Gophers to win that game so much, not for the fans, but for the players. They ABSOLUTELY deserved to win that game. They played their hearts out, and for the first time ever you could really, and truly, see it from the stands.

There are some great things to be excited about with the Gopher Football program!!!

Ski-U-Mah, my friends, SKI-U-MAH!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Interesting article...

Here is an interesting article examining corporate naming rights for stadiums, and what happens when a naming sponsor gets bought out. Apparently there is a chance that TCF Bank will get purchased by another bank even prior to TCF Bank Stadium opening. The U says that this scenario was addressed in the naming contract for the stadium, but this is an interesting topic that hadn't crossed my mind prior to reading this.


I would like you to take a moment to read this article.

Written by a U of Wisconsin student and band member, I think that this article represents perfectly the smug attitude that Badger fans come into the Dome with this weekend. They like to make fun of our team and our stadium, and yet, every single year, without fail, they flock to the Metrodome.

I think this sums up what we can look forward to this weekend...

"...for some reason, Gopher fans get excited for this border battle game every year, no matter how slim their chances of winning.
Most of you will likely run into people on the streets of Minneapolis who will shout things at you or tell you how bad the Badgers are. All any Wisconsin fan will have to say to them after, however, is one word: scoreboard.
Don’t be too harsh on those Gophers, though. They’ve had a rough go at it this year. Their 1-10 record is haunting enough; they don’t need to be told how dismal their team’s season has been.
OK, who am I kidding? Go ahead and remind them."

Hopefully the Gopher football team has seen this article. If Coach Brewster's kids needed any bulletin board fodder to get them up for this game... Tyler Mason has delivered.

Gophs to play Air Force at first game in TCF Stadium

The speculation can now end... the Gophers WILL play Air Force on September 12, 2009 for the first ever game in TCF Bank Stadium.

The day will include a tribute to Minnesota veterans.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bo Ryan dances...

I realize this is a football blog, but in looking for video leading up to this weekend's Border Battle, I found this little gem of Wisconsin Basketball Coach Bo Ryan dancing...

Recruits visiting this weekend

A few big recruits will be at the Dome this Saturday to watch the Gophers re-gain Axe-supremacy, and watch as we drink in the Wiscy...

According to Shooter...

"The Gophers football team this weekend will receive recruiting visits from running back Maurice Greer of Garden City (Kan.) junior college, wide receiver Broderick Smith of Garden City (Kan.) High School, wide receiver Vince Hill of Milford Prep (N.Y.) Academy, defensive lineman Willie Mobley of Eden Prairie and offensive lineman Matt C"arufel, who has committed after transferring from Notre Dame."

Two more recruits join the fold...

Spencer Reeves (6'1", 193lbs, LB, 4.5 second 40 yard dash) and Troy Stoudermire (5'10", 163lbs, Athlete, 4.5 second 40 yard dash) from Skyline Highschool in Dallas have both made verbal commitments to the Golden Gophers.

Reeves is a fast defensive player, likely LB for the Gophers as well, who will be a nice addition to what Coach Brewster is trying to build. Stoudemire, I believe (is someone knows otherwise please correct me) is an athletic quarterback at Skyline, who is a great runner. Athletes of his ability always have a spot on the team. Plus, as we learned from Lou Holtz, recruiting high school QB's is never a bad idea.

As if ice cream and Blizzards weren't enough

Well, Gopher fans, if delicious soft-serve ice cream and the various varieties of the signature Blizzard treat weren't reason enough to get you to visit your local Dairy Queen (March through September), now you've got another reason...

Support Gopher Football, Eat at Dairy Queen!!!!

(But don't tell my wife.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Recruiting news...

Terrell Combs, 6'2", 252 lbs, from Lexington, KY has verbally committed to the Golden Gophers! Combs is a high school teammate of D.L. Wilhite, another Gopher verbal commitment, and is listed as an athlete. He apparently plays running back, wide receiver and some defense for his high school team.

