Monday, June 20, 2011

Minnesota Golden Gophers 2010 Review

Minnesota Golden Gophers
2010 Record: 3-9 (2-6), Tied 9th Big Ten
2010 Bowl Game: None

     Last fall, Tim Brewster was the first coach to get claimed by the Dead Pool, as he was fired during the season. Always a shame when someone loses their inflatable donut while being buffeted by the waves, but Brewster simply could not hold on anymore.
     When you look at Adam Weber, the Gopher's senior QB last fall, you wuld have expected nothing to have been wrong. Weber was quite productive most of the season, and he passed for 2679 yards and 20 TDs to just 9 picks. Those are not the kinds of numbers that you would expect from a 3 win football team's starting QB. Weber averaged 223.3 yards per game passing, but he only completed 55.7% of his passes.
     The real issue was that there was minimal flash at the RB position, as DeLeon Eskridge led the team with only 698 yards rushing with 7 Tds on the season. He shared the load for the most part with Duane Bennett, who finished with 529 yards and 3 socres on the season. Eskridge recently left school, so it's going to be up to Bennett to get it done alone.
     Four Gopher receivers caught 20 or more passes last fall, and they were led by Da'Jon McKnight, who finished with a line of 48-750-10. McKnight returns in 2011, and will give the new QB a very dependable target. He was followed by MarQueis Gray (42-587-5), Eric Lair (39-526-2), and Bennett (33-319-1). Gray was also the backup QB, so Jerry Kill has shi work cut out for him.
     Defensively, the Gophers were beaten by the run all season long. Minnesota gave up 200.8 yards passing per game, but really got victimized on the ground to a tune of 191.4 yards rushing per game allowed. The Gophers were not blessed with big time tacklers all over the field, as only four defenders averaged 5 tackles per game or more. Junior LB Gary Tinsley led the team with 90 tackles on the season (7.5 per game). He was followed by Kyle Theret (72, 7.2), Keanon Cooper (68, 5.67), and Ryan Callado (60, 5.0).
     The Gophers were able to make plays up front when not getting burned by the big play, as DE Jewhan Edwards finished with 11 TFLs. Nbody else hit double figures, but Tinsley came close wth 9.5 on the season. Edwards finished with just 3 sacks as the leader. Minnesota only collected 8 sacks as a team all season.
     No defender finished with as many as 5 passes defended, and Minnesota only defended 20 all season long. The defense did excel rather well in the are of forced fumbles, as they finished with 10 on the season. Mike Rallis finished with 3 picks and was the team leader.
     Eric Ellestad was random at best at PK, as he only hit on 11 of his 17 FG attempts as a senior. He likely will not really be missed. Freshman Dan Orseski was absolutely terrible as the punter, as he only averaged 36.72 yards per punt last fall. Troy Stoudemire was very solid on kick returns, averaging 27.21 yards per return, but nobody had enough opportunities on punt returns to stand out, as nobody returned more than 4 all season.
Final Notes
     The Gophers are a rebuilding job from the ground up now for Jerry Kill, who was hired away from Northern Illinos. Kill was not the sexy choice for the job, but Minnesota got a good one, and things can improve quickly. Minnesota has not been a power in several decades, so if you don't expect too much, Kill could produce a very popular team rather quickly.

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