Return to Glory

Return to Glory

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2013 Recruit Keelon Brookins Verbally Commits to Gophers

Keelon Brookins has become the first official verbal commit to the Gophers for the 2013 class. Kill continues upon the 2012 trend of locking up the best in state talent. Keelon is a cornerback for Tartan High School in Oakdale, MN. He is 5'11" 170 lbs and is said to have legit speed to compete at the Big 10 level. In fact, Keelon has been recruited hard by Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa. The great news for the Gophers is that I view Keelon as a very solid verbal because Keelon's dad went to Minnesota and as a result he has strong ties to the university. Check out this video for verification of Keelon's speed. Keelon is an exciting prospect that builds upon Kill's 2012 class that is showing a strong emphasis on upgrading the speed on this team. It is exciting to see our secondary continuing to be infused with a talent upgrade. Granted we are a long way from Keelon signing a letter of intent, but it gets the recruiting season off to a strong start of locking down the borders. In addition, hopefully it serves as incentive to reel in other solid recruits. Welcome to the Gophers Keelon!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Analyzing depth at the Tight End Position

The next stop on our whirlwind tour of the Gophers offensive depth will be the tight end position.  During 2011 Gopher tight ends caught 33 balls for 331 yards and 5 TDs.  The Gophers frequently used 2 tight ends, primarily Collin McGarry and Eric Lair and they accounted for virtually all production from the tight end position. They were both seniors and as a result can't factor into the Gophers plans going forward. As a result, this becomes one of the Gophers least experienced and unproven units moving into 2012 and beyond. The only two tight ends to factor into the Gophers plans really at all during 2011 were John Rabe and Drew Goodger who had 4 and 2 catches respectively. On the bright side 2 of John's catches were TDs.

John Rabe: hails from Iowa and arrived on the Gophers via the JUCO route after attending Ellsworth Community College. John is 6'4 252 lbs and will be a senior in 2012. He played in all 12 games of the 2011 season and started 6 games accumulating 4 catches for 36 yards and 2 TDs. John is the easy choice to see significant more playing time in 2012 as a starter. He showed flashes that he could be a valuable weapon in the red zone and has the size to be effective in the running game.

Moses Alipate: was a highly regarded quarterback recruit in the 2009 class. He was considered the #2 recruit in Minnesota and viewed by ESPN as the #28 quarterback recruit in the country and #128 player overall. Clearly, he has really never seen the field as a quarterback and now that he is a redshirt junior I think it is safe to say that ship has sailed. However, what is still an intriguing possibility is that rumors are they are looking to have Moses move to the tight end position. Moses is 6'5" 276 lbs, so clearly he possesses ideal size for the tight end position. Also, it is a common position transition for many quarterbacks to make. A clear example is Keith Nichol of Michigan St. who moved to tight end to make way for Kirk Cousins and he flourished as a tight end / wide receiver hybrid. Moses has all the athletic ability to become an impact player for the Gophers at the tight end position. What remains to be seen is whether he can accept this new role. If Kill can motivate Moses, look for him to become our top tight end by the end of the 2012 season.

Drew Goodger: played in 10 games as a true freshman during the 2011 season. He is 6'5" 249 lbs and will be a sophomore this year. It certainly says something about Drew that he saw significant action as a true freshman, but my fear is that was more out of necessity than undeniable talent. I haven't really seen enough out of Drew in the passing game to know what he brings to the table. He possesses a good frame that should benefit from an additional offseason in the weight room, which will help him with his blocking in the run game. However, I don't know that he will be a major factor in the passing game. Regardless, if Moses doesn't pan out as a tight end, Drew will see substantial playing time as the clear backup to John Rabe.

Maxx Williams: arrives as a brand new 2012 recruit from Waconia, MN. He was ranked the #7 player in the state of Minnesota and the #48 tight end in the nation. While he doesn't arrive with the hype of McDonald, Harbison or Nelson, this is an extremely exciting prospect that the Gophers are bringing in. He is a true jack of all trades that possess natural athletic ability. He actually played six different positions during his high school career. In fact, he recently played in the Semper Fidelis All American Bowl where he played tight end and was the punter, some are saying don't be surprised if he makes a push for the punting job this season. An interesting side note, his father Brian Williams also played for the Gophers and played professionally for the New York Giants from 1989 - 1999. Maxx arrives on campus at 6'4" 235 lbs with a solid frame and lots of potential to be a dynamic weapon in the years ahead. With the incredible lack of depth at the tight end position, I find it hard to believe they will be able to redshirt Maxx this year. If Maxx does see the field, I think it will become clear he is the Gophers best weapon at the tight end position. My early concern is whether he has the bulk yet to hold up in the running game.

