September 2011 Archives

Wolverine Wisdom

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Throughout the season I'll chat with a media member who covers the opponent each week and bring you that interview in a Q&A format here in the Golden Gopher Football Blog. This week, I talked to Kyle Meinke who covers the Michigan Wolverines for AnnArbor.com.

GopherSports.com: What's the buzz around the Michigan program right now? How good can the Wolverines be this year?

Kyle Meinke: The buzz has been substantial, which is about what you'd expect when a program that's had three disappointing seasons starts 4-0, despite a new coach and new schemes. Of course, all that positivity is tempered by this: Michigan started 4-0 two years ago and 5-0 last year before finishing a combined 2-12 against Big Ten teams.

That really is the best way to sum up the buzz around (and to an extent, in) the Michigan football program. They looked great the past two weeks (including a sharp win against a good San Diego State team last week), have shown significant improvement on defense - and yet, there's that feeling of "We've seen this before, we want to see it hold up" among players and fans. Three years of losing provides quite the reality check.


GopherSports.com: How has Brady Hoke changed things at Michigan? What's made him successful early in his first year there?

Kyle Meinke: There's been a lot of culture change. He's not too much of an X's and O's guy - in fact, he designates all offensive scheming to coordinator Al Borges, and most defensive scheming to coordinator Greg Mattison - but he's very hands-on when it comes to setting the tone and direction of this team. If you know Hoke, you know his favorite two words in this language are physicality and toughness, and there's a mindset that's been established by him.

Players also have talked consistently about how they understand so much better what's expected of them, and what they're doing. I've seen Hoke blow a whistle to stop a practice twice: Once to move a player's left foot about 3 inches, and the other time was to have a player rotate his thumb about 60 degrees. Players have responded to that teaching.

It sounds cliche, but remember: This group finished in the bottom 20 last year in nearly every major defensive category. To have this kind of confidence, this kind of resolve, is sort of astonishing. Put it this way: Last year, would Michigan have been able to come back from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit against Notre Dame, as they did this year? No way.


GopherSports.com: Who or what has Michigan's attention when it comes to Minnesota?

Kyle Meinke: MarQueis Gray. Minnesota fans know what he brings to the table - solid running, shaky passing - and Michigan is respecting that big-play potential. The Wolverines do feel as though they have a slight edge in preparing for him, because they go up against quarterback Denard Robinson every day in practice, but they know it wouldn't take long for Gray to bust a long run and swing the momentum in a game.

Michigan has been better defensively the past two weeks, especially against the run, so the team's confidence is high. But I'd say Gray has their attention and respect the most of any of the Gophers' personnel.


GopherSports.com: Everyone knows about Denard Robinson. Who are a couple Wolverines who have flown under the radar due to Shoelace's notoriety?

Kyle Meinke: Michigan's rushing attack actually is a triumverate, and neither of the other two guys get as much regional or national attention because they share carries with Robinson and each other. But, sophomore Fitz Toussaint likely will start there and junior Vincent Smith is a nice backup, but both will get a lot of carries. They also are a nice complement to each other, and Robinson, because Toussaint is more of a physical, downhill runner and Smith - all 5-foot-6, 172 pounds of him - is shifty. He can be tough to pick up sometimes.

Elsewhere, Junior Hemingway is a big-play receiver with a large body that serves him well on jump balls. Junior J.T. Floyd, in my opinion, has emerged as Michigan's top cornerback and it seems teams are starting to avoid him a little bit. Junior Jordan Kovacs isn't a star at safety, but it'd be tough to find a more complete football player in the country than him. He's an extremely sure tackler.

Someone who's really flown under the radar is left tackle Taylor Lewan. He's only a sophomore, but he's tenacious and nasty and flat-out talented. He'll be a first-rounder someday.

GopherSports.com: Has there been any talk of the Little Brown Jug in Ann Arbor this week?

Kyle Meinke: Yes, lots of it. Hoke emphasizes Michigan history to his players, so on Sunday he rolled out the Jug to show his players and give them a history lesson. It's been in the locker room all week. The players have talked repeatedly about the importance of this rivalry and that trophy.

Yet, I can say definitively this week does not feel like Michigan State week or Notre Dame week, and certainly not Ohio State week. I think Michigan knows it's on a different level right now than Minnesota. They're amped for the game because it's the Big Ten opener, but I would not say this, to them, is considered anything more than another Big Ten game that happens to have a neat history and trophy that go with it.


GopherSports.com: How does Minnesota win this game?

Kyle Meinke: It finds a way to slow Robinson enough in the running game to force him to pass. That is Michigan's greatest weakness right now, with the junior completing less than 50 percent of his passes (he had only eight completions last week) and struggling to make reads and progressions. He'll beat you terribly with his legs if you let him.

I think Minnesota can score some points, but it'll need to find a way to force Robinson to the air if it's going to have any shot at keeping pace.

GopherSports.com: How does Michigan win this game?

Kyle Meinke: If the Wolverines' defense plays as it did last week, Minnesota has no chance. That offense is going to score points - not as many as last year, but it still is prolific - but the great variable this year is an improving defense. If Michigan slows Gray, then it could win in a rout. If it struggles to do so, then things might become more interesting - although Robinson still is the most electrifying player in the Big Ten, and maybe the country.

Gophers Inner Circle: Coach Robinson Overseas #3

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 Day #3

We heads out at 0615 for a quick breakfast, pick up a meal to go then headed to the cars for a ride to the northern camp Bearing. I was about a 100 miles north of our current Camp/location and we made it in just under a 2 hour ride. We had our PSD (personal security detail) with us the entire way. The PSD consisted of another SUV with a driver and another person and they positioned their vehicle behind ours in case of any problems. The speed limit here is about 75 MPH but the PSD's usually travel a bit faster and the fines are waved our driver said should you get a ticket. Took videos of the country side but nothing really to photograph just a but a bunch of sand.

If you have ever traveled though the Nevada desert you would observe much the same features, sand, sand and more sand. I better retrace that statement better yet, travel though California near Death Valley it is flatter like here and with less vegetation. In fact no vegetation here.

When were we go to a different camp or base it is always started off with a meeting with the Camp Commander. The biggest message every commanders would like you to comment on is camp morale and finishing the job off right. Camp Bearing is located about 30 miles from the Iraq border so it is the go to place to run convoys into and out of Iraq.

We spoke to a couple of different groups that had different missions and as a result different issues. One unit from Oklahoma was supposing to Afghanistan with the sister units but were sliced off and sent here to help with convoying the equipment out of Iraq. The problem/issue is their sister units have received casualties in Afghanistan and are frustrated because all they can do is sit here. All they can do is listen to what is happening to people in the units they have rained with in Oklahoma and know personally. It is quite difficult to deal with when they can't do anything to help them.

They also have some survivor's guilt as they sit down here and cannot get in to the fight they have trained for. With the war ending many of the men that have been trained to project force in their MOS (military occupational specitily) are now doing job that they were not trained to do and they do not want to necessary do. This is part of the problem at  the end of any war is cleaning up all the parts that are left over. Their sister units from Oklahoma have lost 12 men and they are holding a memorial service for them tomorrow.

The other group's mission is running the protection for the convoys. There is a lot of Red Bull's in the unit and they drive M wraps. These are much armored vehicles that can take a direct hit by an IED and everyone can walk away from it. Their Sgt Major hit an IED just 2 days ago and everyone in this vehicle survived. They gave me a ride in one and put me in the gun turret that has a 50 cal machine gun. It cost $500,000 is top heavy (which means it can roll over easy) so they have devised a system to hold the gunner in place should the vehicle roll over. Not the most comfortable ride when you think the missions on the roads they are traveling  are anywhere from 8-18 hours

The CO of the Squadron was from Waterloo Iowa and we knew a lot of the same people. Stuart Carter who won a National title for Iowa State is his cousin and  he is really loved to talk wrestling and lived around  the corner from Dan Gable.

As in most places we put on a demonstration of Combatives and actually got some soldiers that have never tried it to try it. In the end it worked out well and I had 5 Combatives Instructor to help me.  I wrote a program for Combatives for the 2nd Ranger Battalion back in 1996 as a favor for Steve Banach (Eddie and Louie's Banat brother) and then a Sgt Larsen who worked for Steve Banch took the 28 page paper and implemented the changes in the Ranger Battalion. That program that has since morphed into the Army wide Combatives program making me so they say I am one of the founders. Everyone assume  I know all kind of stuff about MMA and hand to hand combat, and I know nothing. I try and help them with the basics of the program and I have to remind everyone that's I know very little. We work on thing like their stance, footwork, how to push and react and to maneuver into the best possible position.

Tomorrow we head out a 0515 to a Seabee Camp (Navy) then in the afternoon we swing over to another Army camp. It is going to be a long one so have to get some sleep. Hope all is going with everyone

 

Salty dog 6      out

 

Travel Blog: Battle for the Little Brown Jug

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This is what it's all about - Big Ten football season is finally here! The Gophers travel to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan to take on the No. 19 Wolverines in the first battle for the Little Brown Jug since 2008. The official Golden Gopher Football Blog here on GopherSports.com is going to be updating you every step of the way throughout the trip -- check back often for updates!

SATURDAY, 2:36 PM (ET)
MICHIGAN STADIUM
ANN ARBOR, MICH.

Go Gophers! Michigan Stadium
Go Gophers!
Field view at Michigan Stadium
Go Gophers!
Well, it has been a rough game for Jerry Kill's Golden Gophers -- they currently trail No. 19 Michigan 48-0 in the third quarter and have been unable to stop the Wolverine attack or mount much offense of their own.

That being said, it turned out to be a pretty nice day here in Ann Arbor -- the sun came out early in the game and the wind died down a bit as well. The Big House, as we said before, is really quite impressive -- and 111,106 fans came out to watch today's game, the third-largest in stadium history.

So even though it appears the end result won't turn out the way we hoped, Coach Kill and his staff will hopefully head back to Minnesota with some thoughts on how to turn this into a teachable moment for a young Gophers squad. With the Wolverines in the Legends division of the Big Ten along with Minnesota, the Gophers will have a chance every year to take back the Little Brown Jug. Next  year!

SATURDAY, 11:35 AM (ET)
MICHIGAN STADIUM
ANN ARBOR, MICH.



It was a closely-guarded secret for much of the week as to who would start at quarterback for the Gophers -- no use in giving your opponent more time to game plan, after all. Junior MarQueis Gray, suffering from turf toe, had been limited throughout the week but still dressed and warmed up for today's game.

A few minutes before kickoff though, it became apparent that Gray was not going to be able to play -- radio reports confirmed that freshman Max Shortell was indeed going to start his first career collegiate game. The Kansas native was calm and collected in pregame warmups... We caught a quick video snippet of him warming up for the game above.

SATURDAY, 10:05 AM (ET)
MICHIGAN STADIUM
ANN ARBOR, MICH.
Go Gophers! Olson brothers
Go Gophers!
Jimmy Gjere and Ed Olson get their first look at Michigan Stadium, aka "The Big House"
Go Gophers!
After an early morning breakfast, we have made it to Michigan Stadium, affectionately known as The Big House. Several members of the team snuck out of the locker room to take in the sight of college football's largest stadium -- even empty, it is quite a spectacle.

The Big House got even bigger before last season -- the university added 83 suites and over 3,000 club seats in 2010, and before this year two brand new video boards and lights were also installed. The finished $226 million renovation is awfully impressive -- and we have yet to see it with a single fan in the stands.

But no matter what the ambiance of the venue, the Gophers are focused and ready for the task at hand -- the Little Brown Jug is at stake, after all. We're hoping to catch a glimpse of this elusive prize in our next update -- stay tuned!

FRIDAY, 5:32 PM (ET)
TEAM HOTEL
YPSILANTI, MICHIGAN


After a short flight and quick drive from the Detroit airport, the Gophers have settled in to their Ypsilanti hotel before tomorrow's noon (ET) game with the Wolverines.

One topic that fans always ask about when it comes to football players is the food -- what do they feed these guys that makes them get so big? In short: A lot! We popped in on the Gophers team meal tonight to see what was on the menu, and the spread was impressive: Sliced beef, baked chicken, potatoes (hash browns and baked), bread, salads, fruit, green beans, carrots and more -- healthy but filling fare.

Watch the short video above to get a look at the buffet -- and be sure to check the blog tomorrow morning as we report from the newly-renovated Big House as the battle for the Little Brown Jug begins!


Daily Clips - Sept. 30

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Budish Media.jpgYesterday was Media Day at Mariucci Arena and coach Don Lucia did a lot of talking (full comments here and a shortened version here)

Coach also did a Q&A (Pioneer Press)

The fabulous @Cmillstrib wrote some words about yesterday (Star Tribune)

A healthy Zach Budish should be a boon for the Gophers (1500 ESPN)
 
Underclassmen success is vital to Minnesota's success this year (FOX Sports North)

Speaking of underclassmen, they will have Lucia's ear this year (Examiner.com)

The Gophers practiced after Media Day was over and GPL has video (Gopher Puck Live)

They also have a quick breakdown of Lucia'a comments yesterday (Gopher Puck Live)

Have you seen out Flickr page? A lot of great shots on here (Flickr)

Paul Martin should be half of the top D pair in Pittsburgh (The Sports Network)

Kyle Okposo is part of a young core on the Island (The Sports Network)

Look for Alex Goligoski to become a fan favorite in Dallas (FOX Sports Southwest)

He certainly will be if he keeps having four-point nights (ESPN)

Aaron Ness still up and in the lineup tonight (Newsday)

Phil Kessel is "Toronto's best player" (The Sports Network)

David Fischer is a familiar face for the Florida Everblades (Naples News)

Gophers Hold Media Day

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The Twin Cities media assembled in the club room of Mariucci Arena for the team's annual media day. Head coach Don Lucia held court for about 30 minutes and answered a wide-ranging amount of questions. Senior captain Taylor Matson, senior goaltender Kent Patterson, redshirt-sophomore Zach Budish and sophomore Nick Bjugstad also addressed the local media. 
 
Head Coach J Robinson is currently overseas in Kuwait spending time with US Troops. Please read J's entry and check back for more updates!

Salty Dog here
 
Well they were not kidding when they said they would keep me busy, Just got back at 10 and Chaplin Winn said we talked to over 300 people today. We started out at 0630 with breakfast. Boy do they eat a lot here, they never miss an opportunity to eat.
 
First up on the list was a Combatives seminar with about 15 Combatives instructor with a question and answer session then we did a little Combatives sparing on the feet helping the instructors be more aware of how important the pressure of moving forward and the placement of your feet. The Army is really trying to make Combatives a main stay  with their units but as in all program in the Army it takes the involvement of the commander to validate the program. If the Commander get on board and endorses a program it well go forward so it is important to get the support structure behind any thing you hope to accomplished here.
 
Meet with the Commanding Officer of the base right after breakfast and we had a great visit about Ranger School and the impact that it had on both of us. Many stories were thrown back and forth and we both validated the influence that it continues to have in our lives. The CO gave me a briefing of all the camps that we well be visiting and their location in Kuwait. It helped orientate me to our current location, realizing that Kuwait is about the size of New Jersey.
 
The MWR (moral welfare recreation) officer Ed  has been here so he shares info about the Kuwait's as a nation. About 3 1/2 million people live here but ruffly one and a half million are Kuwait citizen. The other 2 million are brought in as worker in all areas of the economy. The citizens of Kuwait do not work. They are given a stipend by the government and they hire out all their work, maids, servants, construction workers etc. I belief he said they get around 70,000 a year. They pay the maids about 210 a month so that gives you an idea how far their stipend will do. The locals  rioted during the Arab summer to the Emmer/King who gave them all a couple of thousand more on their stipend so Ed said everything now is OK.
 
Kuwait City is built up around the port but once you get a ways inland there is nothing but sand. It is about 115 today and its like being in a large sauna so I think it is great. When the Red Bulls got here in July some of them said it was 128. I noticed the heat when I stepped off the plane. Not the muggy sticky heat with moisture like Vietnam but more of like a blast furnace. It some ways it is crazy as you are in air conditioned building parts of the day then you step into the furnace.
 
We had lunch with the CO (commanding officer) of the Brigade that is here from Minnesota and the Sergeant Major. The SM was a wrestling coach in Grand Rapids and coached Jeremy Gaddens a wrestler that came to the University and later transfer to N Illinois with Dave Grant and became a 2 x all American. After lunch we spoke to the support Battalion that takes care of all the logistics on the base. A very necessary but thankless job and I told them that without  what they do this would not be a very nice place. The Sgt Major of the unit came up afterward and said the talk really helped one of his young soldiers who had just re uped to stay in Kuwait for another year. They are setting him for individual support so he can work on some college credits while he is here'
 
We are doing an all day work shop (8 hours) on Sat that deals with developing your own philosophy and goal setting. It seems from talking to some of the senior leadership the soldiers need some direction on what they need to be thinking about what to do once they get back to the states so they have a plan. Service men and women have on unemployment rate of around 23 % so the command is trying to integrate them to think about developing  their plan before they get back to the states
 
1800 (6 PM) dinner again I'm going to be 200 when I get back. We began the evening session talking  to a transportation company that runs convoys into Iraq to bring equipment out. A dangerous job as they go way inside Iraq, sometimes 12-1500 miles load up the equipment then head home. They can't go over 45 mph so its a long trip and always the danger of IED's (improvised explosive devices) so their bodies are on alert the entire way dumping adrenalin in the body. It takes time to come back to normal upon their return. They have about 21 days left before they pack up and head home. A stressful job as your (wired) up when out on the road then you come back into Kuwait and your almost back to normal, This cycle has continued the entire time they have been  here alternating between stress and stand down, stress (on the road) they stand down it takes a toll on the individuals.
 
We finished up speaking to a group of soldiers that were work on their financial skills trying to get their financial situation under control by learning some money skills. They were fun to interact with as they had already made the decision they want to development some financial skill to help them change their  life. The chaplains do a great job working with the many parts of the command that are here. It is inspiring to witness the impact and interaction they have with the soldiers.
 
Soldiers buddy up with each to watch out for each others welfare.... they call the person they are interacting with their battle buddy
 
It is amazing to see the chaplain's here and all the good they do with the troops on an individual as will as a unit basis. One of the Chaplain's bought a waffle machine and makes home made waffles for 800 troops every Sat morning. We are going there then and the troops tell him that the reason they make it here is the family feeling of those waffles. One said I just make it  from Sat to Sat looking forward to those waffles. Some on the troops e mail him with their order and time. 0800 regular waffles with blueberries. The most challenging thing is to find the eggs for the batter. The mess hall wont give him the eggs because they are contracted so he digs them up any way he can.......go figure.
 
I'm in the officer quarter but asked to be moved to where the troops are tomorrow. We are going off base so it is up and on the go at 0600. I know that the last day we are going to the naval base to ride on some boats so looking forward to that.
 
Have meet a lot of great young soldiers that make you proud of what they are doing for us. I tell then a line from Jack Nickleson and I change it a bit to get the point across for what they are doing for us.  " We sleep under the blanket of the security you provide and it allows all of us in the US to live a great life, from those in the US thank you
 
Salty Dog 6  out
 

Daily Clips - Sept. 29

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Hey, look, we are on TV - a lot (The Frozen M)

FOX Sports North was out at Mariucci yesterday and we have some video (YouTube and above) and pictures from the day (The Frozen M)

Alex Goligoski has 105 points in his first 200 NHL games (The Sports Network)

Blake Wheeler with a goal (Winnipeg Free Press)

Erik Johnson will need to be a piece of Colorado's puzzle for success (Bellingham Herald)

Jeff Taffe expected to join the Houston Aeros soon (Houston Chronicle)

Thomas Vanek is Buffalo's most dynamic offensive weapon (The Sports Network)

Could Nick Leddy be a power-play QB in the Windy City? (WUSA9.com and Second City Hockey)

Back to Work for Coach Kill

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Head football coach Jerry Kill left Rochester, Minn. - home of the Mayo Clinic - at 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. By 1 p.m., he was leading a staff meeting at the Gibson-Nagurski Complex. A few hours later, he was leading a Gopher football practice.

About two hours after starting that practice, the head coach talked with the assembled media for nearly 30 minutes. Kill, who said he is tired of talking about his health, said he wanted to address the situation and then turn the focus to Michigan.

"I have a complicated issue," Kill said of the disorder that has caused him to suffer seizures. "It's not something I'm going to die from, but it's complicated right now. The rest of it, I've talked enough about it. They haven't got it all figured out yet, but hopefully they'll make progress on it and we'll be fine."

