July 21, 2010

Inside The Bloggers Unwashed, Unshaven, Studio: Minnesota Edition

ITBUUS rolls on this week, with Tom from The Daily Gopher representing Minnesota. Being pressed for time this week (not to mention it's Minnesota), I couldn't really come up with anything super-creative to write in the intro and rather than forcing the issue, we'll just go ahead and dive right into the questioning...

LBU: My parents always taught me the importance of remembering your roots: What got you into blogging about Minnesota? How did the Daily Gopher get created?

TDG: The Daily Gopher was much like LBU a merger. I was toiling away at Gopher Nation for about a year and a half. I began talking with Paging Jim Shikenjanski about merging. It was about that same time that we were approached by SBN to join their network of blogs and we joined. We are coming up on our 2nd birthday in August and it has been a blast.

PJS has had to step back a little bit and we have added a couple other bloggers to give our community bloggers who all see things from different perspectives. It has been a lot of fun to watch the TDG community grow over the last two years.

LBU: The predictions appear unanimous: Doom and gloom in Gopher Town, a winless Big Ten slate, panic, vomit, hysteria. Do you think the MSM is overreacting, or do they have a legit point?

TDG: Yes, I think the MSM is overreacting to the graduation of several starters on defense. When the Gophers get ranked somewhere around the 98th best team in the country and then Northern Illinois is hovering around 55 then you know there isn't a whole lot of research being put into these early season rankings. We have been rather mediocre and we will struggle to get to 6-6 this year, but the early reports that this could be a 1-11 season are overreactions.

We return nearly our entire offense to go with a new offensive coordinator who is simplifying what was severely overcomplicated last year. Defensively, we replace a number of starters but we are also filling in with some of the more talented players this program has seen in a while. They are young and who knows how they'll respond but this defense is talented.

LBU: Tim Brewster appears to change offensive coordinators as frequently as Dennis Rodman changes his hair color. What's the 'offense du jour' for 2010?

TDG: Same offense as you saw in 2009. What will be different is that this playbook will be simplified. The Jedd Fisch playbook of 2009 reeked of someone who thought they were smarter than anyone else and wanted to prove it with a complicated offense. What was missing was execution and the idea of taking what the defense gives you. Last year the offense was always out of rhythm one play was never used to set up any other plays.

The hope is that in 2010 you will see crisper execution and a game plan tailored to put the defense on it's heels a little bit with simple screens and quick passes that do not require multiple check downs and NFL progressions. Ball control should be the goal and hopefully that will lead to increased points.

LBU: At least that basketball program appears to be headed in the right direction: Is this the year Tubby Smith finally wins his first NCAA tournament game as Minnesota's head coach? What kind of ridiculous YouTube-worthy buzzer-beater will Blake Hoffharber put up?

TDG: Basketball is so up in the air right now. If Al Nolen can clean up his academic issues and return to the starting PG, and if Trevor Mbakwe can clean up his legal issues and step in as the starting PF, then this team will be pretty good and I would expect at least one NCAA Tournament win. The other big "if" is going to be sophomore Rodney Williams. The SG/SF is incredibly athletic and is a potential draft pick. But he'll need to figure out how to play Tubby's team defense first and the offense second before he'll get the huge minutes his talent deserves. He really needs to take steps forward.

And Blake Hoffarber (pictured, below right) can take any shot he wants to take (as long as he doesn't dribble), I have a man-crush on him to be sure.

Man-crushing on a basketball star: About the only thing Minnesota and PSU fans share in common.

LBU: Tim Brewster's twittering has dramatically declined. Does this make you happy because BHGP can no longer do Brewster parodies, or do you yearn for those FIGHT HARD TRY days?

TDG: Is this a trick question? First of all I don't think anything short of a national championship would discourage BHGP to use Brewster as a punchline. And to be honest, he put himself as the butt of jokes so they can go right ahead, but I also never did mind his optimism and brash nature, it was refreshing. The prior staff would huddle under their desks if anyone said 'Rose Bowl', at least Brewster was willing to state it as a goal. Because it should be the goal every year.

Obviously I'd love to see a team that does all of their talking on the field and then we'll laugh at everyone else. So to summarize, I don't care about the Brewster antics, I just want to see a winning team. Is that so much to ask?

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