Conclusion: I think it is quite clear this is perhaps the barest part of the Gophers team talent wise right now. I think John Rabe and Drew Goodger can be serviceable, but never really anything more than that. In addition, John Rabe is a senior. The key cog to this position is whether Moses can finally find his way onto the playing field as a tight end. I have concerns as to whether he can commit himself, but if he does it is a huge positive for our depth. Plus, Moses has the athletic ability to be a difference maker at the position, much the way MarQueis natural ability aids our wide receiving corp. The X factor will be the growth and development of Maxx Williams. I will stick my neck out and say he will be a special player for the Gophers in the years ahead and continue in the proud tradition of players like Matt Spaeth and Ben Utecht. If Maxx pans out we have a solid starter for the foreseeable future, but depth will remain a major concern.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Analyzing depth at the Wide Receiver Position

We continue our exploration of the Gophers offense by putting the wide receiving corp under the microscope. Lets start by examining exactly how 2011 played out for our wide receivers. Sadly, you may need a micrscope to examine some of these stats. During 2011 Gopher wide receivers accumulated 1,450 yards while catching 98 balls and 5 TDs. Just for fun, during 2011 All American Oklahoma St. Wide Receiver Justin Blackmon caught121 balls for 1,522 yards and 18 TDs!

Not surprisingly, DaJon McKnight led the way in 2011 with 51 catches for 760 yards and 4 TDs. DaJon accounted for over half of the Gophers 2011 production at the wide receiver position and he has graduated, so there is a large hole to be filled. The only other wide receivers to net double digit receptions were Brandon Green with 15 and Malcolm Moulton with 14. It is clear the passing game struggled in 2011 and I think we can point to a myriad of factors. We have already analyzed the quarterback position and identified that MarQueis is not a polished passer. The receivers are dependent on the quarterback throwing catchable balls, so their success is tied to the quarterback's ability. In defense of MarQueis, I think our wide receivers often lacked the ability to generate separation from Big 10 defenders, which forces MarQueis to throw into tight windows. The good news is that an influx of talented young wide receivers should lead to a brighter future at the position.

Brandon Green: will be a senior wide receiver in 2012 and has seen the field a lot over his first 4 years. He was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school that hasn't quite lived up to expectations, largely due to various nagging injuries. However, he has proven to be a reliable possession receiver with great hands. Brandon started 8 games in 2011. With the lack of experienced wide receivers on the roster, I think it is likely Brandon Green is a regular starter in 2012.

Malcolm Moulton: will be a junior wide receiver in 2012. Malcolm was a new addition to the Gophers in 2011 after coming into the program as a JUCO from Fort Scott Community College. He was considered the #31 JUCO player in the nation and is 5'11" 186 pounds. He provides speed at the wide receiver position but has shown a frustrating pattern of dropping key passes. I think Malcolm will see significant playing time in 2012 thanks to his athletic ability.

Devin Crawford Tufts: will be a sophmore in 2012 after playing in 9 games as a true freshman. He is 6'2" 191 lbs and a true burner that has been clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40. Devin won the Minnesota Class AA championship in both the 100 and 200 meters and was state runner up in the long jump. As a true freshman, Devin's impact in 2011 was limited, but he made the most of his opportunities and showed that he has the potential to be a deep threat that can help loosen up a defense. Devin averaged 19.5 yards per catch in 2011! I look for Devin to emerge as a dangerous weapon in the passing game in 2012.

Marcus Jones: will be a sophmore in 2012 after playing in the first 7 games as a true freshman. Unfortunately, his season was cut short by a knee injury. The good news is, according to Jerry Kill, Marcus will be ready for spring practice. Marcus is small at 5'8" 170 lbs, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in dynamic speed and athleticism. His talent displayed itself against Purdue in Week 6 when he took a kickoff all the way back for a touchdown, which no Gopher has done since 2007. The injury is the key issue for Marcus, if he proves to be fully recovered from the injury I look for Marcus to get a lot of work out of the slot in 2012.