Kill told his team after practice that the only way he won't be with them is if he is physically unable to be. He also told them he plans to be coaching at the University of Minnesota long after they've graduated.

"If I'm not here, it's because I'm not able to," Kill said. "But they hired me to turn this program around and I have to be here to do that. I'm not in a position where I can take two weeks off."

Kill said he has every intention of coaching his team when the Gophers play 19th-ranked Michigan at 11 a.m. CT Saturday in Ann Arbor. 

Behind-the-Scenes: Fox Sports North video

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The team filmed their individual intro videos for Fox Sports Net North today at Mariucci, complete with fog and some b-roll footage of them getting ready to go out on the ice. Check out some of these behind-the-scenes photos!

2011-12 TV Schedule Announced

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2011-12 TV Broadcast Schedule (click on individual game for TV information)

The Minnesota men's hockey team will have 32 of its 37 regular-season games televised during the 2011-12 season. FOX Sports North announced today that the network will broadcast 28 games this season, all of which will be in high definition. All 28 games will be shown live.

The Big Ten Network will air four games this season.

FOX Sports North will broadcast 15 games from Mariucci Arena and 13 road games. Gophers Live presented by Century Link on FOX Sports North will air before and after every game and as part of the network's family of comprehensive and personalized pre and postgame shows.

FOX Sports North will also bring numerous interactive online elements to the viewing audience. Fans will be able to view and share instant video highlights from games via FOXsportsnorth.com, Facebook and Twitter. Select games will also feature "Director's Cut," a second screen experience where the viewer is in control of the broadcast. A live view of eight camera angles, fans have the choice of watching any one of four cameras and four tape machines from the broadcast truck while listening to the producer and director during the game. 

Anthony LaPanta will call the action and his analyst will be Kevin Gorg this season. Former Minnesota player and coach Doug Woog will provide analysis as part of Gophers Live presented by Century Link pre and postgame shows along with hosts Marney Gellner, Robby Incmikoski and Mike Pomeranz.

The Big Ten Network will air games against North Dakota (Nov. 5), at Wisconsin (Nov. 12) against Notre Dame (Jan. 7) and versus St. Cloud State (Jan. 27) this season.

The five games that will not be shown on television this season include the team's home game against Sacred Heart on Oct. 8 and both home games of the Mariucci Classic on Dec. 30 and 31. The two road games at Alaska Anchorage on Oct. 28-29 will also not be televised.

Daily Clips - Sept. 28

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Gophers picked to finish sixth according to coaches, media (Star Tribune)

Radio broadcast schedule announced for 2011-12 (The Frozen M)

Nick Leddy is a lock to make Chicago's roster (Chicago Tribune) and (Daily Herald)

Ryan Potulny skated at Hershey's AHL camp (Patriot News)


Get to Know Your Gophers: Brock Vereen

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Gopher cornerback Brock Vereen discusses Twitter (follow him at @BrockVereen21), his SoCal roots and his NFL rookie brother (Shane Vereen, New England Patriots running back) with Gopher Radio Network sideline analyst and KFAN personality Justin Gaard in "Get to Know Your Gophers."

Justin Gaard: Doing a little research on you Brock, I think everybody knows you're a southern California kid. You're from the great state of California. How did you end up in Minnesota? Had you not heard about our winters?

Brock Vereen: I'd definitely heard about it. I have family in the midwest. I have an uncle here and being close to them was really important to me.

Gaard: Okay, so you like to be close to your fans and close to other kids you go to school with, your teammates, because you are very active on Twitter. What's your Twitter handle for those of us who don't know on gophersports.com and what's the kind of stuff they can learn about you on Twitter?

Vereen: @BrockVereen21, make sure you follow it! It's just a way to release. Sometimes in football you get caught up with film, meetings, practice, lifting and all that and it's just a good way to release your energy, have a little fun with my teammates. I like to keep it fun, I don't like to get too serious. It's a lot of fun, it's a way to just vent.

Gaard: Sometimes you have to vent because as a defensive-back, not easy being a defensive-back in college football these days. Let's start with Robert Woods, that first game against USC. You've had some pretty good receivers this season.

Vereen: Absolutely, but why not play against the best? It's a great opportunity and at the end of the day, you're only getting better.

GWH Blog: Coverage of yesterday's media day

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Here are links to some local media coverage of yesterday's media day with Gopher women's hockey:

Pioneer Press: Questions with Bob Sansevere

Star Tribune: U Women's Hockey Team Upbeat As Season Begins

Hockey Examiner: Media Day Answers Some Questions and Asks Some Too

And don't forget our own video coverage of media day from Gopher All Access

Gophers Inner Circle: Coach J Robinson Reports from Kuwait

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Head Coach J Robinson is currently overseas in Kuwait spending time with US Troops. Please read J's entry and check back for more updates!


SD6 # 1    Thoughts from Kuwait
Don't know what to call this communication an update, newsletter , blog (not a big fan) or situation report (sit rep)
Well take a vote....... so send me your choice for one of the above  4 suggestions

But were ever we go with it  .......

Salty Dog is on the ground in Kuwait. I accepted an invitation from Gen Nash (he Commands the 34th Infantry Division in MN) and Chaplin Morris to go to the Middle East theater again and spent some time with our MN troops. As they say in the service, my boots are now on the ground in Kuwait and I well be here for the next 7 days going from unit to unit. 

The last time I was in theater I started writing a few thoughts back every day on what I saw and some of the thoughts that goes though one head before, during and after their experience. I will attempt to do the same this time around. I take no stand on any position as it is not the same as I am not being deployed as the men and women are here for months at a time but the thought process that one goes through when coming to a place like this is interesting. I like the word interesting but Sue has said I need another word so if you have suggestions for another word for me to use please send them. I hope to give you some limited insight; a little humor, some facts and some thoughts on what is going on in a totally different environment than the majority of us live. I'm not a journalist so make sure you cut me some slack

Chaplin Morris who brought me to Iraq last time is not here but has put me in the capable hands of Chaplin Buddy Winn who is high energy with the specific instruction from Chaplin Morris to fill up my day. Chaplin Winn well be what they call here, my handler so he is tasked to take care of me and get me around and keep me out of trouble. It is easy to relate to this relationship of having a handler as my wonderful wife Sue has the same handler responsibilities back in the states so I am use to taking orders.

 They sent me an itinerary and it has me going from 0700 (that's 7 o clock in the morning for us civilians) to about 2200 (10 PM) everyday. Things on the schedule will include some combatives training, individual sessions with the non commission's officers (Sergeants etc), a workshop on goal setting for the troops, prayer breakfasts, leadership development and just some hanging out and talking with the troops. Chaplin Winn told me when I got off the plane that I am scheduled to speak at church on Sunday. If there is a big explosion in the Middle East on Sunday you will know it has nothing to do with the war.

One of the things that is difficult for the soldiers here is that they are drawing down in Iraq meaning they are bring all their equipment back to Kuwait. What this means is there is a lot of convoy duty into Iraq which is dangerous once they cross the border into Iraq. It is relatively safe once back in Kuwait so they have to have their game face on once they cross the border. The other problem they deal with here is the one faced by every army in history which is the boredom of day after day of doing the same thing. Most the days are the same so it is import for the commanders to come up with things for the soldiers to do to keep the moral up. Most of soldiers are trained to project force not sit around, so sitting around in a garrison can lead to moral problems if they are not kept busy. So it becomes a necessity to keep them busy and occupied with constructive things to do training and recreation wise.

When first asked to go overseas again it was yep, sounds like as good idea. Nine months ago it was just a thought and I did not think much about it because it did not actually require me to do anything. The interesting part is how your thought process changes the closer you get to leaving or deploying. You laughingly ask yourself "What the hell am I doing" comes to mind plus a hundred other different things that go through your mind. You don't dwell on the different scenarios that come up in your mind they just seem to pop in and out. Where will I be, how will I get around, what is the threat level both in Kuwait and each base, what do they want me to do, why me, just to name a few. I am sure these are many of the questions soldiers and those that cover wars have had for thousands of years, It is a different experience to actually experience those thoughts and  to be able to feel your reaction to them. Not good or bad just different.

I flew to Washington DC then caught a United flight to Kuwait city. I have to stop using that word "interesting". In watching the passengers get on the plane you can't help as to label them as to their appearance only to find out they are something completely different from your preconceived notion. The gentlemen next to me was older (can't believe I said that.... he's not my age, I asked him and he is 70 so he qualifies as old) quiet and kept to himself as he sat down a seat away. When selecting my seat I had asked the computer for and found a row that had empty seats.  I ask this fellow if he would turn the air knobs down and we began a dialog that flourished. Instead of the contractor I thought him to be, he was he was a doctor (general surgeon) who is going to Baghdad for a year. Come to find out he is also a Vietnam vet and a graduate of the University of Minnesota. I asked him why he at his age he would want to go to Iraq and he said rather humbly because "I can make a difference".  I slept better on the flight knowing if something happen I was the first one going to get immediate medical care.

The flight was 12 hours long enough time to read, sleep and actually get a little work done. When I arrived in Kuwait City I was meet at the plane and helped through customs and we drove to the base. There is a security detail that will go with us every time we leave the base as we are going to visit a different location every day. 

Chaplin Winn had a session scheduled with some troops from a Signal Battalion that provides all the communication in this AO (area of operation) 2 hours after I got here. Chaplin Morris who  brought me here last year gave Chaplin Winn specific instructions to keep me busy and from the sound of things it is going to happen.. We are going to have some fun with my limited use of my old Army terminology as in sit rep, AO, COB (figure that one out) etc. We talked with the signal soldiers for about an hour and you can really see the appreciation on their faces when you tell them you came all this way to just say thank you plus there are a lot of people back home that believe in what they are doing. I think they hear it a lot better when some one from the world (USA) is actually telling them. It seems to hit home with more force and penetrates deeper.

So I am heading for the rack, bed what ever you want to call it. A full day tomorrow. A Sit rep will follow (don't you just love all this army talk)

 

Salty Dog 6

 

out

Preparing for Michigan

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Go Gophers! Donnell Kirkwood
Go Gophers!
In Coach Kill's absence Tuesday, coordinators Tracy Claeys and Matt Limegrover addressed the media.
Go Gophers!

Read the entire press conference transcript by clicking here

Watch the entire press conference in Gopher All Access

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys and offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover met with the Twin Cities media Tuesday afternoon, pinch-hitting for head coach Jerry Kill. Claeys and Limegrover fielded a few questions about Coach Kill, a number of questions about the Gophers' quarterback situation and a few other topics.

Then, the media finally got around to asking about 4-0, 19th-ranked Michigan, playing at Michigan Stadium (aka The Big House) and stopping Wolverine quarterback Denard Robinson, who leads the nation in rushing.

So, what do you do to stop Robinson, Coach Claeys?

"It's tough," Claeys said in one of the understatements of the season. "The thing of it is, it's easy you just put two guys on him. Well, then you've got to deal with the running back and some of the passing game. You know, if anybody's watched film, he's made several people miss with one person on him. So the key will be if we do miss him is that we force him back to where we have help. If he makes three or four of them miss like everybody else, then that's why he's a special player the way he is."

As if Michigan wasn't tough enough to stop already, the Wolverines unveiled a speed option game that further takes advantage of Robinson's speed and elusiveness last week.

"They've done a nice job of adjusting as the season's went on," Claeys said. "They're packaged to what he does well."

How about playing in the Big House in front of more than 100,000 fans? Coach Limegrover handled that question.

"I'm 1-0 there as a coach," Limegrover quipped, referring a 1995 game when he was a graduate assistant at Northwestern and the Wildcats picked up a victory in Ann Arbor.

Coach Kill Update
While there isn't much news to pass along regarding Coach Kill's health. Coach Claeys did mention Tuesday that he has been in touch with Coach's wife, Rebecca, and the reports are positive.

2011-12 Radio Broadcast Schedule Announced

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2011-12 Men's Hockey Schedule (click on individual game for radio information)

University of Minnesota Athletics and its multimedia rights holder, Gopher Sports Properties, today announced its men's hockey radio broadcast schedule for the 2011-12 regular season.

All 37 regular-season games will be heard on the Gopher Radio Network, with at least 33 games broadcast on new flagship 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. In addition, every game will be able to be heard for free on gophersports.com. Fans will also be able to listen to games on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities via the station's mobile application.  

Three games, because of a conflict with Gopher men's basketball, will be broadcast on Praise FM-95.3. Those games are Nov. 11 at Wisconsin, Jan. 28 at St. Cloud and Feb. 18 against Bemidji State. A broadcast station for the Feb. 25 game at Nebraska Omaha will be heard on either 1500 ESPN Twin Cities or Praise FM-95.3 depending on when the date of the men's basketball game against Indiana is.

The radio broadcast booth this year will feature Frank Mazzocco and Wally Shaver. Mazzocco will serve as an analyst, while Shaver will handle the play-by-play duties. Mazzocco and Shaver will call every game during the 2011-12 season on and on the Gopher Radio Network. Former Gopher Pat Micheletti will also join the broadcast team for a select number of games this season and will give fans a unique perspective reporting from ice level.

Gopher Sports Properties is a property of Learfield Sports, which manages rights for more than 50 collegiate institutions, associations and conferences including seven Big Ten Conference member institutions - Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. Aside from the campus-level rights relationships Learfield Sports has with these schools, the company also manages the Big Ten Conference's sponsorship rights and develops its corporate partnerships. The company also titles the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup in conjunction with NADA and USA Today. For more, visit learfieldsports.com.

Daily Clips - Sept. 27

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Alex Kangas is trying out for Pittsburgh's AHL team (CitizensVoice.com)

Jordan Schroeder turning some heads at Vancouver's camp (The Province)

Gophers check in at No. 19 in USCHO poll (USCHO.com)

Keith Ballard: "I feel good and confident." (The Gazette)

Do Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau represent a new drafting philosophy in Florida? (Hockey Independent)

Is Kyle Okposo the best overall player on the Islanders? One writer things so. (The Hockey Writers)

Ryan Stoa sent down (Denver Post)

Make sure you keep Gopher Dom Barber updated on the season this year (@34DomBarber)

Stu Bickel stands up for a teammate (@JakeFord17)

20 Questions with Andrew Larsen

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Gophersports.com: Use five words to describe yourself.
Andrew Larsen:  Weird, quirky, sleepy, dopey, and funky


GS: Describe your perfect day - who would you spend it with, what would you do, where would you be?
AL:  I don't know about my perfect day but one of my favorite days this year has been going for a run, grabbing some Chipotle, and sitting on the couch with the apartment 5 guys watching Heroes

 

GS:  What is your pre-race routine?
AL:  I usually have a bowl of oatmeal and just try and relax.  I don't have many superstitions.


GS: Other than the Gophers, what is your favorite sports team? (College or Pro)
AL:  The Minnesota Vikings


GS: What do you miss the most about being at home?
AL:  Definitely the thing I miss most is my mom's cooking, particularly pepperoni bread


GS:  Who was the most famous person you have ever met?
AL:  Candice Parker, she ref'd one of my grade school basketball games


GS:  If your life was to be turned into a movie, what genre would it be; what would the title be; what actor would you have star in it?
AL:  I don't know about a movie but Steve Sulkin and I plan on making a TV show called "Sittin' Supes Close With Steve and Lars."  It's a TV show about quoting other shows.


GS:  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
AL:  Probably Japan, I've always wanted to go there


GS:  What was the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
AL:  I have a few from the past couple years of College but I doubt they would be appropriate. 


GS:  What is the best advice you have received? Who was it from?
AL:  One of the best pieces of advice I've been given was from a high school training partner of mine, Charlie Kern.  When I was a sophomore in High School he asked me a simple question "How good do you want to be?" It wasn't really advice, but I think about that almost every day before I go for a run.


GS:  What are you listening to on your iPod right now?
AL:  Gordon Lightfoot, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald


GS:  If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?
AL:  Forwards, because than I wouldn't need roads.


GS:  Where is your favorite place at the University of Minnesota?
AL:  The walking bridge overlooking downtown and the 35W bridge at night, when it's lit up.


GS:  What is your major? Why did you choose this major?
AL:  Computer Science, I enjoy working with computers.

 

GS:  What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?
AL:  If I'm late for class or not


GS:  Do you have any siblings? How many?
AL:  Yes, I have a younger brother Alec.  He's 16.

 

GS:  What is your favorite class or professor so far at Minnesota, and why?
AL:  My favorite class has been Sports in a Diverse Society


GS:  If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
AL:  Pizza definitely


GS:  Who was your role-model as a child? Why? Has your role model changed now that you are older?
AL:  My role model growing up was Chris Carter but my role model now is my Dad.  The older I get the more I can appreciate how hard he works everyday to support our family.

GS:  How has being a student and athlete at Minnesota influenced your life?

AL:
 Having the opportunity to not only attend Minnesota as a student, but also to represent the Gophers on the cross country course has been a great blessing.  I am extremely thankful for the opportunity that Coach Plaz has given me.  This has led to my desire to get everything I can out of myself, both in running and in school, so that I do not waste what I have been given.

Q/A With Senior All-American Stephanie Price

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Gophersports.com: If you could be on any reality show, which would it be?

SP: I would love to be on The Amazing Race.

GS: What's the most notable thing about your hometown?

SP: I am originally from a really small Minnesotan town with a population of around 600 people. I am one of 8 children and when my family moved from this town when I was in middle school, my friends at school joked that the town had to change the population sign when we moved away.

GS: What song do you love to listen to, but are embarrassed to admit?

SP: I love Disney songs, especially anything from Beauty and the Beast!

GS: Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions?

SP: Nothing too crazy, I just like to be a creature of habit before races. I usually try to eat similar foods around the same times before races, wear the same socks, and listen to the same pump up songs on my way to the meet.

GS: What is your most embarrassing moment on the track?

SP: My most embarrassing moment was probably when I peed my pants during my leg of the 4xmile at the Drake Relays last year. I am not used to such a speedy race!

GS: What was the coolest thing about your bedroom growing up?

SP: My bedroom had the laundry chute down into our laundry room in the basement so we would always throw things up and down it, or we would secretly listen to anything going on in the basement.

GS: Describe your perfect day - who would you spend it with, what would you do, where you go?

SP: My perfect day would be spent with my family. Like I mentioned above, I am one of 8 children and it is the rare occasion that we are all together at once any more. I also love holidays, so my perfect day would be spent with my family on Christmas Eve, snuggled up in blankets in from of a fire, drinking warm drinks, and playing board games or cards.

GS: Where is your favorite place at the University of Minnesota?

SP: For relaxing, my favorite spot is the mall area in the spring or fall. For studying, my favorite spot is the Biomedical Library.

GS: Do you have any nicknames?

SP: My family and friends just shorten my name to Steph. But, when I was in elementary school and lost my front teeth, my dad called me "Spacer" because I had such a big gap!

GS: What is your cell phone ring?

SP: It used to be an Eric Church song, but now it is just a standard ring tone.

GS: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want to have with you?

SP: an endless supply of coffee, my Bible and journal, and a huge blanket

GS: Where do you want to be in 10 years?

SP: I want to be content and successful in whatever path I am led down. I would like to say that I would be married, maybe have a few children, have a nice house, etc. etc. but I have realized that you can't plan for anything like that in life. The future is full of unexpected opportunities and if we solely focus on our "plan" we miss out on great opportunities!

GS: What does being part of the Golden Gopher family mean to you?

SP: Being part of the Golden Gopher family means having an endless supply of sisters and a support system unlike anything else. It means always having someone to turn to, always having a friend to hang out with, always having someone backing you up, and always having someone looking out for you and keeping you on the right track.

GS: When you were little, who was your favorite cartoon character?

SP: My sister and I loved to watch Bananas in Pajamas. We even had two matching jump suits that we wrote B1 and B2 on in marker so we could play dress up as the characters.

GS: If you had your own energy drink, what would it be called?

SP: Orange Pedialyte (even though that is technically a drink already) because that is what I drink before races!

GS: If you could trade places with Coach Wilson for a day, what would you do?

SP: I would take my motorcycle out for the day and explore all the beautiful fall scenery of Minnesota.

GS: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

SP: I would travel to India or Africa for medical service work.

GS: What is your favorite sport outside of cross-country or track and field? 

SP: Basketball

GS: What is one talent or skill you have outside of running? 

SP: I am a pretty good cook.. or so I like to think!

Gophers In the Pros - Week Three

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Cornerback Marcus Sherels helped the Minnesota Vikings get off to another fast start in week three of the NFL season in an NFC North Division game against the Detroit Lions. Sherels' 53-yard punt return set up quarterback Donovan McNabb with an 8-yard touchdown pass to position the Vikings with 20-0 lead at halftime.

