It is just about Halloween, which means it is also just about mid November. Gopher Wrestling fans I think you know what I am talking is just about time for the 2011-12 season begin! 


On November 12, Minnesota will take part in the annual Bison Open. Following that I am sure most of you who follow Gopher Wrestling know the first couple of matches. The Gophers will head to the east coast to take on Cornell and Penn State in their first weekend of action. Friday November 18 the Gophers will take on the Big Red at 5:30 p.m. CST, from Ithaca, N.Y. Two days later Minnesota will travel to take on the defending NCAA National Champions Penn State University. The match will be LIVE on the Big Ten Network at 11 a.m. CST.


In preparation of the season Head Coach J Robinson, who now enters his 26th season talked with Scott Casber of Takedown Wrestling about the upcoming season, what is right with the sport and the direction it is taking, team members and much more. The interview is about an hour long, so as Mr. Casber said on his website grab a cup of coffee or a coke and sit back and listen to this great piece featuring Head Coach J Robinson.

Link to Interview


One last note for all Minnesota Wrestling fans, make sure to follow @GopherWrestling on Twitter and LIKE our Facbook page Golden Gopher Wrestling!



Each week we will give you the opportunity to ask questions via Facebook, Twitter or the Gophers Inner Circle. This week we had seven questions and Head Assistant Coach Brandon Eggum gave his responses

Nick:   What does the staff do specifically for the new freshman to get them ready for college wrestling? Individual technique sessions or just throw them in the fire? I'm curious to hear their plan.

-We hold specific technique sessions weekly for our freshman and/or incoming transfers. Besides working with them on their individual strength and weaknesses we cover a set of basic skills we fell are important in their development/transition to college wrestler career.


Jerry: What is the probability that we could have four freshmen starting on this team, say by the beginning of the Big Ten season?

-Hard to know, we have a number of freshman, a true freshman, and other underclassmen that are battling for a handful of weights this season. A lot of growing as a wrestler between now and March as you know the individual that looks the best in the room isn't always the best competitor.


Sven: I'd like to hear from Coach the answer to an odd question: To what percentage does a successful coach want to be respected by his players/athletes, and what percentage does he want to be liked by his players/athletes???? Is there a correlation between this question and winning?

Hard to answer in percentages, but in my opinion I would want to have 100% of my athletes respect. Regardless if every decision is right/wrong or agreed with I would want the athletes to know and trust it was for the best interest of the program.

I believe most of the athletes (if not all of them) here are friends with the coaching staff. Friends will have differences and sometimes a good friend will tell you what you need to hear versus what you want to hear. There is a strong correlation between this question and winning.

Sven: Also, what is the fundamental difference, mentally, in winning a championship versus becoming a repeat champion? Why do so many win championships, but so few repeat? What's the difference mentally and regarding focus (and preparation/discipline)?

You could write a book on this type of question and people have. There are some circumstances you can control and some you can't. Understanding that as an athlete is important. You can control your preparation, conditioning, technique and mental can't control judgment calls, how you match up style wise with you next opponent in even who that that opponent will be in the following round. A world champion caliber athlete creates his own breaks, but with luck may be given a break as well based on a call, whistle, out of bounds, end of period etc. As you mentioned winning two or multiple championships is uncommon for all these reasons.

Andy: What is different about practices this year than in years past?

One of our changes is our structure and schedule of practices this year. Training and technique are always evolving and staying up to date is important. We have added more individual workouts to meet individual needs.



Andy: How has Jake Deitchler looked during drills in the early on?

He looks great. No problems at all. We expect him to compete at the Bison Open on Nov. 12.


Ryan: Nelson tended to struggle with losing close matches to tough opponents last year. How will he improve on that this year?

Tony lost eight matches last year against great opponents as a freshman. He turned around and beat most of those guys the next time around. As he continues to grow and improve things will open up. 

VIDEO: Gophers Inner Circle-The Season Has Arrived

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Hey Gopher Fans! Make sure to submit a question for the coaching staff to answer and we will get them answered for you. 

Now check out this video from If this doesn't get you pumped for Gopher Wrestling I don't know what else will! 

Check it out!!

Watch more video of J Robinson on

Hey Gopher fans. Each week we will give you the opportunity to ask questions via Facebook, Twitter or the Gophers Inner Circle. This week we had four questions and Head Assistant Coach Brandon Eggum gave his responses. 

Gary: How is Sonny Yohn's knee recovering going?

Sonny's knee is fine. He wrestled the end of the season, spring, summer and early fall with no issues. I would not expect any problems this season from that old injury.


Multiple People: What are you thought s about Logan Storley this season?

Logan has shown phenomenal improvement in a short amount of time. He has expressed strong interest in competing this season. We are considering that possibility.