Isaac Fruechte: is a JUCO member of the 2012 recruiting class and joins the Gophers after spending one season at Rochester Community and Technical College. While at Rochester he caught 29 passes for 788 yards and 8 TDs. He was able to enroll early and will take part in off season conditioning and spring practice. He is 6'3" 202 lbs and will be a sophmore in 2012. By all accounts, I have read Isaac can run under 4.4 in the 40. Clearly, Isaac provides the measurables you look for in a wide receiver and it will be exciting to see how he fares against higher level competition.

Andre McDonald: is a blue chip member of the Gophers 2012 recruiting class. Andre was the #1 prospect in Minnesota and heavily recruited by a host of big time programs. Recruiting guru Tom Lemming ranked him the #12 wide receiver in the nation and #132 overall player. As a senior at Hopkins, he caught 60 balls for 1,253 yards and 17 TDs. He is 6'2" 200 lbs and per scouting reports demonstrates good hands, knows how to effectively position his body and adjusts well while the ball is in the air. The bottom line is Andre is a top flight athlete that possesses the blend of size, speed and strength to be a big time playmaker for the Gophers. He would be a valuable contributor in the red zone where his ability to snag jump balls would be invaluable. The question will be is it worthwhile to redshirt him or whether his talent level is simply to high to afford a redshirt year. My hunch is that his abiliities will be so overwhelming and he will see the field as a true freshman.

Jamel Harbison: is also a blue chip member of the Gophers 2012 recruiting class. Jamel earned a 4 star ranking from ESPN and was rated the #32 wide receiver in the nation. As a senior at Mallard Creek High School in North Carolina, he recorded 50 receptions and scored 21 TDs. He is 5'11" 195 lbs and per scouting reports is an explosive wide receiver with good burst off the line of scrimmage and also displays good hands and a willingness to embrace contact. I envision Jamel spending his career working primarily out of the slot for the Gophers and, much like McDonald, his undeniable talent my force his way onto the field as a true freshman.

Conclusion: The Gophers have struggled greatly in recent years to develop playmakers at the wide receiver position. Eric Decker and DaJon McKnight have been the only high level performers at the position over the past few years. However, I think I see a turning point occurring. Devin Crawford Tufts and Marcus Jones contributed as true freshman and demonstrated dynamic playmaking ability, which should only improve with more familiarity with the offensive system and time spent in the weight room. The three newcomers Fruechte, McDonald and Harbison bring a level of talent to the wide receiver position that I don't believe Gopher fans have seen in years, if not decades. You could possibly argue that the 5 best wide receivers on the team are Devin, Marcus, Isaac, Jamel and Andre which are all sophmores or freshmen. As a result, I think we have a extremely solid foundation established at the wide receiver position. If Philip Nelson proves to be the quarterback many think he is, this wide receiving corp could turn into something truly special.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Analyzing depth at Running Back Position

We continue our analysis of the depth of the Gophers roster by reviewing the running back position. Let's start by reviewing 2011 results. The Gophers rushed for 1,920 yards during 2011 and averaged a respectable 4.1 yards per rush. There is no question the run game saw improvement over 2010 results when the Gophers only averaged 3.6 yards per rush. These figures are a bit skewed though because they take MarQueis Gray's rushing figures into account who ran 199 times for 966 yards 6 TDs and averaged 4.9 yards per rush. In fact, MarQueis was the leading rusher during the Gophers 2011 campaign. When we strip Marqueis Gray's figures out of our rushing statistics it paints a very pedestrian picture. Our primary running back was Duane Bennett who rushed 166 times for 639 yards 3 TDs and averaged 3.8 yards per rush. Donnell Kirkwood was the only other running back that saw significant playing time in 2011 rushing 63 times for 243 yards 3 TDs and averaged 3.6 yards per rush. Clearly, MarQueis elevates our rushing numbers. Our running backs averaged a pedestrian 3.8 yards per rush and accumulated 6 rushing touchdowns. More alarming is that the running backs had virtually no involvement in the passing game. Duane Bennett's 3 catches for 23 yards were Gopher running backs only contribution to the passing game. Lastly, there was minimal game breaking ability displayed by our running backs. The longest run from scrimmage by our backs was a 30 yard scamper by Kirkwood. I believe the running back position is an area that we need to see an infusion of more dynamic players get involved in 2012. Duane Bennett has graduated, so the Gophers will need to replace 35% of their rushing attempts in 2012. Who stands to benefit from the void at the running back position?