Unfortunately, Minnesota coughed up a lead for the third week in a row as Matthew Stafford led the Lions back to a 26-23 overtime win. Sherels also recorded 2 solo tackles in the loss.

CFL wide receiver Arland Bruce had a notable game Saturday with the B.C. Lions. Bruce recorded two catches for 116 yards and one touchdown. He had the game's most explosive play, a 100-yard touchdown catch, which is the longest touchdown catch of his career. His score gave the Lions a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter.

"They're putting me in position to make great plays," Bruce reported to the Vancouver Sun. "And I'm taking full advantage of it."

Bruce's contributions helped lead the Lions to their fifth straight win, a 42-5 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Here's a look at the performance of other Gophers in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League:

  • Eric Decker, wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, recorded seven receptions for 48 yards in the Broncos' 17-14 loss to Tennessee.
  • Safety Dominique Barber of the Houston Texans was active but did not record any statistics as the Saints rallied to beat the Texans 40-33.
  • Matt Spaeth, tight end with the Chicago Bears, was active but did not record any statistics as the Bears lost to the division rival and defending Super bowl champion Packers by a score of 27-17.
  • Running back Marion Barber, also with the Chicago Bears, remained inactive with a calf injury.
  • Logan Payne, wide receiver for the New York Jets, is still recovering from wrist surgery in early September. The Jets suffered their first loss of the season, a 34-24 win by the Oakland Raiders.
  • In addition to those who were on active rosters, three former Gopher players spent week three of the NFL season on the practice squad for their respective teams. Offensive lineman Dominic Alford is on the practice team for the Cleveland Browns, cornerback Traye Simmons is with the San Diego Chargers, and last year's quarterback Adam Weber practices with the Denver Broncos.
  • Ernie Wheelwright, CFL wide receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, remains on the nine-game injured list with a knee injury.

Women's Gymnastics Begins Official Practices

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The University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team began official practice this past Friday. Here is a glimpse of what the team accomplished through volunteer practices over the summer. Head coach Meg Stephenson and staff are excited to build off of the growth and improvement that the team gained, as well as, working with three freshman to the 2011 squad.

 

Daily Clips - Sept. 26

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Stu Bickel is one of 10 D who the Rangers are taking to Europe (New York Post)

Ryan Stoa with a PPG (13wmaz.com)

Keith Ballard looking good and so are his hipchecks (Vancouver Sun)

Wild put Jeff Taffe on waivers, meaning he could be headed to Houston (ESPN 1500)

St. Louis sends Jay Barriball and Cade Fairchild to Peoria (Peoria Journal Star)

Ryan Potulny was placed on waivers by Washington with the intent of sending him to Chocolatetown (Patriot News) and he could be on the ice today (Lebanon Daily News)

VIDEO: Maybe you saw this in July, maybe you didn't. Gopher frosh Travis Boyd interview from Washington's summer development camp (CSNWashington.com)


Daily Clips - Sept. 25

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Jeff Frazee was not one of 14 players assigned to Albany by the Devils, but Mike Hoeffel was (NorthJersey.com)

Ryan Flynn heads to Milwaukee (The Tennessean)

Ryan Potulny sent to Hershey (@VogsCaps)

Stu Bickel headed to Europe....as a member of the NY Rangers? (NY Daily News)

Todd Richards didn't come back to St. Paul because he was injured in practice (Columbus Dispatch)

Blog: Gopher Running Backs Make Progress

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By Justine Buerkle
GopherSports.com

In his second game at running back this season, redshirt freshman Donnell Kirkwood had a career day. He rushed 10 times for 70 yards and two touchdowns in the Golden Gophers' 37-24 loss to North Dakota State. Senior Duane Bennett also recorded a season-best rushing performance, with 74 yards. The duo's combined yardage of 144 yards was the best total for Gopher running backs this season.

Go Gophers! Donnell Kirkwood
Go Gophers!
Running back Donnell Kirkwood had two first half touchdowns Saturday.
Go Gophers!
Kirkwood did most of his damage in the first half, when he had nine of his 10 carries. His four-yard touchdown in the first quarter put the Gophers ahead, 7-0. In the second quarter, he scampered 30 yards to the end zone to tie the game at 14.

"Offense was rolling," Kirkwood said. "The line was really moving them back and the first five yards came easy tonight because there were holes."

His performance today did not come as a surprise. Kirkwood made a promising showing last week as well, carrying the ball 13 times for 55 yards and his first career touchdown in the Gophers' win over Miami (Ohio). It was an important game for Kirkwood. After receiving a medical hardship waiver his true freshman season, he had to work both physically and mentally to come back from a hamstring injury. In the past two games, he has proven his ability as a regular in the Gopher offense.

It was also an important game for Bennett. In the first three games of the season, he ran for a total of 90 yards. His 74 yards today bested his previous season high by 17 yards.

Daily Clips - Sept. 24

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Erik Johnson should be Colorado's next captain (Denver Post)

Aaron Ness is in the lineup for the Islanders tonight (Newsday)

Neal Broten was the Devils' best veteran midseason acquisition ever (In Lou We Trust)

You can go see Neal Broten today (Patch.com) and he receives a thank you from Mike Modano (NHL.com)

Blake Wheeler enjoying being back on he ice (Winnipeg Free Press)

Have you heard that Ryan Potulny is battling for a roster spot in DC? They know he can score, so he is looking to show off his D (CSNWashington.com)

Phil Kessel's goal last night (Leafs TV)

Blog: Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)

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To help get you excited for Saturday night's tilt between the Gophers and the Bison, our enterprising GopherSports.com video assistant John Tipton put together this little video, set to Elton John's 1973 classic "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)".

It's also going to play on the scoreboard at TCF Bank Stadium right before kickoff -- be sure to look for it and post on your own social media accounts to get psyched up for the big game!

Daily Clips - Sept. 23

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VIDEO: Kyle Okposo hoping for an injury-free season (Newsday)

Ryan Potulny, who is fighting for a spot in Washington, makes his preseason debut tonight (Washington Times)

Did we mention Potulny is battling for a roster spot? (NHL.com)

Coach Lucia is up in British Columbia this weekend (Star Tribune)

Q&A: Bison Banter

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Throughout the season I'll chat with a media member who covers the opponent each week and bring you that interview in a Q&A format here in the Golden Gopher Football Blog. This week, we talked to Jeff Kolpack, who covers the North Dakota State Bison for the Fargo Forum.


GopherSports.com: Can you put into words how big a game this is for North Dakota State from a fan, team and university standpoint?

Jeff Kolpack: There are three different answers for each. From a fan's standpoint, it's an event more than anything, a rare chance for the Bison fan to watch their team play outdoors with their home games being in the Fargodome. Plus, of course, the Twin Cities has always been a weekend destination so it's a natural. For the university, it's a good student recruiting tool for Twin Cities high school students and for the team, any player who gets to see a bigger stage would be up for it.

 

GopherSports.com: We know from your story about the Twin Cities kids on the NDSU squad that this game means a lot to them. Can you elaborate on that? 
Jeff Kolpack: I think I've written this story in every Bison vs. Gopher game and it's a story that will be probably be written in every future game. It's the old you-overlooked-me theme and I suppose that will serve as motivation for any player.

 

GopherSports.com: What have the Bison learned about themselves in their two easy victories this season? 

Jeff Kolpack: The coaches say they feel this is the deepest team they've had in head coach Craig Bohl's nine years and the team learned, with backup Sam Ojuri, that the tailback position is a solid two deep.

 

GopherSports.com: Was the bye week in week three a good thing or a bad thing for the Bison? 

Jeff Kolpack: Well, Bohl is 6-1 coming out of bye weeks so whatever he does, they must get some quality work done in the off week. It wasn't a big deal in terms of healing injuries because there wasn't many after the first two games and usually after a couple of big wins you want to keep playing right away. So to answer the question, it was probably somewhere between a good thing and a bad thing.

 

GopherSports.com: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the NDSU team? 

Jeff Kolpack: The strengths are a solid running game and a defense that was pretty well-rounded last year and looks to be again this year, at least against FCS teams. The defensive ends are as good as anybody in their conference, linebackers are experienced and Marcus Williams is as good as any cornerback around. The passing game the last three years has historically been the weakness. Although it was noticeably improved in the first two games, based on the competition, I don't think victory can be declared there yet.

 

GopherSports.com: What's the biggest storyline surrounding the NDSU team coming into this week's game? 

Jeff Kolpack: I think it's the small school vs. big school theme that was evident in 2006 and 2007. It's a big deal for the Fargo-Moorhead community and beyond. Plus, the biggest NDSU alumni base by a mile is in the Twin Cities.

 

GopherSports.com: Who or what has the Bison's attention in regard to Minnesota? 

Jeff Kolpack: Just simply the Big Ten nature of the team, especially the interior size of the defensive lineman and the pure talent of quarterback MarQueis Gray, especially in the run game. NDSU has never faced a 6-4, 240-pound quarterback who can do the things Gray can.

 

GopherSports.com: How does NDSU win the game? 

Jeff Kolpack: Get a running game going, sprinkle in some West Coast offense-like passes for first downs and hold Gray under 100 yards rushing.

 

GopherSports.com: How does Minnesota win the game? 

Jeff Kolpack: Use its speed on the outside with big plays, get on top of NDSU early with a turnover or a big play and stay away from third and long. The longer NDSU hangs with them, the more it favors the FCS team.


Media Day Set For Sept. 29

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2011-12 media day guide.pdf

The University of Minnesota men's hockey team will hold its annual media day on Thursday, Sept. 29 in the Mariucci Arena Club Room. Lunch will begin at 12 p.m. and head coach Don Lucia will speak at 12:30 p.m. Selected players will be available at 1 p.m. The Gophers will practice at 2 p.m. and media are welcome to attend practice.

GWH Blog: Our 2011-12 Captains Are ...

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seniors Sarah Erickson and Jen Schoullis.

After a vote by the team, head coach Brad Frost announced that the captains of the 2011-12 Gopher women's hockey team will be Sarah Erickson and Jen Schoullis. Both Schoullis and Erickson served as assistant captains last season.

"Sarah and Jen were voted as captains by their teammates," explained Frost. "These two are great players, but they also represent what our program is about.  We look forward to them leading our team in great ways this year."

Sarah Erickson is a senior forward from Roseau, Minn. She led the team in goal scoring last season with 21, and had the second-highest point total with 43. Erickson also led the team in game-winning goals with six.

"I am greatly looking forward to the season as a whole," said Erickson. "I feel that we have a deep pool of talented teammates who are willing to bring a great amount of sacrifice, dedication and work ethic to our team day in and day out. As a leader, those are three terms I would like to abide by this season. If we do those things I think we have an opportunity to be an extremely powerful squad."

Jen Schoullis is a fifth-year senior from Erie, Pa. Last season, she tallied 18 goals and 14 assists for 32 points, and led the team in power play goals with seven.

"It is an honor to represent the University of Minnesota women's hockey team," said Schoullis. "It feels good to know that our teammates are beside us 100 percent of the way. I am looking forward for this season to start, I think we have an incredible squad."

By: Edwina Reckel


The Roy Griak Invitational one of the largest cross country meets in the nation. For 2011, there will be over 4,000 runners competing from high school, to the college level. Some of the nation's best will be on hand this year.

We got an insiders perspective, from assistant Head Coach, Sarah Hesser, of what it is like to participate in the race from every aspect. Hesser first ran in the race as a 16-year-old from South High School.

"As a high schooler, the Griak opened my eyes to what cross country can be. I hadn't realized before how many athletes and spectators were so passionate about the sport," Hesser said.

It was also her first race against competition outside of Minnesota.

"I remember my mom telling that I passed all of Kansas on an uphill!"

While running at the meet as a high schooler, Hesser also got a glimpse of what the Gopher Cross Country team was all about, which fueled her interest in becoming part of the team. After introducing herself to Coach Wilson and proving her ability by placing in the top 10 and top five throughout her high school career, she joined the U's team in 2006.

However, her first time running as a Golden Gopher did not start out as smoothly as she had hoped.

"My freshman year of college, the Griak did not hold such a special place in my heart," the seventh year assistant coach said. "I went out way too hard and ended up face down in the dirt at the 5K. Not the glorious start to my college cross country career I had anticipated."

In the following three years, Hesser, found her stride and finished as a top 7 runner. She reminisces on being on the U of M's team.

"To have the opportunity to race in front of you home fans with the "M" on your chest is an experience I will never forget."

After graduation, Coach Wilson gave Hesser the opportunity to continue to be part of the team by offering her the assistant coaching position. Part of Hesser's role is to organize the 220 high school teams participating in the Griak.

"Working 'behind the scenes' for the Griak is amazing," Hesser said. "You meet so many people who work tirelessly for months in advance to make the meet what it is. When you are an athlete, you get to show up, run and enjoy the experience. In a way, you think you know how hard people work, but when you see it up close it is truly a thing of beauty. The passion that people have for this meet and this sport never ceases to amaze me."

Throughout all of the meets Hesser has participated in and now planned, the Griak still holds a special place in her memory.

"Everyone works so hard to show up on one day, in one race and tries to give it everything they've got. Sometimes you pass the whole state of Kansas on an uphill and sometimes you end up face down in the dirt trying to breathe, but you always know that you have raced in the Roy Griak Invitational and you will take that with you for the rest of your life."

 

Guest Post: Coach Kill, Sid and Bobby Knight

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Go Gophers! Coach Kill
Go Gophers!
Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman, Bobby Knight and Coach Kill.
Go Gophers!
Once a week here on the official Gopher football blog, we'll feature a guest post from the editor of GoldenGopherGridiron.com's Mike Ricci. Today, Mike discusses a surprise meeting that took place in the football offices.

By now you may have either seen the photo (above) or the video. The legendary college basketball coach Bobby Knight made a cameo appearance at the Gibson-Nagurski Complex on Monday to meet and visit with Coach Kill.

The meeting, which was coordinated by Sid Hartman, was a surprise to everyone within the football offices.

Fora moment, let me tell you what meeting Bobby Knight up close meant to me personally. When I was a junior in high school, I took two trips to visit colleges. The first trip brought me to the University of Minnesota. I was interested in staying close to home at the time and being a Gopher seemed to be the perfect fit. I was getting mail from other schools at the time but only one other school stood out when I sifted through the mailings. I was intrigued by Indiana University. My parents packed up the car and we drove the 11+ hours to Bloomington, Indiana to tour the campus. My only real rational at the time to going to Indiana was because Bobby Knight was the coach at the time. He was not only my favorite college basketball coach at the time, but would've been my favorite coach in any sport if not for Phil Jackson.

Step Into Coach Kill's Office Tonight on BTN

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BTN's Mike Hall takes fans inside the life of Minnesota coach Jerry Kill on an episode of new BTN series Step Into My Office at 9 p.m. CT.
 
In this episode, which was taped this summer, Kill talks about struggling financially to make ends meet early in his coaching career, how he used to have long, curly blonde hair and being a groomsman in the wedding of TCU football coach Gary Patterson.

I've embedded a couple sneak peeks at the show below, courtesy of BTN.

In every episode of Step Into My Office, Hall sits down with a current Big Ten football coach for a revealing, one-on-one conversation. The conference's coaches chat about their lives before they were famous and away from the spotlight.
 
During the course of the 10-episode series, viewers will find out which coach was a boxer, which can play the tuba, who was in a coma during childhood and other surprising tidbits. Bonus clips will be posted weekly on www.BTN.com. 
 
Episodes regularly air at 9 p.m. CT on Thursday nights this fall.
 
The Kill episode of Step Into My Office follows an encore presentation of the Gophers' 2005 victory against Purdue.







Daily Clips - Sept. 22

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Nick Bjugstad answers five questions (Fox Sports North)Bjujstad, Nick27.jpg

Erik Johnson is ready to lead (NHL.com)

VIDEO: Thomas Vanek talked to the media prior to a preseason game (Sabres TV)

VIDEO: Jay Barriball did some talking at the 2011 Traverse City Tournament (Hockey's Future)

Jeff Taffe is in the Wild lineup tonight (Pioneer Press) and wants to make the Big Club this year (Star Tribune)

Coach Kill On the State of the Program

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Coming off his first victory as the head football coach at Minnesota, Jerry Kill was asked what he thought of where the Gopher program is during Tuesday's weekly press conference.

If people haven't yet learned that Coach Kill isn't prone to hiding his thoughts or feelings, his answer was yet another not-so-subtle reminder that this head coach tells it like it is. Coach Kill is almost honest to a fault and he isn't going to sugar-coat anything for anyone.

With that setup, you're probably expecting a less-than-rosy answer, right? If so, the first part of his answer might surprise you a bit. 

"To be honest with you, in some aspects, it's gone better (than expected)," Kill said to the assembled media horde.

But after that initially positive report, Kill opened up a vein about where his program is as they head into the fourth game of his head coaching tenure. Kill has a reputation as a coach who can turn dormant programs around. He intends to do that with the Gophers. But -- as he has preached since the day he was introduced as the program's new mentor - it will take time and patience.

"It ain't different anywhere else I've been," Kill said of his previous four head coaching stops. "We haven't been here long enough to get them to understand what it is.  I mean, give me a break ... you'd like to think you'd understand what leverage is, but you know what ... they don't know.  So we have got to teach them."

Kill then referenced a story he talked about back at the beginning of training camp. He spoke of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden teaching his team the proper way to pull up their socks and tie their shoes. Something as simple and mundane as pulling up your socks and tying your shoes properly were the building blocks to Wooden's program. Kill then also referenced another legendary basketball coach, who visited him in his office earlier this week.

"And as Coach Knight said (Monday), shoot, we don't do any of that (teaching) any more," Kill said. "We just line them up and put them in these X's and O's and think we out-coach everybody. That's a bunch of crap. 

"We have got to learn the little things before we get the big things," Kill continued. "it's going to take us a whole year to do that. We have to educate our players, and teach them better."

One area Kill is trying to educate his team about is playing hard and executing on each and every snap of the ball. He credited this week's opponent - North Dakota State - with having the ability to do just that. 

"Where we are at in our program, there is no room for error, in any game we play, any game," Kill said. "We can play and we can win games.  But there is no room for error. They have got to bring their A Game every week. That's why I do have respect for North Dakota State.  They don't take no damn plays off. That's why they win. If we learn not to take any damn plays off, then we wouldn't have lost to New Mexico State. So it's a deal of getting the mentality built into a group of young people that, hey, you are not super-human. You need to learn how to play hard. That's it."

North Dakota State and Minnesota will see just who plays harder and who takes fewer plays off Saturday night at TCF Bank Stadium. Kickoff for the Gopher-Bison clash is set for 6:07 p.m. CT.

GWH Blog: Minnesota second in WCHA poll

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The WCHA announced its preseason coaches' poll today, and Minnesota is listed No. 2. The Gophers tallied 44 points in the poll and received two first-place votes in the survey of the leagues' eight head coaches. Coaches could not vote for their own teams in the poll and points were awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system.

Not surprisingly, defending NCAA Champion Wisconsin is listed at No. 1. "As the defending national champions with many top players returning, there's no question Wisconsin is the favorite heading into the season. They are the team everyone else is chasing," explained Gopher head coach Brad Frost. "Top to bottom, our league is the strongest in the country. There are no nights off in the WCHA, we will definitely be battle tested by the time our conference season ends."

The coaches also voted for Preseason Player of the Year and Preseason Rookie of the Year. Two of Minnesota's freshmen received votes in the poll, with forward Meghan Lorence getting two votes while defenseman Rachel Ramsey earned one vote.

Click here for the full WCHA press release


M Club Hall of Fame: Urban Odson

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The legacy of University of Minnesota athletics will be celebrated Thursday, Sept. 22 at Ted Mann Concert Hall, when eight former Golden Gopher student-athletes are inducted into the "M" Club Hall of Fame.

Each day until then, we will preview one of the eight inductees with a special video. First up is former Golden Gopher football player Urban Odson. For a list of all inductees, click here.


Urban Odson was a three-year letter winner for the Gophers from 1939 to 1941. He earned All-America and All-Big Ten honors as a tackle in 1940 and was a star on Minnesota's 1940 and 1941 National Championship teams.

Following his Gopher career, Odson was a first-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers. He deferred is NFL career to enter the Navy and serve a tour in the Pacific Tour aboard the U.S. Amsterdam. Odson did eventually return to the Packers and went on to play under Curly Lambeau for four seasons with Green Bay before leaving the NFL after the 1940 season.