Adam: What is the one thing the team/staff is excited about this season?

In general we are excited to watch the team compete as a whole. This is a great team full of hardworking individuals. We are very excited to watch some of the new faces that will step into the lineup


Andy: How has Jake Deitchler looked in drills in the early on?

Jake is doing well. He recently has been wrestling live and looks good. He is excited for the opportunity to compete. We are expecting to have him compete at the Bison open. 

Amateur Wrestling News has released their pre-season rankings for the 2011-12 season. Each weight class has 20 ranked student-athletes. Minnesota is represented in nine out the ten weight classes in the early poll.

Amateur Wrestling News
Division I Pre-Season Rankings



1. Matt McDonough-Jr, Iowa

2. Zach Sanders-Sr, Minnesota

3. Ryan Mango-Jr, Stanford

4. Jarrod Patterson-Jr, Oklahoma

5.  Nic Bedelyon-Sr, Kent State



1. Jordan Oliver-Jr, Oklahoma State

2. Scotti Sentes-Sr, Central Michigan

3. Tony Ramos-Soph, Iowa

4. Bernard Futrell-Jr, Illinois

5. Devin Carter-Soph, Virginia Tech

11. David Thorn-Soph, Minnesota



1. Kellen Russell-Sr, Michigan

2. Boris Novachkov-Sr, Cal Poly

3. Montell Marion-Jr, Iowa

4. Andrew Alton-Soph, Penn State

5. Zack Kemmerer-Sr, Penn

15. Nick Dardanes-Fr, Minnesota



1. Frank Molinaro-Sr, Penn State

2. Jamal Parks-Sr, Oklahoma State

3. Tyler Nauman-Sr, Pittsburgh

4. Mario Mason-Jr, Rutgers

5. Ivan Lopouchanski-Jr, Purdue

14. Dylan Ness-Fr, Minnesota



1. Kyle Dake-Jr, Cornell

2. Derek St. John-Soph, Iowa

3. Jason Welch-Jr, Northwestern

4. Ganbayar Sonjaa-Sr, American

5. Walt Peppelman-Jr, Harvard

14. Jake Deitchler-Soph, Minnesota



1. David Taylor-Soph, Penn State

2. Shane Onufer-Sr, Wyoming

3. Josh Asper-Jr, Maryland

4. Brandon Hatchett-Sr, Lehigh

5. Paul Gillespie-Sr, Hofstra

10. Cody Yohn-Jr, Minnesota



1. Quentin Wright-Jr, Penn State

2. Robert Hamlin-Jr, Lehigh

3. Grant Gambrall-Jr, Iowa

4. Steve Bosak-Sr, Cornell

5. Chris Honeycutt-Sr, Edinboro

8. Kevin Steinhaus-Soph, Minnesota



1. Cam Simaz-Sr, Cornell

2. Cayle Byers-Sr, Oklahoma State

3. Sonny Yohn-Sr, Minnesota

4. Micah Burak-Jr, Penn

5. Matt Powless-Sr, Indiana



1. Zach Rey-Sr, Lehigh

2. Ryan Flores-Sr, American

3. Cameron Wade-Sr, Penn State

4. Tony Nelson-Soph, Minnesota

5. Spencer Myers-Soph, Maryland

Gophers Inner Circle: Day One of the 2011-12 Season

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Photo Gallery of Practice 1

The University of Minnesota Golden Gopher wrestling team had its first day of practice today, in preparation for the 2011-12 season. Minnesota held its practice in the team wrestling room, which is located in the basement of the Bierman Athletic Building.

Coach J Robinson enters his 26th year as the commander and chief of the Gophers. Minnesota returns four All-Americans in seniors Zach Sanders (125 lbs.) and Sonny Yohn (197 lbs.). Sophomores Kevin Steinhaus (184 lbs.) and Tony Nelson (Hwt.) are the other All-Americans that return for the Gophers.. All four of them are team captains for the season.

With the season starting on Saturday November 12, (Bison Open) will bring you more updates leading up to the first match. Make sure to follow along on the twitter (@GopherWrestling) and facebook (Golden Gopher Wrestling) pages for photos, notes and information. 

Photo Gallery

Head Coach J Robinson aka "Salty Dog 6" has returned from Kuwait, after helping out with some US troops. Robinson spent a total of nine days overseas, which included his traveling time. He primarily was with the 1st Brigade Combat Team 34th Infantry Division 'Red Bulls'.

This was the second time coach Robinson made the trip, his last was in 2009, right around this time. Robinson says the overall purpose about going over there, was to thank the troops in person and spend some time with them.