James Gillum: Is a 2012 JUCO recruit that arrived on campus in January and will be a junior this year. James is 5'11" 208 lbs. James is transferring from Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College where he was team captain and ranked 12th in the nation in rushing as a sophmore with 1,042 yards 9 TDs and 4.6 yards per carry while helping lead his team to a 10-2 record, including a division championship. By all accounts, this is a talented back that is willing to run between the tackles, but also displays the ability to make defenders miss. Jerry Kill has been high on this kid since high school when he recruited him hard at Northern Illinois. It is my belief he will be a front runner to see significant playing time in 2012. I also believe that based on the stats discussed above he will be an immediate upgrade over the rushing attack we saw on display in 2011.

Donnell Kirkwood: Is a redshirt sophomore who saw significant playing time during 2011. Donnell rushed 63 times for 243 yards 3 TDs and averaged 3.6 yards per rush. Donnell is 5'10" 215 lbs and strong downhill runner. He is not going to make a lot of people miss, but he is a solid between the tackles back. The problem is he doesn't possess elite speed and will not generate many big plays. However, he could prove to be the perfect change of pace back to Gillum.

David Cobb: Is a sophomore running back who saw the field briefly in 2011 as a true freshman. He rushed 10 times for 57 yards and averaged 5.7 yards per rush (extremely small sample size). David is 5'11" 212 lbs out of Killeen, Texas where he rushed for 2,946 yards and 35 touchdowns. It speaks volumes about what Kill feels about Cobb that he saw the field as a true freshman, but could also simply be an indictment of the talent level of the position. However, the glimpses we saw of Cobb lead me to believe he is a dynamic runner that can put more pressure on the defense than we have been accustomed to seeing these past few years. However, if Gillum is a dynamic as I think he is Cobb may struggle to find significant playing time in 2012.

Devon Wright: Is a redshirt sophomore who has yet to see significant playing time, as he only recorded 1 carry during the 2011 campaign. Devon is 6'0" 194 lbs out of Coral Springs, FL. I will admit this is a kid I was extremely excited about coming out of high school. He was Broward County Player of the Year and two time all state selection. As a high school senior, he rushed for 1,835 yards and 18 touchdowns. According to ESPN recruiting he was our highest rated recruit in 2010 and rated the #22 running back in the country. However, he simply hasn't received much of an opportunity to play yet. I contend that he is the sleeper on our roster that could surprise people if given the opportunity to tote the rock.

Rodrick Williams: Is an incoming 2012 recruit from Lewisville, Texas. Rodrick is 5'10" 215 lbs. As a senior he rushed for 850 yards 5 TDs and averaged 5.4 yards per rush. He also caught 26 passes for 389 yards and 3 TDs. He is not a highly regarded recruit but scouting services note that he is a powerful back that shows good burst through the hole. However, he does lack elite speed. The good news is he has great hands and should be a significant threat catching the ball out of the backfield.

Conclusion: It can be challenging to judge running backs because they are so dependent on the offensive line and the ability of the quarterback to stretch the field with the passing game, so defenders can't load the box to stop the run. 2011 demonstrated that our running backs lacked speed and the ability to generate big plays. I do believe the Gophers will miss the leadership that Duane Bennett provided, but he simply didn't provide the skill level to scare defenses. I believe Gillum will stabilize the running back position and provide more big plays in the running game, as a result I look for him to be the primary running back. I think we will continue to see a decent dose of Donnell as the bruising change of pace back or to get the tough yards on 3 and short situations. As I alluded to above, I think if Devon Wright can get on the field he could surprise as a dynamic playmaker we have been looking for in the running back position. I would imagine Rodrick will redshirt in 2012. The good news is that we have a young stable of running backs with Gillum, a junior, being the only upperclassman. Kirkwood, Wright and Cobb are all only sophomores. Running back has been a position of weakness over the past few seasons, but I think this young group can succeed if Gray continues to make strides as a quarterback. The running back position should also benefit from the emergence of our offensive line, which if it can live up to the potential of the recruits brought in the past few years could be the core strength of this team in the years ahead.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Analyzing depth at Quarterback Position

We will start our analysis of the current Gophers football roster by honing in on the Quarterback position. The makeup of the quarterback position for the Gophers begins with Senior quarterback MarQueis Gray. The Gophers also have a stable of young quarterbacks in Sophomore Max Shortell, Redshirt Freshman Dexter Foreman and two incoming recruits Mitch Leidner and Philip Nelson. It should be noted that Sophomore Tom Parish has decided to transfer from Minnesota, though I haven't heard any word on where he ended up. Lastly, I have read reports of Moses Alipate moving to the tight end position, so I have excluded him from this analysis.