In 1950 Odson joined the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League before retiring from professional football.

The official induction of the 2011 class will take place during a ceremony to be held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455) Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. Tickets are available for purchase online through the University of Minnesota ticket office at www.tickets.umn.edu or by calling the Northrop ticket office at 612-624-2345.

Daily Clips - Sept. 21

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Ryan Potulny with a hat trick in training camp (Washington Post)

Alex Goligoski is a reason why some think the Stars are back (Star-Telegram)

More love for Goligoski .. this time from an opponent (Winging it in Motown)

Chicago believes in Nick Leddy (Daily Herald)

VIDEO: Thomas Vanek's top 10 goals (YouTube)

David Fischer headed back to the Florida Everblades (Naples News)

Phil Kessel played against Philly and his younger brother last night (Toronto Star)

20 Questions with Maggie Bollig

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20 Questions with Steve Sulkin

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Gophersports.com: Why did you first decide to become a runner? 
Steve Sulkin: My older brother was on the high school team and he said he loved it so I tried it.

GS: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when moving from high school cross country to running in college? 

SS: The biggest adjustment for me was realizing that it is a long process and you're not always going to get what you want right away.

GS: What is the most difficult course you've ever run? 
SS: Our home course is probably the most difficult. Where I'm from, there aren't any hills so our course seems hard. But that's a good thing because we get to train on it all year.

GS: What is the most unusual or creative workout you've ever run at practice? 

SS: Our circuit workouts are pretty unusual. We will do a two mile loop and stop at different stations to do exercises like jump roping or med ball drills. It seems kind of goofy but its hard work.

 GS: What team or individual performance are you most proud of? 
SS: I'm most proud of the track team winning five straight Big Ten Track titles.


GS: Where is your favorite place to run? 

SS: I like running over the hills on the Griak course.

GS: What is your favorite Minnesota tradition? 

SS: Camp up in Nevis MN. All we do is run and relax. It's great. 


GS: What is the coolest part of being a member of the Minnesota cross country team? 

SS: Knowing that you're representing one the largest educational institutions in the country


GS: What is the hardest part of being on the Minnesota cross country team? 

SS: We have so many talented runners that it gets difficult to make the team. I guess that's a good problem to have.


GS: What advice would you give a new runner?  

SS: Go out and run every single day.

GS: What have you learned from cross country that has helped you in other aspects of your life? 

SS:I learned to be persistent. If something doesn't come easy right away, just keep trying and it'll get easier

GS: Do you have a favorite sports movie?  

SS: Breaking away.

GS: Where is your favorite place to eat on campus? 

SS: It's a tie between Qdoba and Chipotle


GS: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?.

SS: REO Speedwagon. Take it on the Run

 

 

 

GS: Do you have any race-day superstitions? 

SS: I like to eat oatmeal but I do that every day so I guess not.

GS: What are your goals for this season? 

SS: I want to be on the team that gets top ten at nationals

GS: What is your favorite sport outside of cross-country or track and field? 

SS: I love baseball. I'm a big White Sox fan.

GS: What motivates you to run and compete? 

SS: I just love to beat people in races.

GS: What is one talent or skill you have outside of running? 

SS: I am very good at spoons.

GS: If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?
SS: I would go forward because I would not want to risk changing the present for the worse.

niti�"���  are your goals for this season? 

SS: I want to be on the team that gets top ten at nationals

GS: What is your favorite sport outside of cross-country or track and field? 

SS: I love baseball. I'm a big White Sox fan.

GS: What motivates you to run and compete? 

SS: I just love to beat people in races.

GS: What is one talent or skill you have outside of running? 

SS: I am very good at spoons.

GS: If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?

SS: I would go forward because I would not want to risk changing the present for the worse.

GWH Blog: Face Off Festival

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This Saturday is the Face Off Festival at Ridder Arena!

As you probably know, we're hosting the Maroon & Gold game on Saturday morning. It's an intrasquad scrimmage beginning at 10 a.m. at Ridder Arena. But, did you know that admission is free? That's right, everyone is invited to join us at 10:00 to kick off the 2011-12 season.

If you're a Power Play Club member or a season ticket holder, there's free breakfast at 9:00 before the Maroon & Gold game. There are also 40 reserved parking spots available to PPC members and season ticket holders. To reserve your spot, email our marketing coordinator Ana Balboa at balbo004@umn.edu.

If you're not a Power Play Club member, but you'd like to become one or you'd like more information, visit their website at powerplayclub.org.

If you plan to buy season tickets, but haven't yet, call the ticket office at 1-800-U-GOPHER to order your tickets.

Bison Need No Introduction for Coach Kill

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Coach Kill Sept. 20 Press Release Transcript

Click here to watch press conference video

Head coach Jerry Kill has a healthy respect for North Dakota State's football program. That respect comes from a great deal of knowledge about the Bison program.

Kill knows the history of the Bison-Gopher series.

Go Gophers! Coach Kill
Go Gophers!
Coach Kill is no stranger to the Bison, he said at Tuesday's press conference.
Go Gophers!

"They have had pretty good fortune over the past I believe four or five years," Kill said of the Bison during his weekly press conference Tuesday. "They came in and won (in 2007) and then it took a blocked field goal (for Minnesota) to win the other one (in 2006). So I think that that should tell us something. No disrespect to anybody else on our schedule -- no disrespect to Miami -- we'll have to play better than we did against Miami to win."

Kill has known the North Dakota State program for decades.

"I played against them when I was at Pittsburg State when Rocky Hager was there and I was offensive coordinator and we were both running split back veer,"Kill said. "Shoot, we were drawing 25,000 people at the Dome and we were the ones that opened the Dome when I was at Pittsburg State. So I have a long history (with North Dakota State)."

Kill knows plenty about North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl.

"North Dakota State (is) a team that I have great respect for," Kill said. "I've got great respect for their coach.  I've been watching their film. It's a football team that plays tremendously hard. They reflect their head coach. He's a hard‑nosed guy. And they play that way. They do not take plays off. That's something that we can learn from here at the University of Minnesota. They play as hard as anybody that we play to this point in time."

Kill also knows North Dakota State's roster is stocked with talented young men from the State of Minnesota who will be looking at the opportunity to play a Big Ten school as a chance to make a name for themselves with a school in a league they most likely wanted to play in.

M Club Hall of Fame: Robb Quinlan

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The legacy of University of Minnesota athletics will be celebrated next Thursday, Sept. 22 at Ted Mann Concert Hall, when eight former Golden Gopher student-athletes are inducted into the "M" Club Hall of Fame.

Each day until then, we will preview one of the eight inductees with a special video. First up is former Golden Gopher wrestling legend Garth Lappin. For a list of all inductees, click here.


A native of Maplewood, Minnesota Robb Quinlan played first base for the Golden Gophers from 1996 to 1999 and was a three-time first team, all-Big Ten selection ending his career as the Big Ten's all-time hits leader with 345. In addition to his 345 career hits, Quinlan also established Minnesota career records for at bats, runs batted in, doubles, home runs, and total bases.

Quinlan was drafted into the thirty-third round following his junior year season, but returned to play for the Gophers as a senior. He was then taken by the Anaheim Angels in the tenth round of the 1999 draft and was a backup corner infielder and outfielder with the Angels from 2003-2010.

Quinlan, who served as a volunteer coach with the Gophers during the final month of the 2011 season currently lives in Plymouth with his wife Amanda.

The official induction of the 2011 class will take place during a ceremony to be held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455) on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011.Tickets are available for purchase online through the University of Minnesota ticket office at www.tickets.umn.edu or by calling the Northrop ticket office at 612-624-2345.

Get to Know Your Gophers: Chris Bunders

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Each week, Gopher Radio Network sideline reporter and KFAN Radio personality Justin Gaard picks the brain of a new member of the Gopher football team for a segment called "Get to Know Your Gophers."
 
Justin Gaard: Let's first talk about your consecutive game streak. You're about two and a half seasons now playing every single game, who's streak is more impressive, yours or Brett Favre's?

Chris Bunders: That's not even a question, Brett Favre's is more impressive than anything I can think of. So two and a half seasons is nice but he's got a couple decades in there.

JG: What goes into getting yourself on that field every single Saturday and getting yourself ready for every game?

CB: Just preparation throughout the week. We have a pretty good regimen and workout schedule and practice schedule. So every piece comes together throughout the week and by the time Saturday comes all the questions have been answered and it's just time to have fun.

JG: Is it really easy to just focus on football when you've kind of taken the easy way out with a major in civil engineering? I don't even know what that is. Can you explain what civil engineering is and why you chose that as your major?

I really liked a lot of math growing up and engineering was always in my mind and civil engineering is a more math based engineering and kind of deals with building bridges, building buildings. You can do a lot of different things. You can work with water resources, build bridges, design buildings. You can design the interior of buildings. I have a relative who's a civil engineer for Golf Galaxy and he kind of designed all their stores and everything. 

JG: Has Coach Kill asked for your help, because he wants to build this program on concrete not sand? Is that something that a civil engineer could help out with?

CB: Yeah, we could probably help with that, but I haven't seen anything to mix up around here, except for us mixing it up at practice.


Gopher Soccer and the Story of Ooosss

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By: Edwina Reckel

The University of Minnesota women's soccer team is one of the few and proud teams that calls St. Paul, Minn. home. They are also the first college soccer program to reach over 5,000 fans on Facebook, so should anyone be surprised that their cheer is something unique as well?

Ooosss!

Head coach Mikki Denney Wright says it in the locker room before the team takes the field. Players yell it in team huddles. Some loyal fans shout along with the team, but how many actually know the meaning behind this strange word?

Ooosss can be spelled many different ways, but the term comes from Japan and was originally said in karate, combat and other battles. The word is made up of two parts. The first is "Ooo", which translates "to push" with all of your effort. It symbolizes the "fighting spirit" and to push away obstacles with an undeterred, positive attitude. The second part, "sss", means "to endure" and persevere through pain and tough times. Combined it represents an individual's pledge to do one's best and endure.

"For me, oosss means that I'll bring my best if you bring your best," says sophomore Steph Brandt." Ooosss has become part of what it means to be a Golden Gopher women's soccer player. It's one of our team's eight basic values, simply stating-'we will have Ooosss".

As many of you know, Gopher soccer provides a game experience second to none. It's not about a huge venue or views of downtown. You buy tickets for the game from a shack where the ticket looks more like a pass to a carnival than a ticket to see an elite D-1 women's athletic team play. This season, parents rallied together to make a covered patio to protect the players from the constantly changing weather elements and of course, some tailgating. Many may be surprised that Minnesota soccer has more fans on Facebook than Golden Gopher football and Golden Gopher hockey. This kind of fan support is something we take pride in. Here at the Robbie we like staying true to our roots and focus on what matters...the game. When sitting in the stands, it feels like you are part of an inclusive community, something we like to call the "Gopher Soccer Family."  

So to the fiercely loyal Gopher soccer fans that cheer the team on through all of the games-from the blazing sun at the beginning of August to those frigid October nights, Ooosss.

To the passionate coaches that devote their time and efforts to put an exciting and competitive team on the pitch year in and year out, Ooosss.

And to the players who balance busy schedules filled with practices/games, classes, friends, family and the list goes on...

Ooosss!

Daily Clips - Sept. 20

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POLL: Who will lead the Gophers in points this year? (Facebook)

Alex Goligoski "fills numerous organizational holes immediately" and is "everything one would want from an offensive blueliner" (Defending Big D)

Blake Wheeler's first preseason game as a Jet will happen in Ohio (Winnipeg Free Press)

VIDEO: Erik Johnson talks talks training camp (Avalanche TV)

Johnson part of the size and strength added to the Avs' blueline (Denver Post)

More Kyle Okposo captain speculation (Yahoo! Puck Daddy)

Ryan Potulny was Washington's storyline yesterday - literally (Caps Today)

This blogger not only has Mike Hoeffel playing an NHL game this year, but also has him scoring (In Lou We Trust)

Nick Leddy's D partner in Chicago's camp began playing pro hockey the same year Leddy was born - 1991 (Daily Herald)

Which means Leddy can learn a lot from his camp partner (Sun-Times)

Phil Kessel just scores goals (680 News)

Could we get a Kessel vs. Kessel matchup tonight? (The Record)

Derek Peltier going to Germany? (Peoria River Star)

Gophers Start With No. 4 Ranking

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The USCHA.com preseason poll was announced today, and the Gophers came in at No. 4. 

WCHA rival and defending NCAA Champion Wisconsin earned all 14 of the first place votes. Four of the top 10 teams in the poll are from the WCHA, with Wisconsin at No. 1, Minnesota at No. 4, Minnesota-Duluth at No. 6 and North Dakota at No. 7. See the full poll at USCHO.com.

In the 14-year history of the USCHO.com women's hockey poll, the Gophers have begun the season among the top 10 in each year. In the preseason poll, Minnesota has been ranked in the top four in 11 of 14 seasons, and has never been listed lower than No. 7 in the preseason poll. 

The preseason poll for USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine has not been released yet. 

M Club Hall of Fame: Mike Hebert

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The legacy of University of Minnesota athletics will be celebrated Thursday, Sept. 22 at Ted Mann Concert Hall, when eight former Golden Gopher student-athletes are inducted into the "M" Club Hall of Fame.

Each day until then, we will preview one of the eight inductees with a special video. Next up is Golden Gopher volleyball coaching icon Mike Hebert. For more on all the inductees, click here.


The most successful volleyball coach in school history, Mike Hebert lead the Golden Gophers to three NCAA Final Fours and recently finished his career at the University of Minnesota with a 381 and 185 record. In his fifteen years with the Minnesota Gophers, from 1996-2010, Hebert won more than 75% of his games while leading Minnesota to fourteen NCAA tournament appearances, eight NCAA Regional trips and four NCAA titles.

Along with three Final Fours, Hebert also lead the gophers to the National Title match against Stanford in 2004. He's the only coach in division one volleyball to lead two different programs from the same conference to Final Four appearances and one of four to make multiple trips to the Final Four with two different programs.

Along with national acclaim the Gophers also won their first Big Ten Title in 2002 under Hebert's tutelage. Named 2003 National Coach of the Year, Hebert was also named a five-time Big Ten Coach of the Year. Along with the M-Club induction, Hebert was also inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

The official induction of the 2011 class will take place during a ceremony to be held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455) on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011.Tickets are available for purchase online through the University of Minnesota ticket office at www.tickets.umn.edu or by calling the Northrop ticket office at 612-624-2345.

Gophers In the Pros - Week Two

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Watch Decker's 25-Yard Touchdown Catch

Watch Decker's 52-Yard Touchdown Catch

Denver Broncos' wide receiver Eric Decker continues to emerge in the NFL. With injuries keeping other offensive players out of the lineup, Decker has stepped up and performed. The former Gopher receiver had five receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns, including a 52-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Kyle Orton in the fourth quarter.

"First of all, give credit to the offensive line," Decker said to the Denver Post. "They opened the running game up so we could make plays in the passing game. Kyle did a great job putting the ball where only I had a chance. I made an adjustment on the football and it worked out."

Decker's contributions helped the Broncos get their first win of the season, a 24-22 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Decker may have the opportunity be a starter as the season progresses.

Here's a look at the performance of other Gophers in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League: 

  • Dominique Barber, safety for the Houston Texans, recorded one solo tackle in the Texans' 23-13 win over Miami.
  • Also recording one solo tackle was cornerback Marcus Sherels with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings lost in a 24-20 comeback win by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Matt Spaeth, tight end for the Chicago Bears, was active but did not record any statistics as the Bears suffered a 30-13 loss to the Saints.
  • Running back Marion Barber, also with the Chicago Bears, remained inactive with a calf injury.
  • New York Jets' wide receiver Logan Payne continues to recover from wrist surgery. The Jets blew out Jacksonville by a score of 32-3.
  • In addition to those who were on active rosters, three former Gopher players spent the second week of NFL season on the practice squad for their respective teams. Offensive lineman Dominic Alford is on the Cleveland Browns' practice team, cornerback Traye Simmons is with the San Diego Chargers, and last year's quarterback Adam Weber is with the Denver Broncos.
  • In the CFL, wide receiver Arland Bruce had two receptions for 49 yards and one touchdown. His fourth quarter touchdown catch secured the win for the BC Lions on Saturday. Ernie Wheelwright, wide receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, remains on the nine-game injured list with a knee injury.

M Club Hall of Fame: John Whitaker

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The legacy of University of Minnesota athletics will be celebrated next Thursday, Sept. 22 at Ted Mann Concert Hall, when eight former Golden Gopher student-athletes are inducted into the "M" Club Hall of Fame.

Each day until then, we will preview one of the eight inductees with a special video. Next up is former Golden Gopher wrestling legend Garth Lappin. For more on all the inductees, click here.

A dominant figure in the early days of Minnesota Wrestling, John Whitaker's accomplishments set the bar for Gopher Wrestling. Whitaker will always be remembered as the program's first ever NCAA Champion. He earned the honor on March 20, 1937 on the campus of the then named Indiana State Teachers College, presently known as Indiana State University; where as a senior he defeated John Ginay of Illinois in the 175 pound championship match at the tenth NCAA Wrestling Tournament to become the Gophers' National Champion.

The official induction of the 2011 class will take place during a ceremony to be held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455) on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011.Tickets are available for purchase online through the University of Minnesota ticket office at www.tickets.umn.edu or by calling the Northrop ticket office at 612-624-2345.

Paper Clippings - Sept. 19

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Kessel.jpgPhil Kessel: Cover Boy (The Hockey News)

VIDEO: Alex Goligoski talks from Dallas Stars camp in Prince Edward Island (Stars TV)

Erik Johnson setting the tone with physical play at Colorado's camp (SB Nation)

Like Johnson, Jeff Taffe got physical at Wild camp (Star Tribune)

Ryan Potulny is a dark-horse candidate to make the Capitals (Washington Times)

Jordan Schroeder just wants to get better, even if that means being in the AHL for a bit (Globe and Mail)


Gray Sets QB Rushing Record in Big Day

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By Michael Molde
GopherSports.com

Junior quarterback MarQueis Gray's feet led him into Minnesota's record books, and his rushing total helped lead Minnesota to a 29-23 victory over Miami University on Saturday before a crowd of 49,950 at TCF Bank Stadium.

On a day when Minnesota needed a spark to help guide it to its first win, Gray was a firework. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound signal caller had an amazing day running the offense for the Gophers. He finished with 171 net rushing yards, the most by a Minnesota QB since Gopher legend Sandy Stephens ran for 160 yards in a 23-20 win versus sixth-ranked Michigan on October 28, 1961.
MarQueis Gray

Gray averaged 6.8 yards per rush on 25 attempts and added 163 yards passing versus the RedHawks (0-2), giving him 334 yards of total offense in the victory. He threw a one-yard TD to John Rabe that gave Minnesota a 23-16 lead with 14:23 remaining in the fourth quarter, and he played the entire game without throwing an interception or fumbling the ball.

The win was the first of the season for the Golden Gophers (1-2), and the first career win at Minnesota for first-year head coach Jerry Kill, who returned to the sidelines one week after collapsing from a seizure in a 28-21 home-opening loss to New Mexico State.

"Well, I tell you what, he's a heck of an athlete," Kill said after the game. "He reminds me of (former Gophers QB) Rickey Foggie, and he'll be pretty good if he can keep that up."

In three games this season, Gray has rushed for 328 net yards, an average of 109.3 per game. He's already closing in on the fifth-best single-season rushing yardage total by a Minnesota quarterback - 417 yards by Tony Dungy in 1974 - and is on pace to shatter the single-season record of 831 yards set by Billy Cockerham in 1999.

It marked the second-straight 100-yard rushing performance for Gray, as he became the first Minnesota QB to accomplish that feat since Cockerham did so versus Indiana and Iowa in 1999.

Gray and the Gophers will attempt to even their record at 2-2, as they close the non-conference portion of their schedule by playing host to North Dakota State next Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m.

Frozen M: Paper Clippings - Sept. 18

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Blake Wheeler was part of a special day in Winnipeg (NHL.com)

VIDEO: Wheeler talks to the media about training camp atmosphere and his role on the Jets (YouTube)

Kyle Okposo is one reason NYI fans are excited (TSN.ca)

Okposo: "It's time to win." (NewsDay)

Ryan Potulny is going to do what he does well in trying to land a spot on the Caps' roster (Patriot News)

Is that Ryan or Grant Potulny at the Caps' training camp? (@timleone)

VIDEO: Thomas Vanek discusses the first day of training camp and how winning is the only thing he is concerned about (WGRZ)

Vanek discusses the recent KHL tragedy and how it affected him and his family (Buffalo News)

Keith Ballard looking to return to form (The Province)

Blog: Bennett's blocked punt proves big

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By Justine Buerkle
GopherSports.com

Before today's game, head coach Jerry Kill told his Golden Gophers that they would need to block a punt, return a kick, or pull off a similar game-changing play in order to win. His words came true, as special teams played a pivotal role in Minnesota's 29-23 victory over Mi
ami (Ohio).