From the Maysville, KY Ledger Independent, this article talks about Combs and Wilhite....

"Just a couple of examples of the tremendous size on the Bryan Station roster include junior fullback Roy "The Bear" Philon, who is listed as a 6-3, 267-pounder, along with University of Minnesota-bound running back D.J. Willhite [D.L. Wilhite], who is 6-4, 240. Another behemoth, junior offensive tackle Chase Blackburn anchors the offensive line at 6-7, 320.
The top Division I prospect is receiver Terrell Combs, who appears even bigger than his listed size of 6-3, 240. Combs is being recruited by Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan and other schools, reportedly possesses 4.5 speed and had five receptions for 155 yards and three touchdowns. Instead of avoiding possible tacklers, Combs prefers to stiff-arm defenders and run over opponents."

Speculation is that Combs will play DE or LB.

All this negativity...

After Rick Pitino left the Kentucky basketball program to try his luck in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, he had a rough go of it. He managed a record with the Celtics of 102 wins and 146 losses. Not exactly the winning ways he was used to, nor was it the akin with the storied history of the Celtics. For his lack of W's, Pitino was slaughtered in the Boston media at every turn. Well one day Pitino had had enough...

"Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they're going to be gray and old. What we are is young, exciting, hard-working, and we're going to improve. People don't realize that, and as soon as they realize those three guys are not coming through that door, the better this town will be for all of us because there are young guys in that (locker) room playing their asses off. I wish we had $90 million under the salary cap. I wish we could buy the world. We can't; the only thing we can do is work hard, and all the negativity that's in this town sucks. I've been around when Jim Rice was booed. I've been around when (Carl) Yastrzemski was booed. And it stinks. It makes the greatest town, greatest city in the world, lousy. The only thing that will turn this around is being upbeat and positive like we are in that locker room... and if you think I'm going to succumb to negativity, you're wrong. You've got the wrong guy leading this team."

This is sort of how I feel about Gopher football right now. I've been trying to be upbeat and positive, to keep my focus on the good things that are happening. But, to quote Pitino "all the negativity that's in this town sucks."

If you haven't noticed I haven't been posting as often as earlier in the season. It's not because my passion for Gopher football has dropped in any way. Instead what has happened is that there just isn't much out there to comment on that isn't completely negative. Of course this is a direct result of the fact that there hasn't been anything good to report on as far as the team's play.

So for someone like me, trying to create an outlet for people who are trying to be upbeat about the program, it's a difficult time. Outside of re-hashing the same old recruiting, developing young players, learning a new system topics, there isn't much out there. This also makes it difficult for me to plug away and try to come up with new commentary when it's sort of the same old, same old negativity that's out there.

So I ask you, readers, what is your opinion? I would really like to find out what you think there is to be optimistic about. We are all in this together, a small group of very loyal Gopher football fans, and we need to hold each other up. What am I missing? What is there to be excited about that I've missed? Let's continue to rail against the negativity.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My biggest fear

All along it has looked the the Gophers losing ways on the field were not affecting recruiting in a negative way. But we'd have to be a bit crazy to not be at least worried that it was going to have a negative affect at some point.

Brendan Kelly, a 3-star defensive line recruit from Holy Angels had verbally committed to the Gophers, but planned to keep the rest of his official visits... can you say red flag?

Well, we've learned this morning, from Chip Scoggins, that Kelly has withdrawn his verbal commitment from the Golden Gophers and will pursue other options.

This has been my biggest fear all along, and now it's coming true. A recruit like Kelly withdrawing his commitment is bad for the Gophers football team on the field, and it doesn't bode well for other recruits either. These kids could very well start to wonder why he withdrew his commitment.

Kelly claims that it has nothing to do with the Gophers 1-9 record, and it only had to do with where he feels comfortable. Funny how he started feeling uncomfortable at Minnesota at precisely the time when things could not be going any worse on the field.

Monday, November 5, 2007

What now?

