Thursday, October 8, 2009

5 Reasons Purdue makes me nervous.

 Last night Jeffrick and I recorded our weekly podcast, and we both said in that podcast that we expect the Gophers to win their homecoming tilt with Purdue by 10 points.  The Gophers are favored by 3 1/2.  And while I was pretty confident in my prediction of this game, after I started looking at some of the Purdue stats earlier today, I'm not quite as confident.  Close, but not quite.

In the words of Pat McCurdy...
Here are the things that make me nervous
Here are the things that stick in my craw
Here are the things that make me nervous...

Please tell me if I'm wrong.

"Dee Snider... makes me nervous"...
1. Joey Elliott: Joey Elliott might be the same person as Joe Elliott, the lead singer of Def Leppard, and I made my case for it over at The Rivalry, Esq.  And Joe Elliott is no Dee Snider... or is Dee Snider no Joe Elliott?  In any case, it's the closest thing I could come up with in the song.

Adam Rittenberg had a post today checking in on the Big Ten QB's.  Elliott is averaging over 250 yards/game, and again, as I mentioned earlier today, part of this has been out of necessity because the Boilers have been playing from behind most of the season.  But, as Rittenberg pointed out, Elliott is leading the Big Ten in Passing Average, Total Passing Yards, Points Responsible For, and Total Offense.

The Gopher defense is good, and has the chance to be VERY good... slowing down Elliott would be a good step toward very.

"Magicians... make me nervous"...
2. Ralph Bolden: Okay, he's not quite magic, but he's good.  He is 2nd in the conference in rushing yards and yards/game (which I guess makes sense).  Bolden gets the ball just under 20 times/game.  The Gophers haven't been great at stopping the run this year (10th in the conference) and allowing Bolden to go off would be a real problem, and might keep our defense on the field more than we'd like.  Even though our defense is used to bailing out our offense, this isn't a good thing.

"Parades... make me nervous"...
3.  Homecoming: This is supposed to be an advantage for us, and in a lot of ways it is.  There is excitement, activities, alumni, etc.  But some of those things can also be a distraction... for players and fans.  I was told that at The Bank against Wisconsin, the fans trickled in after kickoff, and that some of the student section never filled.  With all of the activities of the homecoming week, and after coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Wisky, the students will again be prone to late arrival. 

Maybe the players don't care about this, but it could certainly affect the atmosphere.

 "The alphabet... makes me nervous"...
4. 10/17/2009 @ Penn State, 2:30 Central kick-off, National Television: This one's a reach... the alphabet?  The game is on ABC?  Get it?  Oh well.

In the words of Billy Joel, "you may be right, I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you're looking for."  Call me crazy, but is it possible that the Gophers could be looking past Purdue?  I'm not saying they are or aren't, but I am saying that they can't afford to.  Every single game this team plays for the rest of the season needs to be treated like the Rose Bowl.  We need every win we can get, and they will be hard to come by.

"Mimes... make me nervous"...
5.  O-Line: This should probably be #1.  In fact, I could write this post every single week, before every single game, and this could/should/would always be my biggest nervous factor.  Run blocking... it's a problem.  Pass protection... it's a problem.  Injuries... yeah, that's a problem now too.  Jeff Tow-Arnett is out for the season with a broken leg.  It hurts losing your center.  Jeff Wills has looked mediocre at best this year, despite very high expectations.  Matt Carufel, he of the Notre Dame pedigree, has also not been superb, and Chris Bunders has been penalty prone, perhaps costing the Gophers a touchdown from the 1 yard line last week against Wisconsin. 

I could go on-and-on about balance, and getting the run going, and protecting your quarterback, and keeping your defense off the field, and how all of these things revolve around the offensive line... but I will spare you and say what we've pretty much been saying for the last 13 months... it needs to get better.

... those are the things that make me nervous
those are the things that drive me cra-zy.
those are the things that make me nervous
I'm so nervous
I'm so nervous!

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