Duane Bennett punt
Perhaps the most exciting play of the game came in the fourth quarter when senior running back Duane Bennett blocked Zac Murphy's punt, recovered it, and scored to put the Gophers ahead 29-16. It was the Gophers' first blocked punt since 2009, and the points ended up deciding the game, as the RedHawks scored on the following drive to cut the margin to six.

"We blocked a punt and that is how we won the game," Kill said. "If we don't block that punt, we would not have won. We need to find ways to win a game."

Bennett's spectacular play was not the only major contribution of Minnesota's special teams unit. Kicker Chris Hawthorne accounted for 11 of the Gophers' 29 points. After starting the season 1-for-4 on field goal attempts, he was good on all three of his attempts 
today, the longest being a 33-yarder in the first quarter.

Punter Dan Orseske has been consistently good this year. He came into the weekend ranked No. 13 in the nation in punting average (45.62 yards per punt), with an average almost 10 yards better than last year. He punted three times today for an average of 46 yards, with a long punt of 57 yards.

M Club Hall of Fame: Garth Lappin

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The legacy of University of Minnesota athletics will be celebrated next Thursday, Sept. 22 at Ted Mann Concert Hall, when eight former Golden Gopher student-athletes are inducted into the "M" Club Hall of Fame.

Each day until then, we will preview one of the eight inductees with a special video. First up is former Golden Gopher wrestling legend Garth Lappin. For a list of all inductees, click here.

The Minnesota wrestling program has been a symbol of excellence for decades. One of the men responsible for this incredible legacy is Garth Lappin, a team leader for the Gophers in the late 1940s. Lapin lettered at Minnesota from 1947-49 and was crowned Big Ten Champion in 1948. He was a two-time All American at 120 pounds in 1947 and 1949. 

After his days wearing the maroon and gold Lappin went on to become the president of the State High School Wrestling Association and Meet Chairman for the U.S. Wrestling Federation. He coached Anoka High School to two state titles and mentored seventeen individual state champions.

Lappin is a member of the Minnesota High School Coaches Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for lifetime service.

The official induction of the 2011 class will take place during a ceremony to be held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455) on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011.Tickets are available for purchase online through the University of Minnesota ticket office at www.tickets.umn.edu or by calling the Northrop ticket office at 612-624-2345.

Frozen M: Paper Clippings - Sept. 17

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Erik Johnson tabbed as a dark horse captain candidate and is poised to have a breakout year (Denver Post)

Lost of folks think Johnson will lead the Avs blueline in scoring (Mile High Hockey)

Nick Leddy expected to see a lot of ice time in all situations (Daily Herald)

Leddy gets his own season preview (NBC Chicago)

Phil Kessel looking for chemistry with new center (Toronto Star)

Ryan Potulny vying for final spot on Caps' 23-man roster? (Washington Post) and (Washington Times) Or is he Hershey bound? (Patriot News)

Potential D partner for Aaron Ness named and he is a former WCHA rival (Lighthouse Hockey)


Gopher Gridiron guest post: Honoring Bruce Smith

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Occasionally here on the official Golden Gopher Football Blog, we'll be featuring guest contributors, including Mike Ricci, editor and webmaster of the football program's official site -- GoldenGopherGridiron.com. Today, Mike discusses Gopher legend Bruce Smith, who will be honored at Saturday's game against Miami of Ohio.

Go Gophers! Stoudermire
Go Gophers!
For more on Gopher Football, visit GoldenGopherGridiron.com.
Go Gophers!
This weekend, the University of Minnesota is going to honor the late Bruce Smith in between the first and second quarter of the Miami of Ohio game. Smith, the only player in Gopher Football history to win the Heisman Trophy, played for the Gophers in 1940 and 1941.

Born and raised in Fairbault, Minn., Smith was coached by Gopher football legend Win Brockmeyer (famous for sharing the backfield with Bronko Nagurski). Upon graduation Smith followed in the footsteps of his high school coach and headed to Minneapolis to don the maroon and gold.

It would be an understatement to say Bruce Smith's college career was successful. In 1940 he was named the starting halfback and helped lead the Gophers to a National Championship. His encore performance in 1941 found Smith leading Minnesota to their second straight National Championship while picking up All American honors along with winning the prestigious Heisman Trophy.

RedHawk Rumblings

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Throughout the season I'll chat with a media member who covers the opponent each week and bring you that interview in a Q&A format here in the Golden Gopher Football Blog. This week, we talked to Pete Conrad, who covers the Miami RedHawks for the Oxford Press.

GopherSports.com: Does the fact that Miami played NIU in last year's MAC Championship game give either team/coaching staff an advantage?

Pete Conrad: No. Treadwell is familiar with Minnesota, Kill is familiar with Miami. I think it evens out.

GopherSports.com: What was the reaction around the Redhawk program to Coach Kill's health issue this week?

Pete Conrad: Concern. They know what it's like to have a member of their own staff face health issues. Assistant coach Mike Bath recently returned after undergoing heart surgery this summer.

GopherSports.com: What did the Redhawks learn about themselves in the loss at Missouri?

Pete Conrad: That their running game, which was not impressive during preseason camp, might not be so bad. Erik Finklea, a former linebacker, picked up some good yardage and the offensive line held its own.

GopherSports.com: Was the bye week in week two a good thing or a bad thing for the Redhawks?

Pete Conrad: Marginally good. A week off deeper into the season would have been better. The RedHawks don't have many injuries from which to recuperate. Treadwell said the RedHawks are feeling fresh, but this early in the season they should feel that way anyway,

GopherSports.com: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Miami team?

Pete Conrad: The major strength is their defense, all around, especially cornerback Dayonne Nunley. And the passing game. Zac Dysert has a big-league arm and he has talent and depth at receiver. The RedHawks' running game is unproven and their kicking game, both place-kicking and punting, is weak.

GopherSports.com: What's the biggest storyline surrounding the Miami team coming into this week's game?

Pete Conrad: Sophomore wideout Nick Harwell, the team's most explosive receiver, is back after serving a one-game suspension (missing tge Missouri game) for a violation of team rules. If Harwell back, quarterback Zac Dysert has a chance to dial up his passing game.

GopherSports.com: Who or what has the Redhawks' attention in regard to Minnesota?

Pete Conrad: Treadwell said Troy Stoudermire is the best cornerback he's seen in a long time, and he's seen some good ones.

GopherSports.com: How does Miami win the game?

Pete Conrad: By making place kicks, which the RedHawks did not do last week, or the last time they played at Minnesota.

GopherSports.com: How does Minnesota win the game?

Pete Conrad: By not turning the ball over to an excellent Miami defense.

Sizing up the Competition

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We're now just two weeks out from our season opener, the East/West Showcase on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Can you believe hockey season starts just 14 days from now? 

In the East/West Showcase, the Gophers will play host to Union, Syracuse and St. Cloud State. On Friday night, SCSU will face Syracuse while Minnesota plays Union. On Saturday, the Gophers get their chance against Syracuse while St. Cloud State plays Union. Games are at 4:00 and 7:00 each day, with the Gophers playing in the 7:00 game both nights. 

The last time the Gophers faced Syracuse was in the 2009-10 season opener. Minnesota won both games, winning 4-3 the first night and 4-1 the second night. The Gophers will play Union for the first time in program history.

To read up on Minnesota's opening-weekend opponents:



St. Cloud State will be seeing a lot of Ridder Arena early in the season as the Huskies return the following weekend for the two-game series against the Gophers Oct. 7-8. 

Practice Report 9/16/11

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The University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team has been in class for two weeks now, so let's catch up with the freshmen and see how they are transitioning to college life.

The team is currently holding volunteer practices until official team practices are begin Wednesday, September 23.

 

Frozen M: Paper Clippings - Sept. 16

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More talk about Alex Goligoski playing a big role in Dallas (FoxSportsSouthwest.com)

Erik Johnson is a fantasy sleeper (ESPN)

Keith Ballard has a clean slate and is looking to be more consistent (Vancouver Sun)

WCHA preview and predictions (TheCollegeHockeyBlog.com)

Can Nick Leddy make Chicago forget about Brian Campbell? (Daily Herald)

Thomas Vanek does a Q&A (ThomasVanek.at)

M Club Hall of Fame preview: Ben Hamilton

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The legacy of University of Minnesota athletics will be celebrated next Thursday, Sept. 22 at Ted Mann Concert Hall, when eight former Golden Gopher student-athletes are inducted into the "M" Club Hall of Fame.

Each day until then, we will preview one of the eight inductees with a special video. First up is former Golden Gopher football standout Ben Hamilton. For a list of all inductees, click here.

One of the most decorated linesmen of the modern era, Ben Hamilton played center for the Golden Gophers and was a four-year letter winner from 1997-2000. An All-American and All-Big Ten performer in both 1999 and 2000, Hamilton was named the 2000 winner of the Bronko-Nagurski award as the Gophers most valuable player.

He also earned the team's Butch Nash and Paul Giel awards in his time at Minnesota. Following his Gopher career, Hamilton was drafted in the fourth round of the 2001 National Football League Draft. He played ten seasons in the NFL, nine with the Denver Broncos and one with the Seattle Seahawks.

The official induction of the 2011 class will take place during a ceremony to be held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455) on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011.Tickets are available for purchase online through the University of Minnesota ticket office at www.tickets.umn.edu or by calling the Northrop ticket office at 612-624-2345.

Kill Returns To Practice

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University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill was back on the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex practice fields Thursday afternoon.

Go Gophers! Coach Kill
Go Gophers!
Coach Kill watches his team work out Thursday
Go Gophers!

Kill was discharged from the hospital during the lunch hour. Just a few hours after his discharge, he was back with the Gophers. Kill said he went home to change clothes and then came directly to the Gopher football complex. He was on the practice field with his team for the entire practice, which lasted roughly two hours.

Kill addressed the team following practice, telling them he was headed home to get some rest. But he also told them he planned to be back at work on Friday morning.

Gophers In the Pros

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By Kim Conley
Athletic Communications Student Assistant

Former Gopher wide receiver Eric Decker had a huge game in week one of the 2011 NFL season. 

Decker's explosive 90-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter was one of the highlights of the Denver Broncos' Monday night loss to Oakland. 

"Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while," Decker joked with GopherSports.com about his punt return. "It was a great play. My teammates set up a wall and led me to the end zone. Unfortunately, it was bittersweet with the loss. I would rather have had it help us win the game."

In addition to his special teams score, Decker had three receptions for a total of 53 yards, giving him the second most yards on the team. But it wasn't enough for the Broncos who fell to the Raiders by a score of 23-20.

Here's a look at the performance of other Gophers in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League: 

  • Matt Spaeth, tight end for the Chicago Bears, had two catches for seven yards and one touchdown in the Bears' big 30-12 win over the Falcons.

  • Cornerback Marcus Sherels for the Minnesota Vikings recorded 17 punt return yards in the Vikings' 24-17 loss to the Chargers.

  • Dominique Barber, Houston Texans safety, was active but did not record any statistics as the Texans blew out the Colts 34-7.

  • Running back Marion Barber of the Chicago Bears was out with a calf injury during their week one victory, but is expected to return to practice this week.

  • Also out with an injury is Logan Payne, wide receiver for the New York Jets. The Jets came back to defeat the Cowboys 27-24 in an exciting Monday night game, but Payne will be out 6-8 weeks after undergoing wrist surgery.

  • In addition to those who were on active rosters, three former Gopher players spent opening weekend on the practice squad for their respective teams. Offensive lineman Dominic Alford is on the practice squad for the Cleveland Browns, cornerback Traye Simmons is with the San Diego Chargers, and last year's quarterback Adam Weber practices with the Denver Broncos.

  • Also to be noted, Arland Bruce plays in the CFL for the BC Lions as a wide receiver. He recorded five receptions for 34 yards in the Lions' win Saturday. Ernie Wheelwright, a wide receiver in the CFL for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, is currently on the nine-game injured list.

Frozen M: Paper Clippings - Sept. 15

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Some think this is a very important training camp for Jeff Frazee (sportsnet.ca)

Jordan Schroeder talks about last year and the upcoming year (Toronto Sun)

Thomas Vanek personally delivered season-tickets to Buffalo fans (WGRZ)

The boys are back in town (thomasvanek.at)

M Club Hall of Fame: Joe Pollack

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The legacy of University of Minnesota athletics will be celebrated next Thursday, Sept. 22 at Ted Mann Concert Hall, when eight former Golden Gopher student-athletes are inducted into the "M" Club Hall of Fame.

Each day until then, we will preview one of the eight inductees with a special video. First up is former Golden Gopher baseball hero Joe Pollack. For a list of all inductees, click here.

Joe Pollack was a right-handed pitcher during a dominant stretch for Gopher baseball. In 1964, he led Minnesota to its third national championship in eight years, going 4-1 in conference games and 7-2 in the regular season.

At the College World Series, he pitched three complete game victories to lead Minnesota to the title and was named to the All-Tournament team. He finished the season 11-2 and was an All-Big Ten selection.

The official induction of the 2011 class will take place during a ceremony to be held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455) on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011.Tickets are available for purchase online through the University of Minnesota ticket office at www.tickets.umn.edu or by calling the Northrop ticket office at 612-624-2345.

Granquist family highlighted in Star Tribune

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Senior Jessica Granquist is known for her libero skills, but her family, especially her sister, inspires her. Read a great story and courage about Jessica, her sister, Christina, and her family here.

Blog: Consistency is Gophers' Goal

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The Golden Gophers are searching for their first victory of the season. But it's the search for something else that could lead them to that win.

The elusive goal for the Gophers right now? Consistency. During Tuesday afternoon's weekly meeting with the media, key members of both the offensive and defensive units mentioned correcting mistakes, keeping everyone on the same page and playing with consistency throughout the game as a key for the team moving forward.

"It was kind of one of those things on both sides of the ball where 10 guys were doing the right thing and one guy didn't do their job," senior center Ryan Wynn said. "There is no finger-pointing on this team. I obviously don't know the defensive side of the ball. But in speaking to my teammates, that's kind of what happened on their side, too."

Junior linebacker MikeRallis agreed with that assessment.

"It was frustrating to see some of the mistakes that were made out there by everyone," Rallis said. "We could have played a lot better."

Rallis said it was tough to watch the film of last week's game when the team got together on Sunday. But the positive, he said, was that the mood of the team was one of positivity and looking forward to getting better. That's important, because two tough losses and a head coach in the hospital could cause distractions, dissension or other issues that could tear a team apart. Instead, the Gophers are sticking together.

"The mood was good," Rallis said. "I really liked it. It was a mood of moving forward and improving, as opposed to getting stuck in the past and dwelling on what happened. That's the mood we're going to take into next week. We'll continue to move forward. There are some things that we did better in week two than we did in week one, but there wasn't enough. We've got to keep on moving forward and focus on that."

Notes:
> The Gophers return to practice this afternoon at 3:45 p.m. at the Gibson-Nagurski Complex to continue preparations for Miami (Ohio). Kickoff for Saturday's game is set for 2:37 p.m. CT.

> The Gophers played host to a familiar face to college football fans Tuesday at practice. Former University of Miami (Fla.) head coach Randy Shannon was visiting the Gophers. Shannon was a guest of linebackers coach/assistant head coach Bill Miller, who was on the Hurricane staff back in the mid-1990s.

Frozen M: Paper Clippings - Sept. 14

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Alex Goligoski is an intriguing storyline heading into camp... (Defending Big D)

...and is in the last year of his contract (ESPN.com)

Denver media speculate on Erik Johnson's D partner (Mile High Hockey)

Nick Leddy is one of Chicago's five questions heading into camp (ESPN.com)

Jay Barriball scores again (Daily Gleaner) and now has two goals in three games (BND.com) in the NHL Prospects Tournament

Could Jeff Frazee be New Jersey's goalie of the future? (NJ.com)

Jordan Schroeder finding his legs (The Province)

M Club Hall of Fame preview: Mike Crowley

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The legacy of University of Minnesota athletics will be celebrated next Thursday, Sept. 22 at Ted Mann Concert Hall, when eight former Golden Gopher student-athletes are inducted into the "M" Club Hall of Fame.

Each day until then, we will preview one of the eight inductees with a special video. First up is former Golden Gopher hockey star Mike Crowley.

Mike Crowley patrolled the Minnesota blue line from 1994-1997 and was a two-time Hobey Baker Award winner for the Gophers. He was the fourth two-time All-American in school history and was the 1997 WCHA Player of the Year.

The Bloomington, Minnesota native was named first-team all WCHA in 1996 and 1997 and led the team in scoring in 1997 with fifty-six points in forty-two games He joins Lou Nanne as the only other Gopher defenseman to lead the team in scoring in school history. Crowley holds the two highest scoring seasons by a defenseman in school history with 63 points in 1996 and 56 points in 1997. His 47 assists in 1997 and 46 assists in 1996 also ranked first and second in school history by a defenseman in a single season.  The seventeen goals he scored in 1996 ranked third all-time for Gopher defensemen in a single year.

A sixth-round selection by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1993 entry draft, Crowley helped lead the Gophers to the 1995 NCAA Frozen Four as well as the 1996 WCHA playoffs title and the 1997 WCHA regular season crown.

The official induction of the 2011 class will take place during a ceremony to be held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455) on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011.Tickets are available for purchase online through the University of Minnesota ticket office at www.tickets.umn.edu or by calling the Northrop ticket office at 612-624-2345.

Blog: Business As Usual

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Entire Transcript of Claeys, Limegrover Press Conference

The Golden Gopher coaching staff is doing its very best to keep things as normal as possible for the team in the absence of head coach Jerry Kill this week. That approach seems to be resonating with the players.

"Business as usual isn't the best way (to approach this week)," senior center Ryan Wynn said as part of the Gophers' regular Tuesday press conference. "It's the only way."

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys and offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover stepped in for Coach Kill's portion of the press conference. Limegrover said Coach Kill was on everyone's mind when the squad returned to film study and practice Sunday. But they also made sure the team got its work done.

"We kept it pretty regimented, pretty quick," Limegrover said. "I think that made a real difference.  Got in, got out, got some good work done."

"When we watched film on Sunday, it was awesome how well film sessions (went)," Claeys said. "Those kids want to do well. They worked their tails off, asked questions. Hell, it's important to them. It's up to us as coaches to keep getting after them. They had a great attitude on Sunday, worked hard at practice.  I expect the same thing today."

Claeys said the staff knows they better focus on preparations for Miami and continuing to improve, because Coach Kill expects nothing less.

"When you get out there, it's all football," he said. "If we don't handle things that way while (Coach Kill's) away, when he gets back, we'll be fired.  Stick to football, make sure the kids are prepared ..."

As for this week's opponent, it's one the Gopher coaching staff is familiar with. Miami is a member of the Mid-American Conference, the same league virtually all of the current Minnesota staff coached in at Northern Illinois for the past three seasons. 

Frozen M: Groups Of Four

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Hockey season is a mere 25 days away, and the Gophers began on-ice drills last week. Players were on the ice in groups of four last week and each four-man group participated in four separate 30-minute sessions with their position coach. We talked to two coaches and three players to see how everything went.

Don Lucia (head coach)

GS: What can you tell us about last week?

DL: We had a great four days with the players, two hours each. We had groups of four for 30 minutes. We had two groups of defensemen and four groups of forwards. Justin (Johnson) took the goaltenders for three days as well. It was a chance for the players to feel more comfortable with some skill development as we begin this upcoming week. It also gave Mike (Guentzel) an opportunity to be with the players and get a better feel at what they can and cannot do at this stage. It also helped with a comfort level and was good for the freshmen to get out there with the coaches. I had an opportunity to observe from up top and I think some guys have improved from last year which is great to see.

GS: Why did you decide to do the four-man group sessions this year?

DL: Normally we do not like to do anything during the first week of school as the student athletes get acclimated, but this year we wanted to take advantage of that first week including Saturday morning. We wanted to get them up and moving and help work on their conditioning. I think it was beneficial to do and now starting on Sept. 15 we get two hours with the entire team. So we will go from four-man groups to having three 40-minute practices with the team. That following week we get two more hours with them before we get going.