Well, look who has egg on his face again!!! I said that this was another winnable game, and here we are again on a Monday and the Gophers didn't win. Apparently my homer-bias outshines my logical nature late in the work week, but then my homer-bias is replaced by dejected reality.

Dejected reality coming...

A co-worker of mine made the observation today that even those high in spirit are subject to bouts of reality when your team takes so many losses. He's also the same co-worker who thought (and still thinks by the way) that the Gophers have another win in them. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I hope he's right.

I was pretty pumped up for Saturday night, I figured the Gophers had every reason to be excited and ready to play this game.

But the Gophers simply did NOT show up for this game. There was not a single, solitary moment of Saturday's game that I felt like the Gophers were in it. It was embarrassing.

WARNING: Meltdown coming...

Illinois came in as a one-dimensional team. They can run the ball, and that's it. Juice Williams is not a pocket-passer, he's a run-first guy. Now, I will give you, they can run the ball exceptionally well, but you knew coming in that they weren't a passing team. They were NOT going to throw. They may as well have put a full-page add in the USA Today that they weren't going to throw the ball... And yet, we couldn't stop them! They ran all over us... and around us, and pretty much any place that a team can run, they ran, and then some. They ran the ball 50 times. 50 TIMES!!! And only threw 21 times. 70% of the plays that they ran were running plays. SEVENTY!!! They came up with 448 yards rushing. They averaged 9 yards/carry. They had a 200 yard AND a 100 yard rusher. They very nearly DOUBLED our offensive production. And get this: their time of possession was less than 1 minute more than ours, they had 1 more turnover than we had AND they had almost twice as many penalty yards than we had. Illinois was absolutely BEGGING us to get back in the game. We couldn't do anything.

Once again we were not mistake-ridden by any means, we just could not do anything significant with the football, or muster up anything close to resembling a defensive stand. They punted only 1 time.

Meltdown over.

Chances are very good that I'm still going to be VERY excited for this Saturday's game against Iowa. C'mon, it's Iowa for cryin' out loud! It's Floyd, it's outdoors, it's November... IT'S COLLEGE FOOTBALL PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!

No matter what I think we can all agree on one thing...


(There... I feel better.)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Playing catch up

Well, I've been very tired up with work the last couple of days and haven't had much time to write, so I've got some things to catch up on.

Illinois comes rolling into town this week and rolling they are. Ron Zook hit the recruiting trail a couple of years ago when he came to the Big 10 to lead Illinois. The Illini weren't supposed to do anything significant until next year, but Zook's efforts are already paying off. This is good news and bad news for Gopher fans. The bad news, of course, is that we have to play Illinois this week, and they are a good football team.

The good news for Gopher fans is that recruiting was Zook's #1 priority when he got to Illinois, as has been Coach Brewster's priority, and it has paid off for Zook, and it has paid off early.

The Illini started off their season by losing to a very good Missouri team, and then rattled off 5 wins in a row, including beating Penn State and Wisconsin, before dropping close games to Iowa and Michigan. They got back on the winning track last week with a W over Ball State, as they put up 324 yards rushing.

These guys can run. Rashard Mendenhall already has over 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns, and Juice Williams has rushed for over 400 yards from under center. They are averaging 240 yards on the ground/game.

Until the NDSU game I thought that the Gophers defense was pretty good against the run, but obviously NDSU and Michigan absolutely SHATTERED that thinking. But this is a game (and I know, BELIEVE ME I KNOW, there have been a lot of times that I've said these words this year) that the Gophers can win.

There are some intangibles that make this game pretty interesting. First of all, it's homecoming for the Gophers, so the students and the players will be fired up. The fans could be absolutely NUTS for this game for that reason, and the fact that it's a 7 p.m. kickoff.

In addition Coach Brewster is coaching against his alma-mater and the school that did not interview him for their coaching vacancy a few years ago. Brewster says that his personal feelings on this game do not come into play... but we know Coach Brewster is a passionate man, so don't be surprised if he's a little fired up for this onen.