MarQueis Gray: provides the Gophers with a dynamic talent at the Quarterback position that has certainly shown flashes of his potential. In particular, there is no question he is a dynamic player when he pulls the ball down and runs.  Gray rushed for 966 yards and 6 TDs as a Junior while averaging 4.9 yards per rush. He is arguably the most dynamic athlete in the Big 10 this side of Denard Robinson. However, he is playing the quarterback position and needs to improve his accuracy.  As a passer he threw for 1,495 yards with 8 TDs and 8 Interceptions in 2011. The alarming statistic is that he only completed 50.7% of his passes. For MarQueis to take a step forward in 2012 he needs to improve his completion percentage. Unfortunately, MarQueis must improve while also losing his security blanket in DaJon McKnight. The good news is that MarQueis has shown a strong work ethic and willingness to be a leader on this team. He will also be benefiting from another year in Kill's system, which should lead to increased production. The bottom line is MarQueis is the leader of this Gopher team and is entrenched as the starter for 2012. The Gophers will go as far as his abilities will take them.

Max Shortell: part of the 2011 draft class, he arrived on campus as a fairly highly touted quarterback recruit out of Kansas. He has a prototypical quarterback build at 6'6" 220lbs. He had just arrived on campus in the summer, but still ended up solidifying the backup spot behind MarQueis. In fact, Max played in the opener against USC and started two other games while MarQueis was injured. However, he only completed 48% of his passes for 309 yards and 2 TDs and 2 interceptions. Despite those unimpressive stats, it must be remembered that this was a true freshman. I saw enough from Max to be encouraged about his future.

Philip Nelson: Arguably the prize recruit of the Gophers 2012 class. He arrives from Mankato West High School where he was a 3 year starter. MaxPreps recruiting expert Tom Lemming has rated him the #2 pro style quarterback in the nation and #40 overall player in the country. He earned Minnesota's Mr. Football award, AP Minnesota Player of the Year and ESPN Gatorade Minnesota Player of the Year. He also set the Minnesota state record for single season touchdowns (55) and career touchdowns (135). The other great news is he enrolled early so he is already on Minnesota's campus as of January, which will allow him to participate in spring practice and offseason workouts. Clearly, it would seem the ceiling will be high for Philip Nelson and he could be a program changer in the years ahead. However, with MarQueis clearly the starter and Shortell already having game experience I would like to see Philip Nelson redshirt in 2012 and we enter 2013 with an interesting debate about whether Shortell or Nelson will be starting.

Dexter Foreman: Arrived as a late signee in the 2011 draft class out of Manvel, Texas. As a senior, he rushed for 402 yards and 4 TDs and completed 63% of his passes for 1,198 yards and 10 TDs and 5 interceptions. He redshirted last year, so there is not much to gauge his abilities off of yet. However, accounts are he is a solid athlete with a good arm. Most likely he is looking up at MarQueis, Max and Philip, so I wouldn't expect to see him on the field in 2012.

Mitch Leidner: Lost in the hype of Philip Nelson is that Mitch was also brought in with the 2012 class and he enrolled early too.  Mitch graduated from Lakeville South High School where he was a 2 year starter with a record of 15-7. As a senior he passed for 1,872 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is a solid 6'4" 225lbs with a strong arm. It is likely he will be redshirting in 2012.

Conclusion: MarQueis gives the Gophers a solid senior quarterback with the ability to hopefully help put wins on the board immediately. It is important to note that Northwestern (Dan Persa) Michigan State (Kirk Cousins) Wisconsin (Russell Wilson) all have to break in new quarterbacks in 2012. MarQueis should be one of the leading quarterbacks in the Big 10 during 2012, while allowing the promising prospects Shortell and Nelson to gain experience from the sideline in 2012. However, it is important to remember that MarQueis runs the ball a lot, so the possibility for injury looms. Thankfully, Max had his baptism by fire last year, so I would envision him stepping in should MarQueis go down. I would expect Max to play much better having had a full offseason to get acclimated to the program and the playbook. Looking into the future, I think the quarterback position is solidly positioned with Shortell and Nelson in the fold. 2013 could shape up to be a heated quarterback battle between the two of them. I certainly believe that competition will help them both develop. The concern would be whether the losing quarterback would transfer out, which would harm our depth, but that is a topic for a much later day.

Gophers Football Scholarship Breakdown

I know that the chart is quite small, but if you right click and save the picture down to your computer you will be able to zoom in and see everything much clearer. The chart is just a standard jpg file. I could e-mail anyone a pdf copy too if they are interested.

