Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hump Day!!

The only good thing about having to come back to work after a glorious long holiday weekend is that the week starts on a Tuesday, so here on our second work day back, it's already Hump Day! And of course we're one day closer to game day. Good work, short week!

Both dailies are cranking out Gopher coverage this week, and not surprisingly a ton of it is about the opening of the new stadium. While it should certainly be celebrated and covered, I'm ready to focus on the action on the field instead of the field itself, but if you can't get enough of the new stadium coverage, there's plenty of reading for you. In the Pioneer Press, Marcus Fuller has a blog post with comments from the new transfers. As Fuller says right off the top, Coach Brewster has a rule that new players can't talk to the media until they've played a game, so these are the first interviews we've seen with starters Matt Carufel and Kim Royston, as well as some reserve freshman QB named MarQueis Gray. No big surprise quotes here, although I do think it's interesting there was nothing from Gray.

He also notes Hayo! Carpenter was incorrectly credited for a tackle because he never got into the game. I would complain about a playmaker like Carpenter not getting a single offensive snap, but with Weber playing the way he did, it wouldn't have mattered anyway. You could have Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss flanking Eric Decker right now and it wouldn't matter a bit when Weber is a) only has eyes for Decker and b) if he ever does look at someone else, they're running a quick slant or short pattern.

Further down in the notes section is a real tidbit about injured starting LT Matt Stommes, who left the game Saturday with an ankle injury but did not return. Stommes is listed as the starter for the Air Force game, but did not practice yesterday, so we'll see if he gets out there today. Dom Alford did an admirable job in relief, but I'd rather have my starter in there if he's close to healthy. No word on the other big ankle injury, corner Marcus Sherels. Air Force isn't going to throw much at all, but I want Sherels out there as a veteran corner on the edge because he'll be much more likely to stick to his assignments, stay home, and not overrun the play. The ends, linebackers and corners on the edge play a HUGE part in containing the wishbone, and as a sure tackling corner, let's hope Sherels is starting Saturday night.

In the Strib, Jim Souhan poses the rhetorical question is it a good idea to not let Adam Weber run in the new offense? Somehow, Souhan watched Weber's AWFUL performance Saturday and deduced the problem with Weber wasn't him missing wide open receivers or showing a complete inability to throw to anyone other than his first read, it was that he was staying in the pocket too much and wasn't getting hit a lot. Really Jim? Maybe you should stick to talking about the Twins or Vikings. You're REALLY going to argue that it's a bad thing Weber is staying in the pocket and NOT getting the snot knocked out of him like he was last year? Weber ran last year because the Gophers had few other ways to move the ball. He took a beating all season, and all of his running and scrambling sure didn't help him or the offense much when the team was losing their last five games of the 2008 season. Weber's ineffectiveness last Saturday had nothing to do with him not being able to run. The Gophers ran the ball just fine with Duane Bennett. It was when he tried to do things a quarterback is supposed to do, like read defenses and complete passes, is where we got into trouble.

The Strib writer who actually knows the Gophers and college football, Kent Youngblood, has a blog post about prepping for Air Force, which also includes the Gopher weekly award winners.

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