Hi everyone. Before I start, I'd also like to thank all the people who've been reading our coverage and sending feedback, etc. Much appreciated. And thanks for stopping by to talk some college football. Let's get started with some questions.
This hits the nail on the head. I think the Gophers have the defense to hold some other teams well below their normal scoring total. I don't know TCU is that team. I think the Gophers will need to score in the 30's to win this one.
TCU has a great defense. Always has, always will under Gary Patterson. That said, the Frogs need to replace six starts and have a true freshman at middle linebacker. I think Leidner is experienced enough to get this offense moving tonight, even without Maxx and Cobb.
I'll give you two: Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks. Two young running backs from Georgia, a redshirt freshman and a true freshman respectively. Rodrick Williams will get the start, but Smith will be 1B to his 1A, and I think Brooks has been the talk of training camp.
Leidner was playing on one leg. Cobb had a sprained ankle. The Gophers had five turnovers. It was in Fort Worth. All those factors could go the other direction for the Gophers tonight. Not saying they won't turn it over, but 1-2 times as opposed to 5 would make a big difference.
Halloween night should be a great game, when Harbaugh visits TCF Bank Stadium. So you take it seriously immediately, but if you're asking when the Wolverines will compete for Big Ten titles again, I think it's 2017.
It was 24-0 with 9:00 left in the second quarter last year. It ended 30-7, but TCU was working on that air raid offense the whole game. So yes, I don't think Patterson would hesitate to keep scoring tonight, even against his good friend, Kill. The fact the Gophers held TCU to six points over the last 39 minutes of last year's game was pretty impressive. I remember Boykin spiking the ball in frustration.
I'd say O-line. The first group looks impressive when healthy -- Lauer, Christenson, Bobek, Campion, Pirsig -- but durability is a concern going in. Lauer's already had knee surgery, so Campion will be at LT and Connor Mayes at RG. There is some depth, but to get this team to the next level, they'd love to have that first group rockin' and rollin'.
Yep, I agree. TCU won last year's game with a punishing D-line that put constant pressure on Leidner. ... Rodrick's gotten quicker, with 20 less pounds, but your point about his speed is valid. He'll need to prove himself. I do think Rodney Smith will be used a lot right away, with Shannon Brooks not far behind.
Interesting point. I think the Gophers would prefer he ups that passing TD total and keeps the running threat going.
Very possible, but that might come in spot duty late in a lopsided game. He's walked off the field from practice in a white jersey (for offensive players) instead of a gold jersey (for QBs) all month. He's still getting QB reps, we're told, but it's clear they are using him in other ways.
Bingo. Still a critical element to any Jerry Kill game plan to beat a high-flying team like this.
I think it's the Gophers on their home field. JerryWorld will be 75 percent Bama fans on Saturday. Minnesota and Wisconsin are both longshots to win, but I think MN has the best chance this week.
True freshman Rashad Still has been the talk of camp at WR. He won't start, but I think he's got breakout potential as a deep threat, who's tall (6-5) and can go up to get the ball. Melvin Holland had a good camp and could get involved early. The starters will be KJ Maye, Drew Wolitarsky and Eric Carter.
Duke had a setback with his surgically repaired knee during camp. He returned to practice, but he's listed as out for this game.
Fred, thanks for pointing out another key to the game -- containing Boykin's running. Huge. I don't think you'll see a lot of Gophers sacks because Boykin gets the ball out so quickly. But the Gophers hope to have a better overall D-line this year, especially with the Ekpes back to 100 percent. And Minnesota is deep there, too, after playing Richardson, Elmore, Stelter and Moore as true freshmen last yar.
It's possible the Gophers have been downplaying his impact, in hopes of springing him as a new weapon on TCU. But after an electrifying spring, he seemed to have a quieter impact in the practices I was able to watch earlier in the month. He had a concussion that set him back a bit. And Kill keeps reminding people that he's like a true freshman since he couldn't practice last year.
Absolutely. The Gophers need to replace Maxx and Drew Goodger. Duke Anywanwu and Lincoln Plsek are both out with injuries. The team has been impressed with sophomores Brandon Lingen and Nate Wozniak during camp, but they have two career catches between them.
You bring up a good point. I think this will be the main benefit of all that work they did on the no-huddle offense during spring practice. At the time, it was presented as an option for them to start doing mid-game sometimes. And maybe it still is. But by practicing faster, Leidner and Co., should be more accustomed to it when they need to do it in a pinch.
It's time to find out. Leidner had a rough first couple days of camp but the coaches raved about him the past couple weeks. The completion percentage should go up with the team giving him easier passes, especially on first and second down. Leidner is more accurate on the deep ball than most people realize. The key will be those intermediate throws and his ability to stay poised and take what the defense gives him.
Thanks, Mah. Pretty messed up at Illinois, yes. But my take is that the football team has a better coach now with Bill Cubit than it did with Tim Beckman. So for the 2015 season, I don't see this being a huge detriment. I think Illinois will be what it was going to be this year.
I really do, and that's saying something because TCU has some absolute burners. WR Kolby Listenbee ran a 10.02 in the 100 meters, but Eric Murray basically shut him down last year. The Gophers have gotten faster, for sure, but yes, this will be a huge test.