The best part about the Gophers season opening game against Syracuse on Saturday?
I was so pumped for Gopher football on Saturday I could barely sleep on Friday night. Jeffrick and I were both donning our Gopher gear (shorts and t-shirts, unplanned), the Molson Canadian was cracked and we were ready for some football!
I wish that level of excitement had stuck around, because as Jeff has so astutely pointed out, there wasn't much to cheer about for most of the game.
But like I said, it's over, and we win. But mostly, it's over, and thank goodness, because I do not think that I can hear one more word about Greg Paulus. HOLY CRAP! I mean, I get it, he hasn't played competitive football for 4 years, and he played college basketball under Coach K at Duke, and he really learned about preparation and pressure, and he really learned how to lead, and he's quite a young man, and he's quite impressive, and he really seems to have a command of what he's trying to do out there, and he sure is playing well, and he's really giving these fans something to cheer about, and he's just having a great time out there, and boy can he keep the play alive with his scrambling ability, and gosh, and oh golly, and gush, gush, gush.... PUUUUUKE!
Let's cut the crap here: the Gophers looked horrible, and the Orange (the team, not the fruit) was in this game ONLY because the Gophers couldn't get a lick of offense going for 3 quarters. The 14 points that the offense mustered in the first half had more to do with the defense and the special teams than it did with the offense.
Now, I will give Paulus his due: he looked pretty good considering the circumstances. I just got tired of hearing about it.
As for the Gophers,I was highly disappointed with Adam Weber for at least 3/4 of the game, and he should personally plan on buying a cold root beer for every member of the defense because the fact that the defense made the adjustments that it did and held the Orance (the team, not the fruit) scoreless in the second half is the only reason the Gophers even had a chance to win this game.
And let's not forget Eric Ellestad. Weber might want to go ahead and buy that young man a burger and some fries to go with that root beer because while everyone this morning seems to be talking about how Weber really put it together at the end of the game when it counted, I'm here to remind you that it was Eric Ellestad who saved this game for the Gophers.
The chatter over at The Daily Gopher during their live game thread had a lot to do with Weber. While some folks were highly disappointed with Weber early and often, and were calling to see some snaps to MarQueis Gray, some had more issue with the play calling and the offensive line. While both were certainly to blame, I still had more issue with Weber.
As a third year starter Adam Weber did very little (and I'd go with the word "nothing" for 3 quarters) to help the Gophers win this game. As a team the Gophers should be able to look to Weber for leadership and play-making when the going gets rough. Instead, Weber added to, and in a lot of ways, orchestrated the rough going. While many people are talking about how Weber fought back to help the Gophers move the chains at the end of the game, it seems that most people are failing to remember that Weber also happens to be a big part of the reason that the Gophers were in the position to need to come back in the first place.
Weber was most-egregiously inaccurate, but outside of that he also continued to force the ball, continued to not check down his reads and throw exclusively to his first option, and, in my opinion, looked like he was generally, if not lost, at least, confused.
There were clearly other things that did not go well during this game. The defense had some major lapses in the first half, the offensive line was still a big issue, and the play calling was less than creative. But there were some positives here as well.
First of all, this is the kind of game that past Gopher teams would have given up on, and lost. It was good to see the team not give up.
The defense made fantastic adjustments in the second half and gave up no points and only 38 yards the entire half.
Eric Decker was... well, Eric Decker. What else can you say?
All in all, the old adage holds true, a win is a win. We're happy to have the W, but we'll need to see a lot more from the Gophers if they expect to win any more games this season.