Mike Guentzel (associate head coach)

GS: What kind of drills did you have the guys doing on the ice last week?

MG: We worked on position skills, techniques and fundamentals for each player's particular position. We also did some shooting, passing and foot skills and worked on the mental side of things as well. We tried to touch on a few individual things that they can incorporate into everything when the team gets together later this week.

Nate Schmidt (defense)

GS: You had one of the earliest groupings last week and were out on the ice at 6 a.m. How was that?

NS: We had to wake up early and were battling right away. We did a lot of individual backward skating and did a lot of transitional things as well like footwork and passing the puck hard. We are trying to make everything go a little quicker. Coach Guentzel is trying to speed up everything.

GS: Speaking of coach Guentzel, what was it like to be out on the ice with him for the first time?

NS: He recruited me, so it was really a positive experience. He is really commanding and is a presence out on the ice. He has a whole lot of new ideas and we are doing things we have never done before. Everyone is getting used to it, but it has been a blast to be out there with him right away.

GS: There are eight defensemen on the team, but typically only six play every game. Were you guys competing hard right away?

NS: Oh yeah. If one guy does a drill right then the next guy is trying his best to make sure he does the drill right. We are picking each other up as well, but it is a battle out there right now. From what I see, all eight of us are neck-and-neck right now. Everyone is battling hard and you are not going to let up because it is your buddy out on the ice with you.

Nate Condon (forward)

GS: What can you tell us about the four-man group workouts you did last week?

NC: We did a skills workout with the coaches. Grant was out there with the forwards and Mike was out there with the defense. We did a lot of skating drills and just tried to get back into the flow of things. We did a lot of shooting and breakouts as well.

GS: How was the compete level?

NC: It was pretty good. The first day they conditioned us pretty well. The other days we worked hard and were all pushing each other out there. I enjoy working out in the offseason, but there is nothing like skating and hanging out with the boys. It is fun getting back out there.

Kent Patterson (goaltender)

GS: How did it feel to be out on the ice again with goaltender coach Justin Johnson?

KP: It felt good to be out there with Justin. We went over some detailed work and did some good goalie conditioning to get the year started off right.

GS: What kind of drills did you do?

KP: The three of us were out there with Justin. He would take shots on one of us. Then off to the side, one of us would be doing movement drills that coach came up with. Then the third would be chasing pucks and we would keep running through the drills. We were busy the entire time we were out there, doing movement drills, collecting pucks or taking shots.

Frozen M: Paper Clippings - Sept. 13

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Alex Goligoski "a special player" (USA Today)

Erik Johnson getting a lot of (All Star?) love from Denver media (SB Nation)

Six NHL teams need a captain, could three of them end up with Gophers wearing the C? (NHL.com)

Jacob Cepis answers Finnish questions in English (YouTube)

A smiling Cepis on his Tappara bio page (Tappara.fi)

Jay Barriball scouting report (STLtoday.com)

Paul Martin walked around Pittsburgh yesterday handing out tickets (WPXI.com)


Team Doctor: Coach Kill Doing Very Well

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Dr. Pat Smith, team physician for the Golden Gopher football team, is in a better mood today than he was the last time he spoke to the media. And with good reason.

The last time he was in front of television cameras and tape recorders was just minutes after head coach Jerry Kill suffered a seizure in the closing seconds of the Gophers' game with New Mexico State on Saturday.

"First of all I'm in a better mood today. I'm very happy to report that Coach Kill is doing very well," Dr. Smith said. "He's alert, eating, not on any IVs. He has undergone extensive testing, both labs and procedures, all of which have been totally normal. His vital signs have at no time been altered. That includes on the field and since that time."

While that is great news, the better news is that Dr. Smith expects Coach Kill to make a full recovery and be back on the Gopher sideline "sooner rather than later." But the timetable for his release and his return to work has yet to be determined.

"I anticipate and expect it will have a full recovery, which is uneventful both now and in the future," Dr. Smith said. "Currently, we're still waiting on a few studies to make a final determination about what the best, appropriate medical management will be going forward."

Coach Kill is grateful for the outpouring of support he's received.

"Rebecca and I want to thank everyone for their prayers and concern," Kill said. "We've received great support from friends, fans and colleagues across the state of Minnesota and around the country and I am humbled by all the get-well wishes. I'm feeling better each day and hope to be back with the team soon. Until then, I have full confidence in my coaching staff to prepare our team to play its best this week against Miami."

Anyone who knows Coach Kill is aware that he is almost always full-speed ahead. When he is released from the hospital, Dr. Smith knows he won't be able to slow the Gopher head coach down. So he and the medical team are taking advantage of the time they have with him to try to eliminate or limit the chances of another episode like the one that took place on the sideline at TCF Bank Stadium Saturday.

"As you'd anticipate Coach Kill feeling, he wants to get back on the field," Dr. Smith said. "We've got a little control of him right now. We're going to make sure we've dotted our I's and crossed out T's before (his release) happens. Once he leaves the hospital, we don't have control of him again. So, we're going to make sure ... the medication levels are appropriate, that he's feeling well enough and then encourage him to get back when he feels well. We have hospitalized him more as a precaution to address those issues that we can address now and not let this occur in the future."

While Coach Kill is recuperating in the hospital, his coaching staff and team are taking a business-as-usual approach. The Gophers watched film, went over corrections from Saturday's game and practiced Sunday afternoon. Today is an off day for the team. But they will reconvene Tuesday afternoon and continue their preparation for this Saturday's contest with Miami (Ohio). Kickoff for Saturday's game is set for 2:37 p.m. at TCF Bank Stadium.

20 Questions with Kathryn Ritter

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Gophersports: What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?

Kathryn Ritter: I think about what I want to have for breakfast.

GS: Do you have any siblings? How many?

KR: My older sister Megan is 24, and my younger brother Steven is 15.

GS: What is your favorite class or professor so far at Minnesota, and why?

KR: My favorite class has been Human Physiology.  The subject matter was very interesting to me, and I learned a lot over the course of the semester.  This class helped me realize that I really want to pursue medical school after graduation.

GS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?

KR: Cereal

GS: Who was your role-model as a child? Why? Has your role model changed now that you are older?

KR: I looked up to Mia Hamm when I was younger.  I started playing soccer when I was in first grade, and I wanted to be just like her.  She was such a talented athlete and always carried herself in a classy manner.  After her brother Garrett passed away, Mia Hamm also worked to support patients who needed bone marrow transplant.  She was such a positive role-model.

GS: How has being a student and athlete at Minnesota influenced your life?

KR: Being a student-athlete at Minnesota has been such a great experience.  I am very thankful for all of the opportunities that I have had to compete for the Gophers and be a part of a team.  Being both a student and an athlete has also taught me how to stay organized and balance my life.  It has forced me to plan ahead to make sure that I am getting everything done.  This can be challenging at times but definitely worth it!

GS: Why did you first decide to become a runner?

KR: When I was in elementary school, we had an Olympic Day at the end of the school year.  I always looked forward to it and had so much fun running the races there.  I was excited to finally enter middle school when I could join the track team.  It was the greatest thing ever back then because it was like having Olympic Day every day. 

GS: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when moving from high school cross country to running in college? 

KR: I had to get used to running higher mileage and racing a 6K.  My primary event in high school was the 800, so it was an adjustment to transition to long distance training.

GS: What is the most difficult course you've ever run? 

KR: Our home course!

GS: What is the most unusual or creative workout you've ever run at practice? 

KR: Blind fartleks are the most creative workouts that we have ever done.  We run in small groups and then we rotate who is in charge of leading the workout.  The leader gets to decide how long we will run hard before we go back to an easy run pace.  It is a fun workout because you never really know what you will be doing until a few seconds beforehand.

GS: What team or individual performance are you most proud of? 

KR: I am most proud of qualifying for the NCAA Preliminary round in the 1500 during track season of my sophomore year.

GS: Use five words to describe yourself.

KR: Optimistic, Hard-working, Considerate, Determined, Reliable

GS: Describe your perfect day - who would you spend it with, what would you do, where would you be?

KR: On a perfect day, I would go camping with friends.  I would love to spend the day hiking, canoeing, and swimming in a lake.  Then we would spend the night hanging out by the bonfire.

GS: What is your pre-race routine?

KR: When we arrive at the course, I listen to music for awhile and think about my race plan.  About 50 minutes before race time, we go for our warm-up run as a team before we stretch and do drills.  Then I like to do my final strides at the starting line.  We do our final team cheer, and then we are all ready to run.

GS: Other than the Gophers, what is your favorite sports team? (College or Pro)

KR: Green Bay Packers

GS: What do you miss the most about being at home?

KR: I miss spending time with my family and home-cooked meals.  During the warmer months, I especially miss how my house had air-conditioning.

GS: What is the best advice you have received? Who was it from?

KR: One of my high school teachers told our class to always live as if you are in "the best years of your life." 

GS: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?

KR: Dave Matthews Band, Hootie & the Blowfish, Eric Church

GS: If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?

KR: I would travel backward in time because I would love to experience what life was like before the Information Age.

GS: Where is your favorite place at the University of Minnesota?

KR: My favorite place is the running path right next the Mississippi River.  It is so beautiful during the fall when all of the leaves are changing colors.

20 Questions with Derek Storkel

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Derek Storkel: Why did you first decide to become a runner? 

Gophersports: Well, it all began in soccer. Basically my coach made me join track because he thought I was fast.

GS: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when moving from high school cross country to running in college? 

DS: Not running like an idiot. In high school, the distances were only 5k so I could get away with sprinting the first mile. In college however, if I tried doing that in an 8k and god-forbid a 10k, I would probably die.

GS: What is the most difficult course you've ever run? 

DS: In high school cross county, we went to this tiny high school call Brookwood. The high school and course are on a hill that is a steady third of a mile up. It's pretty much hell.

GS: What is the most unusual or creative workout you've ever run at practice? 

DS: My first year at camp Plaz made us swim across Lake Belle Taine. That was interesting. It ended up not going well that year so we don't do that anymore.

DS: What team or individual performance are you most proud of? 

 

GS: I am most proud of our team getting 3rd at Big Ten's last year. They overcame a relatively tough season and did really well.

DS: Where is your favorite place to run? 

GS: I like Danger Ranger. The whereabouts of this run are closely guarded team secret.

GS: What is your favorite Minnesota tradition?

DS: Definitely the Perham rouser.

GS: What is the coolest part of being a member of the Minnesota cross country team? 

DS: Just knowing that I am here to wear the Maroon and Gold and knowing the truth about them rotten Badgers.

GS: What is the hardest part of being on the Minnesota cross country team? 

DS: It definitely would have to be wearing 10 pounds of clothing in the winter just to stay warm.

GS: What advice would you give a new runner? 

GS: Listen to your body and believe in the program. The first year here is slow. But after that you will become a totally new runner.

GS: What have you learned from cross country that has helped you in other aspects of your life?
 

DS: If you don't put in the hard work, you aren't going to see any results. Remains true for everything.

GS: Do you have a favorite sports movie? 

DS: Happy Gilmore. Nothing better.

GS: Where is your favorite place to eat on campus?
 

DS: Annie's for sure. As long as we are eating indoors.

GS: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?.

DS: Katy Perry! I am a big Katy Perry guy.

GS: Do you have any race-day superstitions? 

DS: Nope, I just do what I think I need to do.

GS:  What are your goals for this season?
 

DS: I would like to help make sure that our team sticks together through thick and thin. Without great chemistry, it can be hard to support your teammates when they need it most.

 GS: What is your favorite sport outside of cross-country or track and field?
 

DS: Tetherball, especially at Lake Belle Taine. Otherwise turtle-hunting (turtles remain unharmed).

 GS: What motivates you to run and compete?
 

DS: To see my body progress to higher levels than I ever thought it could.

GS: What is one talent or skill you have outside of running? 

DS: I can be a pretty artist person when I feel like it, otherwise I am an avid angler.

GS: If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?

DS: I would travel back in time to meet Abraham Lincoln. I think he would have a been a cool guy to hang out with.

Frozen M: Shaver Talks About His New Broadcast Partner

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GS: How do you feel about bring reunited with Frank again calling Gopher Hockey?

WS: Frank and I worked together for quite a few years in the 1980s doing both Gopher Hockey and the North Stars. We are kind of doing a role reversal now, as I am the play-by-play guy and he is the analyst now. It was the other way around before. But I am really looking forward to it because he is the consummate professional. He understands the media business extremely well and for him and I it will just be like putting on a pair of gloves. We know what to do. I think it is really important for Gopher Hockey fans to know that they have a couple of people who are doing the broadcast this year that will not only share insight, but hopefully offer a whole lot of other sidebars, notes about the team and history of the league.

GS: You have done both color and play-by-play, but this is the first that Frank will be doing color. How do you think he will adjust?

WS: I think he will do fine. The largest adjustment that he may have to make is that he does not have video support to reference some of the things that may have gone on out on the ice. They will have to be verbally described. That is why I do not think it is as critical in radio that you have an analyst who has played the game. Frank certainly has a great understanding of the sport and will convey what he sees to the audience.

GS: How do you think the fans will react now that Frank is back calling Gopher Hockey?

WS: There were a lot of years where Gopher Hockey outdrew the Wild on television in ratings and viewership. A lot of people recognize Frank from television and I think that is going to be a huge plus for Gopher Hockey fans. Also, the move over to ESPN Radio is going to be huge. Now our fans know that if they go to one spot on the dial they are going to find Gopher Hockey on Friday and Saturday nights. They won't have to search for the game. I understand that free internet streaming is now available also on gophersports.com.

The fans are going to get continuity. Both of us are professional broadcasters. We have a great understanding of the game and a good understanding of the Gopher program. Also from the production side there will be more elements that we can put into the broadcast that we did not always do in the past.

GS: Frank said that you will have to be his tour guide in Anchorage this year because he has never been there before. What can expect on that trip?

WS: Well, he can look forward to the greatest stuffed halibut that he will ever eat. The place is two blocks from the hotel and is fantastic. Hopefully we can stay an extra day or two and get some sightseeing in as well because there is unbelievable stuff to see in and around Anchorage.

Frozen M: Paper Clipping - Sept. 12

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Barriball with a goal (SB Nation

Frozen M: Paper Clippings - Sept. 11

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Goligoski "one of most important player for the Stars" (TSN)

Fairchild, Barriball ones to watch in Traverse City tourney (Bleedin' Blue)

Who will be Leopold's D partner in Buffalo? (Buffalo News)

Reviewing Ryan Flynn (On The Forecheck)

Somebody posted it, so we will show it. Kyle Rau high school goal. (Vimeo)

Blog: McKnight, Stoudermire have career days in loss

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McKnight Has Career Day in Loss
By Michael Molde
GopherSports.com


MINNEAPOLIS -- Wide receiver Da'Jon McKnight had a career-best effort in Minnesota's 28-21 loss to New Mexico State on Saturday, catching nine passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. But it was difficult to focus on any individual accomplishments after what took place late in the fourth quarter.
Go Gophers! McKnight
Go Gophers!
Da'Jon McKnight had a career-high 9 catches for 146 yards Saturday.
Go Gophers!

With 0:20 remaining in the loss to the Aggies, Gophers head coach Jerry Kill collapsed on the sideline from what doctors described as a reoccurrence of a seizure disorder. He was immediately attended to by medical personnel. Team doctor Pat Smith said his vital signs were normal as he was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for further observation.

Following a lengthy delay while Kill was being treated on the sideline, the Gophers took the field for a 4th and 10 from NMSU's 25 yard line. But Minnesota's final pass attempt was batted down to allow the Aggies to win their first game in seven tries against a Big Ten opponent.

"It was hard going back out there," McKnight said. "But we knew we had to go out there and finish the game. We knew (Coach) Kill would want us to go out there and score and win the game. We tried to give it our all to go out there and score."

It was the fourth career 100-yard receiving game for McKnight, a 6-3 senior from Dallas, Texas (Skyline HS). He had five receptions for 74 yards in the first half, and added four balls for 72 yards and a four-yard scoring strike from junior quarterback MarQueis Gray with 11:47 remaining in the game to pull the Gophers within seven points.

McKnight, who was limited to four catches for 48 yards in the season-opening loss at nationally-ranked Southern California, helped Minnesota come close to rallying from a pair of 14-point deficits, but the Gophers fell just short at the end.

The Gophers threw for 238 yards in the loss, with Gray completing 16-of-32 passes for 211 yards and two TDs, and true freshman Max Shortell completing two-of-seven passes for 27 yards when Gray was being treated for cramps early in the second half.

Stoudermire sets Big Ten return record
Go Gophers! Stoudermire
Go Gophers!
Troy Stoudermire set the Big Ten record for career return yards Saturday.
Go Gophers!

By Justine Buerkle
GopherSports.com

MINNEAPOLIS - With a 22-yard kickoff return to open the second half, Troy Stoudermire broke the Big Ten Conference career record for kick return yardage. The Golden Gopher senior surpassed the 3,025-yard mark set by Wisconsin's David Gilreath. With Minnesota falling to New Mexico State, 28-21, and head coach Jerry Kill leaving the game with a medical issue, this record-breaking performance provided a bright spot on a tough day for the Gophers.

Coach Kill Health Status

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9:30 p.m. UPDATE: For the latest on Coach Kill's status as of Saturday night, please read our official news release.

6:30 p.m.: The media was just addressed by Gophers team doctor Pat Smith following the episode, an apparent seizure, suffered by head coach Jerry Kill during today's game. He says that Coach Kill, who since his cancer, has a history of seizures, is currently in stable condition at a local hospital. After being medicated, Kill responded appropriately, Smith said.

"Coach Kill had an event today on the sideline. It was a seizure," said Smith. "Coach Kill has a history of seizures and he is stable. He has been transported to the hospital and there will be updates there after."

"He has a history of them since his cancer, which has been well controlled through medications," continued Smith. "There is a history of trouble with dehydration and heat seems to kick that up. It was very hot and humid today, we have to do a better job as a medical staff keeping him hydrated."

Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover also addressed the media after the game regarding Coach Kill.

"Anytime you see something like that happen even if it's happened before its tough, it takes the wind out of you," said Limegrover. "Unfortunately that the biggest thing right now is for a lot of people it's a state of shock. For us coaches we kind of know what we need to get things done to make sure the ship stays on course so to speak."

We will have more information when it becomes available.

Blog: Intro Video Sneak Peak

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We released this on Facebook and Twitter today, but wanted to post it on GopherSports.com as well -- but wanted to give readers of the official Golden Gopher Football Blog a look as well! This is the official intro video that the team will run out to at today's game -- we think it turned out great! Share it with your Facebook friends and Tweet it to your followers to show your Gopher pride!

Coach Kill on Campus!

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Coach Kill took some time out from his game day preparations this morning from about 10:45 to noon to walk around the U of M campus and meet with students, shaking hands, handing out Snickers bars (who doesn't love Snickers?) and giving out free tickets.

Coach had some great discussions with students going to and from class, with tons of people coming outside (he was on Pleasant St. and on the Northrop Mall) to see what their new football coach is all about. Coach made it clear -- he wants to see the entire campus community out at TCF Bank Stadium tomorrow for the home opener!

Coach Kill also had a good afternoon on Twitter -- people Tweeting pictures of his on-campus appearance and the general buzz surrounding tomorrow's game allowed both "#jerrykill" and "#CoachKill" to become trending topics at one point! Saturday's Coming!

Frozen M: Paper Clippings - Sept. 10

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Frank, Wally and Pat. Oh my! (GopherSports.com)

Mazzocco talks airwaves return (Frozen M)

Strib with a story on the radio announcement (Star Tribune) and The Emperor with a blog post (The Roman Empire)

Disch chimes in on the radio announcement (Examiner)

Meet the five new forwards (SB Nation)

"Goligoski is vital to the Stars' success this season." No pressure there. (Yahoo! Puck Daddy)

Erik Johnson mentioned more than once in a Colorado round table... (SB Nation)

...and he is taking a liking to Denver (NHL.com)

Captain Okposo? (NHL.com)

Jordan Schroeder: "It's a big jump from college to pro." (The Province)

Another Lucia heading to Penticton - for a few days at least (Mercury News)


Frozen M: Mazzocco Talks Radio

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We caught up with Frank Mazzocco recently about his return to airwaves calling Gopher Hockey.

GS: Do you have any special memories of working with Wally in the 1980s?