"The biggest thing is being able to put your boots on the ground with them," Robinson said. "I wanted to hang out with them and thank them in person. It is different when you go over and thank them over there in person."

40 years ago Robinson was serving over in Vietnam and he made a note that when people came over to talk to you, it really helps breaking things up.

"You lose track of days over there," Robinson said. "It is important to hear the message from different voices."

While in Kuwait, coach spent different session talking with troops in seminars, giving small wrestling clinics, singed autographs and even stepped foot inside a A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP), which is the United States Marine Corps in use by the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Forces with the goal of surviving IED attacks and ambushes.

He wanted to eat, sleep and all that stuff, just like the troops. He wanted to be one the guys.

Coach is back in the wrestling office and ready to get things underway for the 2011-12 season. Check out the photos that were taken in Kuwait as well as a little video highlight. 

Thank you all who have been following Coach J Robinson's daily blogs from overseas. Please continue to check back for more Gopher Wrestling updates during the season.


This well be the last transmission from Salty Dog 6 from Kuwait.

I wanted to wait till the last transmission to say thank you to the person that made it all happen.
I am getting ready to roll out (that the phrase they keep telling me), we are going to roll out at 0700 tomorrow. In a few minutes they will pick me up and will finish the day and the program we started 7 days ago.

I thought it only appropriate for me to direct some  last thoughts on the last day about the person that made this all happen.

Bear with me.

Different things effect us all in different ways. My generation and my family was effected by the trying times of the 60's and the Vietnam War. All my brothers plus myself served in Vietnam. Everyone who serve brought different things away from the experience  both good and bad. My college coach told me once that you need to have a philosophy about wrestling, he said know how the pieces fit together. Over the years those thoughts from Coach Roderick has gone into me developing an over all philosophy about life.

Parts of my philosophy comes from impact of Vietnam  Below is one part of the philosophy that came about

# 1. Understand who you work for. If your in it for 95% and their only in it for 40 % you will never go over 40%.

I wanted to thanks the man that has made this all possible because has been in it 100% both times and did what was necessary to get me here. This is the person that made it happen both times because the final decision weather I came was his.

Maj General Rick Nash is that person and he Commands of the Minnesota National.

In 2009 when Chaplain Morris first hatched this idea to bring me to Iraq the decision to allow me in country rested  in the hands of General Nash. Gen Nash trusted in Chaplain Morris said it was a go and brought me to Iraq. I didn't get to meet the General until the last day in 2009 but have enjoy watching the way he interacts with his men and women ever since.

Gen Nash for those that do not know him lives the life of getting involved with his job and life and with the National Guard by taking care of his soldiers.

I thought you should all know without his approval Salty Dog 6  would not be here today. I think the incite I have gain and in some part have been able to send back to you over the course of the last 7 days hopefully has made us all a little bit more aware of what our soldiers go though and do for us.

Thanks General Nash for allowing me come again. It has been good for us all

As they say here ................ I have to roll out and go to work.

I'll see you all soon back in the world.

Salty Dog 6

Gophers Inner Circle: Coach Robinson in Kuwait Day #6

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Salty Dog 6 here

I have been here 6 days and have to say the time has gone extremely fast. We are heading back from "The Rock" a camp in the southern part of Kuwait about an hour's drive from Camp Airifjan. If I can get this done I can get an extra hour of sleep. For those that know my driving habits, NO, I'm not driving, I can't text or use the phone kuz the phone doesn't work here and no, there are no sunflower seeds.  As usual we are followed by our PSC detail and they have been great this entire stay. It is interesting to hear their perspective on on some of the groups and individuals they have been tasked to provide security for in the past.

The Rock is an Air Force base that the US shares with the Kuwait Air Force that is south of Kuwait City. There is a detachment of Red Bulls soldiers stationed there so that is why we were at an AF base. The base has a road sign like in the Movie "Mash" that states the distance to all the major locations in the US. Since there is a consignment of Minnesota soldiers assigned to The Rock, the sign reads 6740 miles to Minnesota. Of course you guessed it. I had to have my picture taken besides it. I'm sure that every American unit no matter where they were or what war they have fought in had a similar sign somewhere in their company area.

The morning started out with a church service with Chaplin Winn and then a meet and greet after the service for solders to stop by for some coffee and a chance eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee to visit.  All these e's are the results of dozing off in the SUV on the way back. We are on the way back. Sorry about that

The other group that we had an opportunity to speak with was the senior officers of the Air Force that run" the Rock". We are usually not around the other sister services and each base tends to identify certain branches of the service. The Rock, (Air Force), Airifjan, (Army), Virginia (Army)

Most of the soldiers that I speak with are young and you can see the pride that they have when I tell them that they are very special for what they are doing for our country. I know that I am getting old when they all look so young for what they are doing. You cannot help to imanage looking at some of these young men and women that tomorrow they well be sitting behind a 50 cal machine gun in a vehicle on a road somewhere in Iraq providing fire power for their buddies and a convoy. Most people will never know what they are doing or what they have done and they do not think it is a big deal.

