#9 Days Until Gopher Football

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Go Gophers! 9 Tony Dungy
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Gophers vs. UNLV (Aug. 29): Buy Tickets

The countdown to Gopher football has reached single digits. One of the program's most famous alumni, Tony Dungy, represents the nine days left until kickoff. Long before he coached the Colts to a Super Bowl title, Dungy led the Minnesota offense as a quarterback.

At the end of his career in 1976, Dungy held Minnesota records for passing yardage (3,515) and total offense (4,680), and was fourth in Big Ten history in total offense. He now ranks ninth in Gopher history in both those categories, and eighth in touchdown passes (25). Dungy earned All-Big Ten Second Team and team MVP accolades both his junior and senior years. The 1976 team captain excelled on and off the field, twice earning Academic All-Big Ten honors and winning the Big Ten Medal of Honor as a senior.

Dungy went on to play defensive back in the NFL, for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1977-78) and San Francisco 49ers (1979). He won Super Bowl XIII with Pittsburgh. In 1980, he started his coaching career as an assistant coach for the Gophers. Dungy then assisted three different NFL teams.

His first NFL head coaching job came with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he started in 1996. In 2002, Dungy took over as the Indianapolis Colts' head coach. He became the first African-American coach to win an NFL title when the Colts won Super Bowl XLI. He is also the first NFL head coach to beat all 32 teams.

Dungy retired in 2008, but has remained involved in football and in the community. He has written books, appeared on air as a football analyst and given his time and resources to various causes. Dungy was awarded the NCAA's prestigious Theodore Roosevelt Award earlier this year.

Bonus reading: 
- Dungy visited the Gophers' practice in spring 2012

What They're Saying - Aug. 20

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Which Gopher made this preseason All-Big Ten Defensive Team (BTN.com)

Two-game packs on sale now! (MyGopherSports)

From walk-on to leader of the defense (Star Tribune)

Will the Gophers get that signature win in 2013? (ESPN.com)

Former Gopher Marcus Sherels dealing with the loss of his father (Star Tribune)

Gopher Football Weekly with Jerry Kill premiers Aug. 27. Come on out! (GopherSports)

Covering the DBs (Daily Gopher)

Derrick Wells spoke with BTN.com last week (BTN.com)

#10 Days Until Gopher Football

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Go Gophers! 10 Paul Giel
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Gophers vs. UNLV (Aug. 29): Buy Tickets

In our last day of double digits in the countdown, we take a look at former No. 10 Paul Giel. The College Football Hall of Famer is one of the most decorated Gophers in program history.

During each of his three football seasons (1951-53), Giel led the team in passing and rushing. He threw for 1,922 career yards and rushed for 2,188 yards, 11th in school history. Giel still ranks in the top 10 in rushing touchdowns (20), carries (551) and 100-yard rushing games (9).

Go Gophers! Paul Giel
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Giel was a two-time All-American and Big Ten MVP.
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Giel was a two-time All-American halfback. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1952 and a close second in 1953. Giel was also the first two-time Big Ten MVP. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1954, but chose to pursue his other sport: baseball.

For Dick Siebert's Gopher baseball team, Giel was an All-Big Ten pitcher from 1952 to 1954. He earned All-America honors twice. Giel still ranks second in Minnesota history in career strikeouts with 243. His 21 complete games rank fifth and his 2.16 ERA ranks seventh.

Giel played baseball in the pros for six years, broken up by two years of military service. He also worked in sports broadcasting before returning to his alma mater for a long tenure as athletic director.

Giel was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975. In 1991, the U of M inducted him into the M Club Hall of Fame and retired his No. 10. The Gophers also put Giel's name on their team award for unselfishness and most concern about the U of M. Giel died in 2002, but his legacy lives on.

What They're Saying - Aug. 19

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Minnesota building a program Brick by Brick (GopherSports)

Ra'Shede Hageman checks in at No. 11 (BTN.com)

AUDIO: Coach Kill spoke after Saturday's mock game at TCF

Saturday scrimmage notes on Marcus Jones and Chris Streveler (Pioneer Press)

Who do people tell Donnell Kirkwood that he looks like? (BTN.com)

Two of Coach Kill's former players - and current staff members - talk about turning around a program (Star Tribune)

Each Gopher takes a different approach to social media (Pioneer Press)

Season preview (Chicago Tribune)

QB play will be critical for Minnesota (WDAY)

Breaking down the Gophers (Quad City Times)

#11 Days Until Gopher Football

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Go Gophers! 11 Walter Bowser
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Gophers vs. UNLV (Aug. 29): Buy Tickets

Former Gopher Walter Bowser wore No. 11, and seemingly played that many positions during his time in the Maroon and Gold. The winner of 16 varsity letters during high school in Virginia, Bowser continued to display all-around athleticism when he arrived in Minnesota.

Go Gophers! Walter Bowser
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Bowser came to Minnesota as a quarterback, but played several other positions, too.
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Bowser, a 1968-70 letterwinner, spent some time on the Gopher basketball team before focusing on football. But cutting down to one sport did not mean cutting out all variety. Bowser saw action on both sides of the ball and on special teams.