FM: When Wally and I worked TV together there was a game when I heard some commotion during a commercial break in the stands. This was at old Mariucci and I took my headphones off. The whole building was chanting, "Frank, Wally! Frank, Wally!" I don't know how long it had been going on. I don't know if it had been going on just that night or for a couple of games, but I nudged Wally and told him to take his headphones off. We both looked at each other with this stunned amazement that there were people who knew us and were following us. That is what I am looking forward to getting back this year, that partnership that we had and that relationship with the fans. That was one of the more passionate and moving things that I have ever gone through in those early days in Mariucci Arena. If we can bring that kind of interest back, that will be just outstanding.

GS: Frank, you were the play-by-play announcer for so many years for the Gophers on television. How do think you will adjust to being the analyst?

FM: It will be an interesting switch, and I cannot say that I know what to expect. What I need to do is keep in mind that I need to play off my partner whether I am doing play-by-play or color so that we compliment what each other is saying. It will be different. It is a different skill set, but I think that I can add a lot by just doing my homework and research. In television, you do not have time to do a lot of additional stuff as speakers because there is so much stuff that is pre-produced and video driven. In radio, it will just be Wally and I. So getting to know the players and getting to know the coaches again and then feeding that information to the listener, that is what I feel my job will be. I am looking forward to it a lot.

GS: What was last season like for you? You had been around the program for so long, but last you were not.

FM: Once the decision was made in spring 2010 I was able to plunge into my photography business and stayed busy. But then you begin to feel it. You miss the excitement of the playoffs and my workload had come down after the holidays so I really began to miss being around the game last spring.

GS: You were only gone a year, but a lot of things have changed. The WCHA has expanded to 12 teams. The Gophers will soon be joining the Big Ten. Mike Guentzel is back on staff. What do you make of all these changes?

FM: I think all the changes will probably be a good thing for me because I cannot expect to move into an easy chair like things used to be. Things have changed radically, and they are going to continue to change in the next couple of years for college hockey too. It will force me to get off dead center and rethink some things. There are also some stories that I need to get caught up on that were taking place during my transition the last 18 months.

GS: Now that you are back, what is one road trip you are looking forward to the most?

FM: I always enjoyed going to the Rocky Mountains and to Colorado, so the Denver trip is going to be great. I am looking forward to the new arena in Duluth and I have never been to Anchorage, so I am looking forward to that as well. I will need Wally to serve as tour guide for me and show me what all the excitement is about up there.

GS: You were only gone a year, so you still know some of the current players. Is there a player or players that you are excited to see on the ice again?

FM: One thing that struck me right away is that Taylor Matson is captain. I got to know him just a little bit because of his injury situation in his first couple of years. I knew him as a character guy and a quality guy and missed seeing him play because of the injuries. I am looking forward to seeing him play. The naming of the captain to me is always a big deal. There are so few in Gopher Hockey history, so I am always looking forward to finding out who the new captain is going to be.

From a distance, what I saw last year was a pretty darn good freshman class. This year's recruiting class is going to be among one of the better ones of the last few years for the Gophers. That roughly gives the Gophers half a roster on the upswing. Now, it will take the freshmen awhile to develop, but those are some positive signs to build off of.

GS: The freshmen are not the only new part of the program this year, as Mike Guentzel is also back on the staff. What do you think Guentzel coming back to the staff will mean?

FM: I can tell you what it means to a lot of people on the street, which is basically where I spent the last year and a half. People are really excited and I think that will rub off on the players. The players are going to have a good sounding board. They are going to have a guy they can go to with what delights them and what ails them. Mike has a really good ear and he will listen to them, but he also has a way of giving a real good swift kick in the rear end too. Players know he will listen, and fans know he will motivate.

GS: You came to one game last year. What will it feel like walking back into Mariucci Arena this season?  

FM: I am really looking forward to it. I missed not being around, but I knew it would have been painful to be around last year and being on the outside. I would have enjoyed going to games and walking around the concourse and seeing everything as a fan, but I could not do it. I needed to have a little separation. It will be nice to come back as part of the Gopher Hockey clan, and I am very much looking forward to it.

Frozen M: Paper Clippings - Sept. 9

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Blake Wheeler went for a skate in Winnipeg... (Winnipeg Free Press)

...and talked about being traded from the team that won the Cup... (Winnipeg Sun)

...then he said some nice things about Evander Kane (Winnipeg Sun)

Erik Johnson is a Breakout Player to Watch according to the folks in Canada (TSN)

Ryan Potulny is going to be missed (SenShot

Another vote for Vanek to captain Buffalo (SabreNoise)

Tony Lucia wants to build an apartment unit (Patch.com)

Another 2011-12 WCHA prediction. Scroll down to see where this Wisconsin fan picked the Gophers to finish in the league (Bucky's Fifth Quarter)

Women's Gymnastics Reports for Fall Semester

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The Golden Gopher women's gymnastics team started fall classes this week and welcomed the freshman class to Peik Gym. The team is holding volunteer practices until official team practices are allowed beginning on Sept. 23.

Q&A: Aggie Analysis

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Throughout the season I'll chat with a media member who covers the opponent each week and bring you that interview in a Q&A format here in the Golden Gopher Football Blog. This week, we talked to Teddy Feinberg, who covers the New Mexico State Aggies for the Las Cruces Sun-News.

Go Gophers! Gopher Gridiron logo
Teddy Feinberg
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News
Go Gophers!
GopherSports.com: What did the Aggies learn about themselves in Week One that will help them in the game against Minnesota?

Teddy Feinberg: They learned that they can throw the ball on offense and that their defensive line/run defense is in trouble.

GopherSports.com: Just how good is the New Mexico State passing game? They threw for a ton of yards last week.

Teddy Feinberg: The Aggie passing game is effective as long as quarterback Andrew Manley has time to throw the ball. He has a strong arm and there is talent at wide receiver.

GopherSports.com: Was it a function of being down early last week, or is the run game going to be a struggle for the Aggies?

Teddy Feinberg: The running game struggled because the Aggie offensive line played poorly. You need holes to run through as a runner, can't just run over people all game.

GopherSports.com: Tell me about Taveon Rogers. He seems like a great weapon in the kick return game.

Teddy Feinberg: Taveon is a very good athlete who has good speed. I anticipate teams will kick away from him as the year goes. In the passing game, defensive coordinators have to double team him.

GopherSports.com: What's the biggest storyline for New Mexico State heading into this week's game?

Teddy Feinberg: Can the Aggies block better on the offensive line. If so, they should be able to score some points. Defensively, how are they going to stop Minnesota's rushing attack?

GopherSports.com: Who/what has the Aggies' attention in regard to Minnesota?

Teddy Feinberg: The Aggies have to be concerned about the Gophers penchant to run the football. NMSU's defensive line is thin on bodies and will be in trouble against Minnesota's physical line and power-run game.

GopherSports.com: How does Minnesota win this game?

Teddy Feinberg: Run the ball.

GopherSports.com: How does New Mexico State win this game?

Teddy Feinberg: Block better on offense and outscore the Gophers.

-UM-

Goldy knows Saturday's Coming

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Here at the U, we're just as pumped for Saturday's football opener as you are! Everybody is busy with preparations for the first home game of the Jerry Kill era, and that includes the hardest-working mascot in sports -- Goldy Gopher! We caught Goldy in the middle of his training regimen the other day -- check it out, and go Gophers!

Gopher Gridiron guest post: Home Sweet Home

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Occasionally here on the official Golden Gopher Football Blog, we'll be featuring guest contributors. One of those is going to be Mike Ricci, editor and webmaster of the football program's official site -- GoldenGopherGridiron.com. Mike discusses Saturday's home opener in his second entry (read his first here).
Go Gophers! Gopher Gridiron logo
Go Gophers!
Check out GoldenGopherGridiron.com for even more football content this season!.
Go Gophers!

Well, here we are. One more day until the first Gophers game at TCF Bank Stadium since the Maroon and Gold marched off with Floyd of Rosedale last November. It's been a long ten months, hasn't it? Well, wait no more Gopher Football is back in session in Minneapolis this Saturday. After a week of practicing, studying video, and class, the Gophers seem intent on improving their overall record to 1-1.

After being on the sidelines last weekend against USC on thing became abundantly clear --- Gopher fans are hungry. The section of Gopher fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum made their presence known after Brandon Green's fourth quarter touchdown. As Green crossed the goal line a hush smothered the stadium while a modest population of maroon and gold echoed throughout the storied venue. Despite being in the lion's den, we were represented. And the players could feel the support.


If These Walls Could Talk

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This fall there are some new additions in the hallways of Ridder Arena, murals depicting some of the finest moments in Gopher women's hockey history. Both sides of the hallway near the Gophers' locker room are full of images of celebration and excellence, a constant reminder to the current team of the great GWH tradition that they are now a part of, and an inspiration to achieve more highlights to be added to the hallway in the future.

In the first video, you'll see images from Minnesota's national championship teams in 2000, 2004 and 2005. We also see images of Patty Kazmaier Award Winner Krissy Wendell. At the end of the mural are photos of all the WCHA Championship teams, and wow, there are a lot of them in the short 12-year history of the WCHA women's league.

The second video shows more great moments in Gopher women's hockey history, including lots of celebration photos and images of team captains from recent seasons.

 

Welcome the Gopher Volleyball blog!

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Welcome to the Gopher Volleyball blog! We'll have more content up here shortly -- but for right now, we just wanted to welcome you! Keep checking back here for more content.

Frozen M: Paper Clippings - Sept. 8

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Thomas Vanek's life was affected by yesterday's horrific plane crash in Russia. Thoughts and prayers. (WBEN)

Nick Angell talks about yesterday's tragedy and his time playing in the KHL. (Star Tribune)

No Gopher connection here, but college hockey is one big family and Alabama-Huntsville could be in trouble. (College Hockey News)

Feel free to help if you are able. (saveuahhockey.com)

Ryan Potulny. Helping out. (Gateway)

Some nice words about Nick Leddy from way up north. (TSN)

Rube Bjorkman checks in at No. 77 (MN Hockey Hub)

2011 Schedule Announced

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Whats up Gopher Wrestling fans?

Today the schedule has been posted on Gophersports.com
 It looks like it will be another exciting season of Gopher Wrestling. Right off the bat the Gophers travel out east to take on Cornell and 2011 National Champion Penn State, in State College, PA. 

Other key dates are Dec. 12 at Central Michigan and Dec. 14 at Oklahoma State.

Minnesota will host Iowa State on Friday Dec. 9 at Williams Arena. So make sure you mark that date on your calenders!

Check it out and leave a comment on what you think about the schedule!

11/12/11Bison OpenFargo, N.D.All Day
11/18/11at CornellIthaca, NY7:00 p.m. CT
11/20/11at Penn State *State College, PATBA
11/27/11vs. North Dakota StateSports Pavilion2:00 p.m. CT
12/02/11at Central MichiganMount Pleasant, MI7:30 p.m. CT
12/04/11at Oklahoma StateStillwater, OK1:00 p.m. CT
12/09/11vs. Iowa StateWilliams Arena7:00 p.m. CT
Southern Scuffle
01/01/12Southern ScuffleChattanooga, TNAll Day
01/02/12Southern ScuffleChattanooga, TNAll Day
01/08/12vs. Ohio State *Sports Pavilion2:00 p.m. CT
01/13/12at Illinois *Champaign, IL7:00 p.m. CT
01/15/12at Purdue *West Lafayette, IN2:00 p.m. CT
01/22/12vs. Wisconsin *Sports Pavilion2:00 p.m. CT
01/27/12vs. Michigan *Sports Pavilion7:00 p.m. CT
01/29/12at Iowa *Iowa City, IA2:00 p.m. CT
02/05/12vs. Nebraska *Sports PavilionTBA
National Duals
02/11/12NWCA National DualsPiscataway, NJAll Day
National Duals Final Four
02/18/12NWCA National Duals Final FourTBAAll Day
Big Ten Championships
03/03/12Big Ten ChampionshipsWest Lafayette, INAll Day
03/04/12Big Ten ChampionshipsWest Lafayette, INAll Day
NCAA Championships
03/15/12NCAA ChampionshipsSt. Louis, MOAll Day
03/16/12NCAA ChampionshipsSt. Louis, MOAll Day
03/17/12NCAA ChampionshipsSt. Louis, MOAll Day

Kill: "Film Never Lies"

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Last week here in the Golden Gopher Football Blog, I talked about head coach Jerry Kill's plan to videotape the sidelines during last week's game vs. USC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He was asked this week if he, indeed, taped the action on the sideline as well as on the field.

He did. And he didn't like everything he saw.

"We did a little extra running," Kill said during his Tuesday press conference. "I thought there was a group that did a great job, and we had a group that could have done better. And film don't lie. So it's a great thing. Film never lies. You can always try to work it to make it lie, but good players are good players and the ones that don't do what they're supposed to, they always seem to show up. You learn a lot about your team filming that sideline."

So, who and what exactly was being taped while they were on the sideline?

"The whole thing," Kill said. "I want to see how we're operating. You can tell when players come off frustrated. It doesn't mean you get on them, those kind of things, but if you got a kid that's frustrated, sometimes you don't see that as a coach.  So then you can talk to him on Sunday or even after the game, say, hey, we understand you're a competitor, but you gotta play with great composure and so forth."

So, even the coaches are subject to being graded on how they handled themselves on the sideline?

"You can also see how coaches react, see how I react," Kill said. "I look at myself, too. I did an okay job for a while and there was a few times I didn't do so good either, didn't hold my composure.  So we all need to be evaluated sometimes, held accountable."

Accountability from the team was gained through extra running. But what about Coach Kill? The Star-Tribune's Phil Miller asked him if he doled out some extra conditioning to himself for not always keeping his composure. The head coach never actually said if he ran or not. We're guessing he didn't. But his response was funny and good-natured.

Frozen M: Paper Clippings

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The Emperor predicts who will win the WCHA (Star Tribune)

Tony Bianchi is the latest former Gopher recognized for being good at hockey (MN Hockey Hub)

A vote for Thomas Vanek to wear the C in Buffalo (BuffaloWins)

Shooter on why the Gophs will be indoors all season and who is getting skating lessons at Mariucci (Pioneer Press)

Caps' coach Bruce Boudreau says Ryan Potulny may be involved in training camp's most intense battle (Washington Post)

Phil Kessel takes BP in Toronto (The Star)

Blues announce prospect camp roster and two recent Gophers are on it (STLToday)

Speaking of prospect camp rosters, Jordan Schroeder and Vancouver (The Province)

Blake Wheeler gets the up close and personal treatment (Winnipeg Free Press)

Erik Johnson has a message for the Washington Capitals (Denver Post)

Welcome to the GWH blog!

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It's a day of beginnings for Gopher Women's Hockey: the first day of the 2011-12 school year here on the U of M campus and the first entry on the new GWH blog!

We'll use this blog to keep you updated with the latest news, fun facts, and behind-the-scenes info on the University of Minnesota women's hockey team. If you're not already following us on Facebook and Twitter, join us there as well. 

Our 2011-12 season will be starting in just a few short weeks. So much for hockey being a winter sport, huh? We'll be starting official practice on Sept. 17, and are already started with captains' practice. On Saturday, Sept. 24, we'll hold our exhibition game, the Maroon & Gold game. The exhibition will start at 10 a.m. and has free admission so we hope you'll come out to Ridder Arena to join us. 

Tickets for the 2011-12 season will be available soon on mygophersports.com. If you're a University of Minnesota student, you get free admission to all regular-season women's hockey games when you show your U Card. You can't beat that deal!

The regular season starts Friday, Sept. 30 when we host the East/West Showcase. Our full season schedule is available here. Please note that we've had a few schedule changes since our pocket schedules were printed, so if you have one of our snazzy pocket schedules, remember these changes:

  • Maroon & Gold Game (exhibition) was moved from Sept. 23 to Sept. 24. The start time is 10 a.m. at Ridder Arena
  • The start time was moved back an hour for Minnesota vs. New Hampshire on Friday, Nov. 18, the game will now start at 7 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.
  • The start times for our games at Harvard over Thanksgiving weekend have been changed. We'll be playing at 4 p.m. eastern (3 p.m. central) on Saturday, Nov. 26 and at 1 p.m. eastern (noon central) on Sunday, Nov. 27
Throughout the season, we'd love to hear from you, our faithful GWH fans! Let us know what you'd like to see here, and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Feel free to submit questions and we'll do our best to answer them. 

Welcome to the Minnesota Wrestling Blog!

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Gopher Fans!

Good day and I would like to welcome you to the Minnesota Golden Gopher Wrestling Blog! My name is Michael Levy and I am the wrestling communications contact for the 2011-12 season. I am very excited about working with this years squad and I hope you all are getting excited for Gopher wrestling!

This blog that is something new this year will be a place to catch up on updates from the team during the year, as well as gophersports.com. For the 2011-12 season there will be a weekly feature with a team member (20 questions, catching up with alumni, individual article etc.) that will let you learn more about the team. My goal with this blog is to be able to bring you a little more in depth analysis about the wrestling team from Day 1 until the final day in St. Louis! 

I hope everyone is getting pumped up for yet another exciting Golden Gopher Wrestling season! Continue to check back here for updates as well as Facebook and Twitter. 

Looking forward to a great year! 

One Last thing... If anyone has an idea for a cool title for this blog please let me know! Coach J Robinson would like the blog to have something that stands out, so all ideas are welcomed! Contact me via blog or by email mdlevy@umn.edu.

Go Gophers! 


Gophers Look Forward to Home Sweet Home

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Coach Kill Tuesday Press Conference Transcript

After spending more than six hours on an airplane in a 36-hour span last weekend, Gopher head football coach Jerry Kill is happy simply not to have to fly to this week's game. But even more than avoiding the hassles of air travel, Kill is looking forward to his team playing a home game after last weekend's near miss at Southern California.

"I'm excited about going out there and getting the bad taste out of my mouth and see if we can get better," Kill said Tuesday afternoon. "I'm excited about being here at home. Shoot, I wish we could go out and play on Thursday."

According to junior linebacker Mike Rallis the Gophers are just as excited to be playing at The Bank on Saturday when New Mexico State visits for a 2:37 p.m. contest.

"I really enjoy playing in front of our fans at TCF Bank Stadium," Rallis said. "It's a great stadium. We have great fans. So I am looking forward to that."

Senior running back Duane Bennett said playing at TCF Bank Stadium is "always a great experience.

"To have those guys behind us as the 12th person onf the field with the crowd noise is really going to be a unique experience with Coach Kill entering his first (year) as the head coach at Minnesota," Bennett added. "We are looking forward to getting after it on Sautrday."

Not only does he look forward to playing a home game at TCF Bank Stadium, but Kill said he also realizes what kind of asset The Bank can be in recruiting.

"We're blessed," Kill said of TCF Bank Stadium. "There's no question about that, and we're excited about that. I'm excited about having the opportunity to be here. I'm blessed with it. But I'm excited, to be honest with you. I like playing at home.  And I'm excited about having our fans there."

Kill is hoping the tens of thousands who will file into TCF Bank Stadium this weekend are as vocal as the one or two thousand who were in Los Angeles last weekend to cheer the Gophers on in their contest vs. USC.

"Our fans were awesome out at USC," Kill said. "We're in the fourth quarter and having a chance to win and our crowd in the corner was as loud as their crowd. We had a great following, and it's going to be great to be here at home."


Welcome To The Blog

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By Paul Rovnak

Oh, why hello there. We are glad you found our new blog and will keep this brief so your boss does not catch you surfing the Internet. We plan on using this space to post a whole bunch of information including photos, line charts, links to stories, polls, twitter follower suggestions, audio/video interviews and a lot of other really cool stuff that you need to know. So if you have not bookmarked this page yet, you may as well do it now.

You know about GopherSports.com or you would not have found this page in the first place. However, you can also keep up with Gopher Hockey on FaceBook and Twitter as well. We use those sites to keep our fans updated throughout the year and especially during games and weekly media availability with players and coaches.

We also enjoy getting feedback from Gopher Hockey fans so feel free to send us comments via FaceBook, Twitter or on here. If there is a certain story you want to see, let us know about it and we will try our best to bring it to you. If you have a question about Gopher Hockey, ask away, and we will try our best to get it answered for you.

Also, if anyone has a good name for the blog, let us know. It kind of needs a name.

Go Gophers!

20 Questions with Jamie Vandenberg

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Throughout the 2011 season we will be bringing you either a set of 20 questions from a Golden Gopher cross country squad member or an article focusing on a student-athlete from this years team. In our first crack at 2011, gophersports.com talked with Niagara, Wis. sophomore Jamie Vandenberg.

Gophersports.com: Use five words to describe yourself.   

