In 2011, the Minnesota Golden Gophers played a very powerhouse USC team very tight, and utterly destroyed an Illini team that had completely quit on Ron Zook when they met in Minneapolis. Those were the highlights of a bad 3-9 season.
The lowlights? a loss to dreadful North Dakota State which kicked off a horrendous four game losing streak that saw the Gophers outscored 31-144. New regimes take time, so maybe year two will be better? Well, the Minnesota state legislature approved the sale of beer on game days for 2012, so at least they’ll have that.
2011 was: pretty bad, not just for the team but for the health of Coach Jerry Kill. We wish him much better health and luck in 2012, and hope he can focus on football again and not be distracted by larger things. Perhaps the addition of Community College tailback James Gillum will help the Gophers ground attack and ball control?
2012 will go smoothly if: they improve their passing (109th overall) scoring (111th) and total offense (110th). They also need to take better care of the ball (100th in turnover margin) and improve their defense (93rd in scoring, 91st vs. the run). Other than that though, everything’s fine!
They have 6 returning starters on defense, and 7 on offense, so I guess that’s good news, sort of?
2012 will be rough if: it resembles last year in any way shape or form; which it very well might.
BMOCs: MarQueis Gray is the signal caller; he’s also the team’s best receiver, so that’s a problem. Quoting Gisele describing husband Tom Brady “one cannot throw the ball to oneself.” At least, last time I checked the boobs from Brazil was correct. CB Troy Stoudemire leads a serviceable pass defense and DT Ra’Shede Hageman could be an impact guy as well. There isn’t much on offense other than the dual threat in Gray.
Bottom Line: Gray will have to do it all, and the fact that he’s already a father of two means he’s already experienced with having much demanded of him. But he also has a lot of room to grow, completing just 50% of his passes last season. The Gophers would like to see that number increase by 10-15% this year. Out of all the coaches in college football, none come closer to resembling their mascot than Coach Kill. It’s got to be some kind of unofficial record, he seriously kind of looks like a gopher.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too