What stands out to me in the chart is that our senior and junior classes are so small, only 11 remaining senior scholarship athletes and 14 junior scholarship athletes before the 4 JUCO's Kill brought in with the 2012 recruting class. . This is not surprising because many of Brewsters recruits failed to stay in the program, which highlights what a significant rebuilding job Jerry Kill had in front of him. I think it was sound strategy by Kill to fill in the junior class with those 4 JUCO's because it helps smooth out the wide fluctuations. The bottom line is we have to realize that our 2013 recruiting class will be small simply because we won't have many scholarships available. The good news is that hopefully as we look down the road to 2014 and 2015 we will be loaded with upperclassmen that should hopefully lead to some competitive football. In an upcoming post I will dive into this scholarship spreadsheet in more detail to analyze what positions are areas of strength and weakness.  I will say right now I am very excited about the level of depth and talent we have across our offensive line!

Leston Simpson Transfers to Stony Brook

February 17th it was announced that Leston Simpson has decided to transfer to Stony Brook where he will have 2 years of eligibility. Leston has been a defensive lineman for the Gophers the past two seasons. In 2010 he played in all 12 games. However, this past season he only played in 2 games as he battled injuries all season.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Welcome to Ski U Mah!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by the Ski U Mah blog! This blog is just getting off the ground February 21, 2012. You will have to bear with me as I am new to the technical aspects of blogging, but certainly not new to having an opinion when it comes to Gophers sports. Hey, I did already get the RSS feeds going on the blog site, so that is a pretty productive Day 1!

I begin this endeavor as a Gophers fan deperately needing to have an outlet to talk all things Gophers sports. I realize the end result may very well be my insights traveling the nethers of cyberspace never to be heard from again, but if even one person gleams a valuable nugget of insight then I will call this blog a success.

My passion for Gophers sports go all the way back to my earliest childhood memories. I was born in Minnesota and spent the first 18 years of my life witnessing Gopher athletics firsthand. I have my dad largely to thank for helping bless me with my passion and pride for Gopher athletics. Friday and Saturday winter nights we were generally parked in front of the television to watch Gopher hockey. I fondly remember players like Darby Hendrickson, Dan Trebil, Brian Bonin and Mike Crowley.

Meanwhile, on the gridiron all I  knew was losing football. From 1992 - 1998 the Gopher football team went 24 - 54 for a 31% winning percentage and honestly most those wins were the out of conference "cupcake" variety. My first proud Gopher football moment was the 1999 team stunning #2 Penn State at Penn State and getting to a bowl game for the first time since 1986. Sad to think, I was15 years old before obtaining a lasting positive football memory. Sadly, positive memories have been far outweighted by unspeakable losses. The excellent 2003 team that led Michigan 28-7 going into the 4th quarter and somehow surrendered 31 4th quarter points to lose. The 2006 team that led Texas Tech in the Insight Bowl game 38-14 going into the 4th quarter, but managed to give up 24 4th quarter points to ultimately lose in overtime. Sometimes, I wonder if it is more of a curse to witness disappointment on a virtually annual basis. I won't even get into Minnesota Vikings heartbreak during my lifetime. Thank God for Gopher Hockey to fill the void football and basketball have provided over my lifetime. Full disclosure, I am only 27, so I have no recollection of the Gophers football team winning national championships or even Rose Bowl appearances for that matter. However, I do know that Gopher Football lays claim to 6 National Titles, though it would be nice if they were a bit more recent. 5 of the 6 titles stretch back to when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was residing in the White House. None the less, I enjoy cheering for the Gophers because they represent the state I will always consider home, Minnesota! You will find that I am actually quite the optimist and will continue to believe Gopher sports can be relevant again. An interesting fact is that within the last 10 years the Gopher football team has bowl wins against Arkansas, Oregon and Alabama. Those are currently 3 of the premier football teams in the country. Ski U Mah!

You will find that Gopher football will be the most heavily discussed topic on this blog, but you will also find substantial contributions concerning basketball and hockey. Heck, there will also be occasional wrestling topics, as they are one of the stronger Gopher programs. Gopher Wrestling was just crowned NWCA National Dual Champions after upsetting Iowa in the semis and undefeated Oklahoma St. in the championship!

I hope this provides a bit of background on me. I welcome any comments or suggestions. Hopefully there are others out there that enjoy sharing the pain and occasional triumphs of being a Gopher fan as much as I do.