Jamie Vandenberg: Friendly, easy-going, personable, loud, tall

GS: Describe your perfect day - who would you spend it with, what would you do, where would you be?
JV: At my cottage in Rhinelander with my family and friends! Out on the water tubing and skiing all day and around the campfire roasting hot dogs and marshmallows at night!

GS: What is your pre-race routine?
JV: I get up and eat a bowl of cereal and a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana slices. I listen to my ipod while I'm getting the rest of my race gear together. Once we're at the course, we do team affirmations and then warm up for about 2 miles. I do drills and strides and play one last song. Then its team cheer and RACE TIME!

GS: Other than the Gophers, what is your favorite sports team? (College or Pro)
JV: GREEN BAY PACKERS!!!!

GS:  What do you miss the most about being at home?
JV: My mom's delicious cooking!

GS:  Who was the most famous person you have ever met?
JV: Gary Wilson

GS:  If your life was to be turned into a movie, what genre would it be; what would the title be; what actor would you have star in it?
JV: I would be in a documentary with Morgan Freeman called "Jamie: the Movie" and he would narrate my life.

GS: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
JV: New Zealand

GS: What was the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
JV: In Kindergarten, I wore a dress to the first day of school. A boy lifted it up and showed the entire class my underwear... that was the end of dresses for a while.

GS: What is the best advice you have received? Who was it from?
JV: "Remember what is most important... it's not having everything go right, it's facing whatever goes wrong. It's not being without fear; it's having the determination to go on in spite of it. Remember that every day ends and brings a new tomorrow full of exciting new things. Love what you do, and do the best you can!"- From my high school volleyball coach, Mrs. St. Arnauld.

GS: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?

JV: My Ipod is currently not in use so I've been using my dad's... Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire, tends to pop up a lot.

GS:  If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?
JV: I would go back in time to give Ben & Jerry a pat on the back for giving the world FREE CONE DAY!

GS: Where is your favorite place at the University of Minnesota?
JV: Stone Arch Bridge

GS:  What is your major? Why did you choose this major?
JV: My Major is Kinesiology with a focus on pre-PA. I chose kinesiology because I think learning about the mechanics behind the movement in our bodies is really interesting.


GS: What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?

JV: What cereal should I have this morning??

GS:  Do you have any siblings? How many?
JV: I have 3 siblings. Robin and Hollie are my two older sisters and Darren is my older brother.

GS: What is your favorite class or professor so far at Minnesota, and why?
JV: Although it was really stressful most days, I liked going to Chemistry lab. Taking it with Missa Varpness might have helped... we were definitely laughing more than mixing chemicals!

GS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
JV: ice cream

GS:  Who was your role-model as a child? Why? Has your role model changed now that you are older?
JV: My role models have always been my parents. They are the two most dedicated, loving, and kind-hearted people I know.

GS: How has being a student and athlete at Minnesota influenced your life?
JV: By joining this team, I have been blessed with a second family who is always there for me!

 

20 Questions With Sean Olson

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Throughout the 2011 season we will be bringing you either a set of 20 questions from a Gopher cross country squad member or an article focusing on a student-athlete from this years team. In our first crack at 2011 gophersports.com talked with Menomonie, Wis. senior Sean Olson.

Gophersports.com: Why did you first decide to become a runner? 
Sean Olson: The first time I realized I wanted to be a runner was in elementary school. In 4th grade we had to run the mile for the first time. I was the best kid in my class, it was my first ever race victory! I have loved it ever since.

GS:What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when moving from high school cross country to running in college?
SO: In high school, my main motivation was to win races. I never really entered a race that I couldn't win. In college, the level of competition obviously changes. I have had to change my mindset entering into a race since I have entered college. It is about working with teammates and trying to PR in order to help the team. I also have less control over races, in high school I could dictate the pace and manipulate the race. In college, it is much harder to take control of larger, more competitive races.

GS: What is the most difficult course you've ever run?
SO: Hands down, the University of Michigan course.


GS: What is the most unusual or creative workout you've ever run at practice?

SO: During some recovery runs, we will leap-frog up a hill as a cross training activity. That is kind of strange I guess.

GS: What team or individual performance are you most proud of? 

SO: For the team, it has to be qualifying for nationals in 2010 at the Regional Meet in Peoria, IL. We were a bubble team and we came in and got the job done. It wasn't the best team we have had and we were missing Hassan due to injury and we came together with a lot of young talent and made it happen.


GS: Where is your favorite place to run?
 
SO: River Road, it never gets old.

GS: What is your favorite Minnesota tradition?
SO: Singing the rouser at camp. "M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A!!!!!"

GS: What is the coolest part of being a member of the Minnesota cross country team?
SO: Putting on the jersey and actually knowing you're representing the University of Minnesota. You get to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics. It's pretty special.

GS: What is the hardest part of being on the Minnesota cross country team?
SO: Probably staying positive even when times get hard. Winters can be cold, races can go poorly, and injuries happen. Things can seem bad but attitude can be everything in this sport.

GS: What advice would you give a new runner?
SO: Believe in the program, listen, work hard, and come with a positive attitude and you will get better in this program.

GS: What have you learned from cross country that has helped you in other aspects of your life?
 
SO: Resilience, whether it is injuries or bad performances or something else, to succeed at running you have to be able to push through, get back up after getting knocked down, and persevere. That carries over into the real world, it is always helpful to be able to push through hard times.

GS: Do you have a favorite sports movie?
 
SO: Remember the Titans

GS: Where is your favorite place to eat on campus?

SO: Mesa Pizza

GS: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?
SO: Mat Kearney just came out with a new CD that I really like but I never get tired of REO Speedwagon and Bruce Springsteen.

GS: Do you have any race-day superstitions?
SO: Not really anything crazy, I always do a shakeout run, eat a small breakfast, and stay focused.


GS: What are your goals for this season?

SO: I want to be part of a team that qualifies and places well at nationals. I also want to continue the great chemistry and cohesion that the team has exhibited in the past. Without a doubt, Minnesota cross country runners are some of the best and goofiest guys I have ever met. Maybe, it's cliché but the guys on the team are like family. It is important to me that we maintain that friendship and atmosphere.


GS: What is your favorite sport outside of cross-country or track and field?

SO: Basketball, especially college basketball.


GS: What motivates you to run and compete?

SO: Seeing how the work pays off. There is no better feeling than when you get to the end of a race and you still have a great kick left in your legs and you run a great time. You don't get that feeling without getting out the door and working hard.

GS: Outside of running, what do you enjoy to do?
SO: Watch movies.

GS: If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?
SO: I will say forward, because the Vikings haven't won a Super Bowl in the past but I know they have a lot of them coming in the future and I can't wait to see it! 




Unhappy With Loss, Gophers Can Build on Second Half

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Outscoring Southern California 14-0 in the second half and putting themselves in position to win the game in the final minutes should give the Gophers plenty of confidence as they approach the rest of the season.

"If we start every game like we did the second half, we'll be able to do some good things this season," quarterback MarQueis Gray said after the game.

Many of the Gophers shared the same sentiments after the game. But the team is by no means into -- or looking for -- moral victories. The Gophers felt like Saturday's season-opener was a game they could have and should have won.

"I was disappointed," head coach Jerry Kill said. "We had opportunities to win the game and didn't do some things early. I take responsibility for that. Give (the Gophers) credit. They bowed up and we competed our tails off in the second half. If we had played with that confidence and intensity in the second half, maybe it would have been a different story.

"It leaves a bitter taste when you feel you should have won," Kill added.

The beginning of the turnaround for the Gophers came before they even reached the locker room at halftime. Kill held a meeting on the field -- a regular halftime occurrence with his teams -- at the end of the first half. He took the opportunity during that meeting to let his team know in no uncertain terms that the way they were playing was unacceptable.

"I thought we were walking around in the first half, lethargic, not what I'm used to dealing with," Kill said. "There just wasn't any smoothness. I told the team (at halftime) you are going to play hard and bust your butt."

They did just that. The defense found a way to slow down USC wide receiver Robert Woods, who still set a school record for receptions in a game with 17. But 11 of those came in the first half, including all three Trojan touchdowns. In the second half, he was less effective, catching six balls for just more than 60 yards. 

Senior cornerback Troy Stoudermire had a simple answer when asked about what the defense did differently in the second half.

"That's an easy question and an easy answer," Stoudermire said. "We played better defense."

Stoudermire praised his coaches and teammates for making adjustments at halftime to slow the Trojans down and let the offense get back into the game.

Freshman quarterback Max Shortell said the team believed they were going to win the game, when they took the field with 2:04 left needing just a field goal to win it. Shortell was on in relief of starting quarterback MarQueis Gray who left the game with cramps early in the fourth quarter.

"I felt driving down on the previous possession things were going our way," Shortell said. "I definitely felt we had a great chance. All we needed was a field goal."

Kill said his team should be able to use the lessons learned Saturday.

"I compliment them on their effort and we'll build on it," Kill said. "We're going to keep working and move the program forward."

Notes:

> Kill also gave his strength and conditioning coach Eric Klein some credit for the second-half turnaround in Saturday's game. "We worked hard in the off-season on conditioning. They were faster than us in the first half. But in the second half, I thought we played faster than they did."

> USC's interception to seal their victory came right in front of the Gopher bench. Coach Kill and the Gophers clearly wanted a pass interference penalty at the time the play occurred. But he was complimentary of the pick by the Trojans' Torin Harris. "I'm a competitor. There were two guys going after it. Our guy played hard and their guy played hard and their guy made a play. I hollered, but I'm a competitor. There are no excuses."

> Gray said he couldn't remember the last time he dealt with cramps. "I'm not sure why it happened. I've been hydrating all week."

> Minnesota is 89-33-6 all-time in season openers after falling to USC today. It was the Gophers' first loss in a season opener since 2007. 

> Brock Vereen (12), Troy Stoudermire (11) and Kim Royston (10) all hit double figures in tackles. Vereen's number, which included nine solo stops, was a career- and game-high total. Stoudermire's total was also a career-best. 

> With 72 yards in kickoff returns today, Stoudermire needs just 24 more to tie David Gilreath of Wisconsin for the all-time Big Ten record in that category with 3,025. 

 

Countdown to USC, 1 Day: Great Turnout in LA

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Every road game, the U of M Alumni Association hosts a "Sota Social" on Friday night -- but there's never been a crowd quite like the one there was tonight. Called the "biggest gathering we've had so far," by Alumni Association CEO Phil Esten, passionate Gopher fans were out in force at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

The event, emceed by Gopher football radio voice Mike Grimm, featured Esten, President Eric Kaler, athletics director Joel Maturi, and of course, Goldy Gopher. But no one commanded the attention of the crowd like the star of the show, new head coach Jerry Kill. He promised the Gophers would be a team that "the great people of this state can be proud of."

Not a bad way to fire up the faithful before game day  -- Saturday's here!

Gophers Arrive in Los Angeles

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The Delta charter flight carrying the University of Minnesota football team to Los Angeles took off from Minneapolis at about 1 p.m. CT this afternoon. By 3 p.m. PT, the Gophers were on the ground at Los Angeles International Airport and it was time to go to work here in the City of Angels. 

Today's trip and tomorrow's game are a homecoming of sorts for a handful of Gophers who hail from California. Among the Californians who made the trip are Ge'Shun Harris (Corona, Calif.), Christyn Lewis (Fontana, Calif.), Brock Vereen (Valencia, Calif.) and Cedric Thompson (Calipatria, Calif.).

Vereen said he will have upwards of 30 friends and family members in attendance. He said he is thrilled to be playing in front of them. But he said this is certainly no vacation.

"I couldn't be happier with the opportunity to play so close to home," Vereen said. "When the plane landed at LAX, I was excited. It felt good to be home. But this time, it is with the mindset of a business trip."

The Gophers and Trojans will take care of that business at 12:30 p.m. PT/2:30 p.m. CT tomorrow at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Check out the video above. It's a bonus webisode provided by 3 Penny Films, which chronicled the Gophers' Friday morning leading up to leaving the Gibson-Nagurski Complex at around Noon today.

Go Gophers! plane shot
Go Gophers!
Gopher players get off the plane at Los Angeles International Airport Friday night.
Go Gophers!

Blog: National Coverage

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Go Gophers! coverage map
Go Gophers!
A huge portion of the country will see Minnesota-USC on ABC tomorrow.
Go Gophers!

In case you weren't already aware, tomorrow's game with USC is going to be broadcast on national TV -- ABC, specifically. However, until the game gets closer, you're never quite sure which parts of the country will see what games.

We just got the coverage map for tomorrow's slate of games on the ABC family of networks, and as it turns out, a huge swath of the country will get to watch the Gophers and Trojans, while parts of middle American (including including much of Wisconsin and Illinois) will see Western Michigan-Michigan, and will have to flip to ESPN2 to watch the Maroon and Gold.

It will be a well-covered debut for Jerry Kill and Gopher football, that's for sure! Will the Gophers be on where you live?

Blog: Getting Pumped Up

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In order to keep things new and fresh here on the official Golden Gopher Football Blog, we're planning on featuring guest contributors throughout the season. One of those contributors is going to be Mike Ricci, editor and webmaster of the football program's official site -- GoldenGopherGridiron.com. In his first post, Mike discusses the process behind the "4 Days" motivational video he created for the team (which you can view above). Enjoy!

There is nothing I enjoy more about my job than doing hype videos for GoldenGopherGridiron.com. The response to the videos has always been strong and I think I enjoy hearing what people think about the videos (how it gets them excited for Gopher Football) almost as much as I do making the videos.

Go Gophers! Minnesota kicks off the 2011 home season against No. 4 Texas
Go Gophers!
Check out GoldenGopherGridiron.com for even more football content this season!
Go Gophers!
I thought that "4 Days..." really did a nice job of capturing the atmosphere of camp at the University of Minnesota. The main idea was to spend the first half of the video in slow motion and showing the team practicing but without showing any contact.  The second half of the video, we're back in normal speed and showing contact drills. All of the contact shots came from the board drill where offensive and defensive lineman matchup and go head to head. It was the first bit of contact that we had seen during camp. After several months without any contact and hitting, you can imagine the hitting that day packed a little extra.

Countdown to USC, 2 Days: MarQueis Ready to "Have Fun"

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We're just 2 days away from the start of the 2011 season and the battle between your Golden Gophers and the USC Trojans at the LA Coliseum.

Today, we hear from the one man who could potentially have a bigger impact on the outcome of Saturday's game than any other person on the field, as least as far as the Gophers are concerned -- junior starting quarterback MarQueis Gray.

"I'm just trying to keep a level head right now," Gray says. "We've got to make less mistakes than we did last year, and everybody's got to go out and have fun."

Tomorrow marks the last of our 10-day countdown here on GopherSports.com -- and it's going to come to you from Los Angeles itself, as we catch up with the Gopher faithful who have made the trip to watch their school play at the Coliseum! Saturday's coming!

Captain's Blog Day 5: Gopher Olympics!

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Claire Rindo-Senior Captain

Gopher Olympics!
 
I cannot believe how fast camp flew by again this year! The team is even closer than when we arrived and we are a little bit more trained, rested, and united to come back to campus prepared for the upcoming season. Every year on the final day of Ely, we wrap-up camp with a whole group activity known as "Gopher Olympics."
 
Our entire team splits into smaller teams of four or five, get decked out in creative costumes, take on new identities with clever team names, and prepare ourselves for a series of three events.
The events include: Lightning, egg toss, and "Circle of Death". For those of you who do not know what circle of death is, the game involves two members of each team. One member runs in an inner circle clockwise, and the other team member runs in an outer circle counterclockwise. A senario is called out by our coach and team members must run to their partner and perform that senerio before everyone else does. The last team to complete the senario is out. An example of a senario is "Monkey in a tree", where one team member hops on the back of their teammate. This game is  certainly a team favorite! The winning team this year was "Scrunch with an emphasis on Crunch uh!" Other participating teams included "Nerd Alert", "Nyte-Rydr", "Neon Flash", "Five Card Stud", "G-force", "The Scirvy Unicorns", "The Gangster Geishas", "Team America"...etc.
 
Following another successful Gopher Olympics, the upper classmen and coaches were entertained after dinner by the Freshmen Skit, then off to pack up to head back to campus the following morning. The final day of Ely is always a bitter-sweet arrival; many of us looking forward to the start of school and the season, but still wanting to hold on to the final days of summer and enjoy the peacefulness, and care-free days in Ely. 

Blog: Trojan Topics

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Throughout the season I'll chat with a media member who covers the opponent each week and bring you that interview in a Q&A format here in the Golden Gopher Football Blog. This week, we talked to Gary Klein, who covers the USC Trojans for the Los Angeles Times.

Go Gophers! Minnesota kicks off the 2011 home season against No. 4 Texas
Go Gophers!
Gary Klein writes about the USC Trojans for the Los Angeles Times
Go Gophers!
Before we get to the our Q&A, Gopher fans can interact with Gary at 2 p.m. CT when he hosts a live chat to discuss Trojan football and this week's game vs. Minnesota. You can access the chat at latimes.com/sports. Follow Klein on Twitter as well @LATimesklein.

GopherSports.com: What are the biggest storylines surrounding the USC program as we head into the season-opener?

Gary Klein: The biggest storyline for USC throughout the offseason and heading into the season was the same: Will the defense be improved?
 
USC finished 84th among 120 major college teams in defense in 2010. The Trojans lost two consecutive games on last-second field goals. Even in its victories, including the win over Minnesota at Minneapolis, USC gave up points at the end of games.
 
Many of the players that were first-year starters last season are back. The unit looks bigger, stronger and faster. Monte Kiffin, the assistant head coach for defense, appears to have simplified some of the schemes.
 
But USC fans are bracing to see what happens on Saturday at the Coliseum.
 
At USC, everyone is always interested in who will be the starting tailback. Senior Marc Tyler, the leading rusher last season, would have had that distinction, but he was suspended for the opener, and possibly longer, because of a series of off-the-field incidents.
 
Junior Curtis McNeal, sophomore Dillon Baxter, redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan and, perhaps, freshman Amir Carlisle will share carries against Minnesota.

Quarterback Matt Barkley has been projected as a possible high first-round pick in the NFL draft. Will he play to the level of that billing?
 
GS.com: What effect, if any, do you think the NCAA sanctions against the Trojans will have on how the team performs this season and in this game?
 
GK: This is the second and final season that USC is not eligible to participate in a bowl game. The team also is not eligible to play in the inaugural Pac-12 Conference championship game.
 
The players and coaches are resigned to it, but it will not affect the way they perform against Minnesota. If USC were to lose a few games early some players might think more selfishly. That, however, is not unique to a team that cannot play in a bowl game.
 
The real goal for most top players, whether they are at USC or any other school, is to get to the NFL. If they get the opportunity to prove themselves in 12 games a season, missing out on a 13th is not that big of an issue.
 
Of course, if they finished the regular season 12-0....
 
GS.com: With a new coaching staff, new philosophies in place at Minnesota, how are the Trojans preparing for the Gophers?
 
GK: USC is preparing for Minnesota by studying tape of ...Northern Illinois and, perhaps, Southern Illinois.
 
Those, of course, were coaching stops for Jerry Kill and most of the veteran members of his staff. So while USC coaches are familiar with players such as MarQueis Gray, they have been more interested in studying the system and scheme that Kill has utilized at previous stops.
 
GS.com: Does the game last year have any effect on this year's game? Minnesota was with USC until mid-third quarter, but the Trojans cruised after the kickoff return for a score.
 
GK: Minnesota proved it could hang with USC so there shouldn't be any kind of intimidation factor, which USC enjoyed in its heyday under former coach Pete Carroll.
 
Last year's game was also the third game of the season for both teams, so they had had time to work out early problems. This is the opener for both. One would expect some mistakes by both.
 
GS.com: Who and what has USC's attention when it comes to the Gophers?
 
GK: MarQueis Gray obviously has USC's attention, though the Trojans cannot really know what to expect from him as a quarterback. They do remember, of course, that big mobile quarterbacks such as Vince Young, Jake Locker and Andrew Luck have led their teams to victories over the Trojans.
 
GS.com: Any game within a game situations you're looking at with interest in this contest?
 
GK: I'm interested to see how Barkley performs and how the coaches manage his performance.
 
GS.com: How does USC win this game?
 
GK: USC wins if Barkley doesn't force passes that result in turnovers and if the defense is able to control Gray and force Minnesota to pass.
 
GS.com: How does Minnesota win this game?

GK: Minnesota wins by staying poised in the Coliseum, by running the ball (and the clock) while avoiding turnovers, and by pulling off a big play or two.

Many thanks to Gary Klein for taking the time to participate in this Q&A.