I would be a missed if as a formed soldier I did not comment about the food and its quality. The food has been and will always be one of the greatest sources of complaining and on the other side of psychology one of the biggest morale building tools any Army has. General Grant (Civil War) once said that "an army travels on its stomach", disrupt the food source and you disrupt the army... You can work soldiers pretty hard and if they have good food/chow, the complaints concerning everything goes down. There is a direct correlation between the morale of the troops and their food. Go figure. Wrestlers get this.

Gophers Inner Circle: J Robinson Day 5

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Got to sleep in till 630 when Brad the Chaplains assistant came by to pick up my computer. I move over to the troop side of the base so I could be closer to the Mn National Guard guys so I am in an open bay troop building that has 7bunk beds so I have  a lot of room to stretch out. We had an all day workshop today that was set up to help the soldiers do some goal setting writing plus a part that deals with them developing their own personal philosophy. It began at 0800 and lasted till 1600 (4:00PM). We had about 40 soldiers, airmen and a couple of sailors from the Navy. They actually had a lot of writing to do as they had to go through an entire goal setting exercise by planning out their life for the next 10 years. In addition to the goal setting they had to create their own personal philosophy (like a company mission statement) that well guides them through life.

They all got workbooks for the exercises and a couple of them commented that doing the goal setting part was harder than they thought it was going to be because it made them really think about what they wanted to do with their life. The Brigade Commander and his Sgt Major attended the workshop the entire day which was a nice touch of support for the program. Having the Commanding Officer devote an entire day to the workshop was a big statement of what he thought about potential of the workshop and what it could do for his soldiers.

 LTC Rogers who is the garrison Commander here at Camp Airframe found me at dinner with the intent of giving me his unit coin... LTC Rogers is the Ranger I wrote about on the first day that we swapped Ranger stories. His unit coin just came in and he wanted to make sure I got it. He said this way he would not have to mail it to me.

The Army has a tradition that each unit has a coin that represents their unit. It is a sign of respect when the unit Commander or Sgt Major greets people they give a hand shake with the coin in their hand and passes it on to the person begin greeted/honor/etc. LTC Rogers asked if I knew where the tradition began and I didn't (story to follow) so he shared the story with me.

They have had me on the go since I got here. Chaplin Winn has been doing a great job in getting me in front of a lot of different groups and the Commanders of those groups seem very appreciative for the support. Chaplin Winn is not only in charge of me in which he spends most of his waking hours but he has regular responsibilities duties to perform as well.

Speaking of Chaplin Winn when I speak to a lot of the group they ask how I get motivated some days when I don't want to go to work and you just find yourself going though the motives. My response is you fake it until you make it. When I am in camp during the summer when there are days like that I tell them this story. When I get up I drive my jeep in to work because the wind and the openness seems to be refreshing.  I then put in a Lady Ga Ga CD with Poker face on it and start singing or in my wife's view mumbling or bellowing along. By the time I get to work I am generally in a better mood. Great music but I cannot endorse the singer...weird anyone, ding dong? Is she all here?)

They always play the rouser when they introduce you but this time they played Poker Face and the group went nuts when we told them the story.


Most of the soldiers do not have coins I would assume because of the cost but they have shared other things with me. I was talking with one wrestler/soldiers in the mess hall and he was wearing a 1st Calvary patch on his right shoulder (if you see a patch on a soldiers right sleeve it means he is allow to wear the patch of the unit he served in combat with, thus it is known as there combat sleeve) and I mention that served with one of the Cav units in Vietnam. He wanted to take off his patch in the mess hall and give it to me.

Another wrestler/soldier that attended one of the Combative seminars and one of the open huddles (just a time we sit around and shoot the bull) before he left it was important to him that he give me something. He took off his sniper tab (means he is sniper qualifier) from his uniform and gave it to me. You could tell it was something that he was quite proud of.  It was such a simple act that was touching and pretty cool.

I wish the American people could see some coverage on the attitude that these soldiers bring to what they are doing here. These soldiers are positive and ready to do whatever their command asks them to do.

These soldiers are really upbeat and excited to see and just talk to you. They are always thanking you for coming to see them. Actually it is they that should be getting the thank you's from us  for the mission they are accomplishing.

Heading back down to Camp Virginia tomorrow. LTC BoBo has 2 commands there and we got to one yesterday and we will get the other tomorrow plus there is another group at the ALS that we missed and will hit.


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