He came to the U as a quarterback, but alternated between QB and flanker as a sophomore. During his junior year, he switched to defense and starred at safety for the rest of his career. Bowser not only returned kicks and punts, but also did some punting himself.

In 1969, Bowser made his first start at quarterback. In one game, he played both QB and flanker and returned kicks. He punted 33 times that season with an average of 39.9 yards. Bowser made the switch to safety during the year and tied a school record with three interceptions in his second game at the position.

Bowser was a Second Team All-Big Ten safety in 1970. When the Gophers played Michigan State that season, he picked off two passes and returned a fumble 82 yards for a touchdown. Despite not having even two full seasons as a safety, Bowser is tied for third on the Gophers' all-time list with 11 career interceptions. He was also the team's leading kick returner in 1969 and 1970, and the leading punt returner in 1970.

Bowser went on to become a lawyer and a judge.

#12 Days Until Gopher Football

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Go Gophers! 12 Thomas Hamner
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Gophers vs. UNLV (Aug. 29): Buy Tickets

With just a dozen days left until Gopher football, we look back on the career of former No. 12 Thomas Hamner. Hamner is Minnesota's third all-time rusher with 3,810 yards.

Hamner led the Gophers in rushing in each of his four years, 1996 to 1999. He rushed for more than 800 yards twice and exploded for 1,426 as a senior. That total is the third-best in Minnesota history. Hamner had a school-record 308 carries for those 1,426 yards, and he scored 10 of his 15 career rushing touchdowns that year.

Of Hamner's 15 career 100-plus-yard games, seven of them came in 1999, including a streak of five in a row. Hamner and quarterback Billy Cockerham twice had 100-yard performances in the same game.

Hamner was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team as a junior, and the First Team as a senior. He was then selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2000 NFL Draft.

What They're Saying - Aug. 17

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Big Ten Network stopped by practice yesterday (GopherSports)


Gophers getting closer (BTN.com)

Photos from practice yesterday (Instagram) and a lot of Tweets (BTN.com)

A battle at left tackle (1500ESPN)

Boddy-Calhoun has had a great camp (Star Tribune) and can play basketball too (Pioneer Press)

Coach Sawvel: "I want a guy who runs, I want a guy with length, and I want someone that has some toughness to him. He's got all three of those things." (Star Tribune)

BTN Tour Bus Visits Practice

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Photo Gallery

The BTN Tour Bus visited the Gophers' second practice of the day on Friday. BTN film crews shot footage of practice and interviewed a few players and coaches. Minnesota will scrimmage at TCF Bank Stadium tomorrow before having two days without practice.

See some of what BTN saw today through this collection of social media posts and pictures.

#13 Days Until Gopher Football

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Go Gophers! 13 Bud Grant
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Gophers vs. UNLV (Aug. 29): Buy Tickets

Representing the 13 days until kickoff is a former No. 13 who went on to a great career after his time with the Gophers was done. Although Bud Grant is best known for his Hall of Fame coaching career in the NFL, his athletic accomplishments at Minnesota are definitely worth remembering.

Go Gophers! Bud Grant
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Grant wore No. 13 in football and basketball.
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Grant was a three-sport Gopher athlete. For Bernie Bierman's football team, he was an All-Big Ten (at the time, All-Big Nine) selection in 1948 and 1949. The FWAA named him to its All-America Second Team in 1949. Grant spent time on both offense and defense during his Gopher career. In the Gophers' game against Washington in 1947, he scored a defensive touchdown off a fumble recovery, leading to a 7-6 Minnesota win.

Wearing No. 13 for basketball as well as football, Grant excelled on the court as he did on the gridiron. He was the 1948 team MVP. He was also a valuable member of Dick Siebert's squad on the baseball diamond.

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Grant in 1950, but he played for the NBA champion Minneapolis Lakers for a few years before eventually signing with the Eagles. He was a Pro-Bowler in the NFL, but switched over to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL soon after.

Grant's coaching career began when he took the reins for the Bombers at age 29. The rest is history. He eventually went on to lead the Minnesota Vikings to 11 division titles and four Super Bowl appearances, and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1994.

Grant has remained connected to his alma mater. When the Gophers opened TCF Bank Stadium in 2009, Grant was an honorary captain for the game. That same year, he received the U of M's Outstanding Achievement Award.

What They're Saying - Aug. 16

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Biochemistry major and center Jon Christenson is a busy man (Star Tribune)

Scrimmage Audio: Limegrover

New video series: Brick-by-Brick (GopherSports)

Eureka! Philip Nelson (1500ESPN) and a freshman gaining notice (1500ESPN)

Meet long snapper Jake Filkins (FSN)

Two-game packs (MyGopherSports.com)

Scrimmage notes as the season nears (Pioneer Press)

Nelson's experience is showing (Star Tribune)

Legania's journey: from Hurricane Katrina to Minnesota (FSN)

The ESPN bloggers weigh in on the Gophers (ESPN.com)

Third-year charm? (Stillwater Gazette)


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