"We're not taking any breaks. When you're 3-9 you don't get to take a break." -- Jerry Kill
I. Case History/Opening Statement
A. Case History
The Gopher football team is an embarrassing 6-19 over the past two seasons. It took 3 head coaches to muster up those 6 wins. The Gophers have lost to an FCS school in each of the last two seasons.
Yes, it's been ugly.
History says that Minnesota has won championships, but nobody in, or outside of, Minnesota cares about that... including Jerry Kill. You won't hear Kill talk about the national or B1G championships. You won't hear him talk about Rose Bowls. Jerry Kill thinks you can take the history of the Gopher football program and razzle-dazzle self-aggrandizing and shove it up your ass*.
*I'm only assuming Jerry Kill thinks this.
B. Opening Statement
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury there is absolutely no obvious evidence that would suggest that the Minnesota Golden Gophers can make it to a bowl game in 2012.
The Gophers are a young football team with just 10 scholarship seniors on the roster. They are a team with very few proven commodities on the field. They are a team that lost their leading running back, leading wide receiver and their top two leading tacklers from a year ago.
The only returning bright spot from last year is QB MarQueis Gray.
But as far as the Gophers are concerned you can take your lack of obvious evidence, and you can take last year, and shove them up your ass**.
**I'm only assuming the collective Gophers think this.
A. What We Can Learn From Pop Culture
When Ron Swanson goes to Lowe's he doesn't need your help. He doesn't need your advice. He's going to build whatever he is building the right way. Ron Swanson doesn't care what you think about his techniques because he will let the end result speak for itself.
When Jerry Kill and his coaching staff build a football program, they don't need your help. They don't need your advice. They are going to build it the right way. Jerry Kill doesn't care what you think about his techniques because he will let the end result speak for itself.
And one more thing: Jerry Kill doesn't care about your stupid positional rankings and polls. He thinks you can blow them out of your ass***. (I'm looking at YOU world wide leader in sports B1G blog.)
***I'm guessing Jerry Kill doesn't care.
III. Emotional Plea
Screw the emotional plea. You aren't getting one here. All you're getting now is some opinions from someone who is following this team closer than you are. Yes, I'm climbing out on a pretty precarious limb here, but it's the preseason, and I'm tired of tip-toeing around what I think about this team.
Bennett ranked MarQueis Gray the 5th best QB in the B1G. That's not bad coming from a guy that pays almost no attention to the Gophers whatsoever. But even ranking Q as high as #5 is wrong. Bennett said that Denard, Braxton Miller, Vandenberg and "Arm Punt" Martinez are all better QB's than Gray. I'm telling you that by the end of the 2012 regular season MarQueis Gray is going to be one of the top 2 most productive QB's in the conference.
Bennett also said that the Minnesota WR's were the worst unit in the conference. I'm not going to say that they'll be a top 2 unit by season's end, but I am going to tell you to remember two names of true freshmen WR's: Andre McDonald & Jamal Harbison. One, or both, of these guys is going to really surprise some people. McDonald has the size, right now, to be an impact WR in the B1G, and Harbison has wheels and hands that will make him one of the more dangerous weapons in Gray's arsenal. It looks like neither of these young men will redshirt.
The Gopher run game is going to be better than anyone thinks too. And I am NOT talking about MarQueis Gray on this one. James Gillum is a JUCO transfer with great vision and a physical running style who will lead the Gophers in yards from scrimmage for RB's by seasons end. Donnell Kirkwood is a bowling ball who likes to run people over, and David Cobb is a quick direction-changer that will make d-linemen miss.
In addition to stable of RB's hungry to produce, the Gopher offensive line has put on 15-20 lbs per lineman in the off-season while continuing to gain maturity and foot speed. This line is going to open up holes for those RB's and do a better job of protecting Gray.
On the defensive side of the ball, it's taken some time, but all reports are that Ra'Shede Hageman has grown into a defensive lineman after being recruited as a TE. He's 6'6", 305lbs, has a 36" vertical and looks like he was chiseled out of granite. The locals like to call him Optimus Prime... see the resemblance .
The bottom line is that I believe this team, despite having a lack of proven commodities, has more speed and physicality than anyone in the B1G is giving them credit for.
A. The Staff Calls the Games
The OTE Staff, in our infinite wisdom, foresees an overall average of 4.8 wins and 7.2 losses for the Gophers, and a conference average of 1.5 wins and 6.5 losses.