Friday, November 14, 2014

BARRETT ON ICE


Thursday, November 13, 2014

GOPHER NUMEROLOGY: THE TALE OF THE TAPE vs tOSU

You want words, read Frothy's post.  I give you pictures... me like pictures.  Also, Numerology.  Here is the tale of the tape for Saturday's tilt:


Source for awful IQ stats:  Link


The Unimportant Game that Means Everything

Remember when I used to blog here? Those were the days. Ridiculous 100,000 word challenges, a few laughs, a few tears, nipple tassels galore. I miss those days.

First things first, barring a schizoid break or brain tumor that compels me to eschew sleep and do nothing but blog for the next month, that 100k goal will die in agonizing hell fire. It was a run. Anyway, I owe some charity of your choosing $500 bones. I haven't forgotten and won't forget - but we'll settle up at the end of the season.

Second, since it's been a while, let's just agree to never discuss the Illinois game again. It never happened. "What never happened?" you ask. Exactly.

Third, my nuts are sore from a weekend full of flexing. Sweet Sassy that Iowa game was something. FOTB Matt Humbert over at The Daily Gopher posted a terrific piece on what it means in the grand scheme of things, concluding that the game exorcised some old demons and left us basking in the light of hope. We at SGH have always had hope, but its sweet bosom is riper and more succulent that it's felt in a long while. The hope bosom makes everything right.

Crushing Iowa while nuzzled into the hope bosom.
So, here we are at 7-2, about the best all but the most optimistic Gopher fans would have predicted at the start of the season. 7-2 with the Buckeyes coming to town. The Buckeyes who hold a 42 - 7 record against us. The Buckeyes who we've beaten exactly twice since Richard Nixon was in office. We can talk about our historical ineptitude against Michigan. but no one has had our number as consistently and brutally as Ohio State.

Thing is, though, this game isn't really all that important. Our path to the West Division crown doesn't have Ohio State in it. I mean, we play them, so they're technically in our paths, like, literally, but, whatever, we don't need to beat them to win the West. If you told me to choose two games remaining on our schedule I'd like to win, this one wouldn't be on the list. There are ways for us to win the division by not beating both Nebraska and Wisconsin, but they're tricky and outside of our control to some extent. Give me those two games and let the results of this one be damned.

So, yeah, this game is meaningless. Who cares what happens? Get through it unscathed, preferably not giving up triple digits to maintain a modicum of respect and keep the powder dry for the all-important games against the Huskers and the Huns to the East.

But while that may be the pragmatic approach, man, I don't know anyone who looks at it that way. Notwithstanding [REDCATED], things feel really different here now. Maybe it's the sweet, succulent bosom of hope afforded to us by cracking the whupping stick on Iowa. Maybe it's that we have Floyd and the Jug together for the first time in my life. Maybe this is just what every fan of a respectable, competent team feels. But I am really looking forward to this game on Saturday.

It's not that I think we're going to win - it would take a lot to go right for that to happen. I just look forward to seeing if we might win and, more importantly, how we stack up. The B1G isn't rife with spectacular teams this year, but OSU is the best candidate we'll see. This will be a great test for us against the best in the conference.

We'll come in with a lot of confidence. The Bucks just played in their biggest game of the regular season and may be a little off their peak. It'll be cold as hell. It's Year 4. The outcome of this game may not mean much to determining the winner of the Western Division; that will be settled in the next three weeks. But it means everything to us.

Chart Depicting Gopher Rollercoaster Ride

#NOREASON


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Iowa Defense is Formidable and Stuff

I don't know... I laughed.

This post is a follow-up to my post on Monday about the Hawkeye offense.  Sure, the offense has some neat parts and all, but the defense is what is most impressive about our corn people to the south.



Iowa ranks 18th in the nation in points against. (20.0ppg)  They are coming off of a week where they only allowed 7 to Pat Fitzgerald's Veiny Forehead. 

Here's a list of Iowa's best defensive performances this year:

Granted, our Gophers have given up more points to some of these teams, but I found it notable that they stifle the the suckier teams -- which I suppose makes sense.  Ball State is 2-2 in the MAC, ISU hasn't won a game in conference play and Pitt is 2-3 in the ACC.  Their other three games where they allowed 23, 29 and 38 points were against teams that as of right now (looking at you, IU) are all .500 or better.  And in two of they last three they gave up 29 and 38!



What does it all mean?  I don't know, I'm just trying to spin a scenario where the Gophers should be able to put up some points.

Kill said in the presser this week that Iowa is always a team that gets better during the year.  Lets look at the Hawkeyes by position.

Defensive Line
Drew Ott
The starting defensive ends are Nate Meier and Drew Ott.  Each have a whopping 40 total tackles on the year, but Ott is a pressure-machine.  The 6'4", 270lb junior has 10.5 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks on the year.  He's had at least one sack in each of the last three contests.  He also has seven hurries and a pretty sweet beard. Fear him.

The defensive tackles are also very good.  Senior Louis Trinca-Pasat is coming off a game where he had three sacks and made Trevor Siemian cry. (unconfirmed)  He is fourth on the team in total tackles and has the most among defensive lineman with an incredible 50.  His 9.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks are both second on the team.  The other tackle is 6'5", 315 senior Carl Davis.  He's a space eater type that occasionally gets into the backfield as well.  Kill refers to the two defensive tackles as "special" and not in the normal Iowa way.



Linebackers

Quinton Alston
The linebackers have been a bit banged up of late, but still are a strong unit featuring the team's leading tackler, senior Quinton Alston.  Last week, Alston moved to WLB as Reggie Spearman was out.  Travis Perry started in the middle.  The Outlaw Josey Jewell has also been banged up, but is normally a starter.  Alston is the gem of this group though, he gets tackles, breaks up passes (4) and gets to the QB (2 sacks, 1 hurry).  Not sure if he's related to Skip 2 My Lou or not though.  In this week's presser Limegrover calls the linebacking group very consistent, but says the front four really picks them.



Secondary

Kirk Lowdermilk has a son on the Hawkeyes and he's pretty dang good!  Ol' Milky is second on the team with 58 tackles and the other safety, Jordan Lomax is third with 52.  They have 3 interceptions between them.  Desmond King and Greg Mabin are the starting corners.  Travis Perry and Maurice Fleming round out the group.  These guy held Siemian to 68 yards passing last week.  They also held Maryland to under 50% passing and 206 total yards even though they lost that one. Sudfeld and company were abysmal for Indiana as well, throwing for 116 yards and 3 INTs.  As a team they have 10 interceptions and 30 passes broken up. 









Monday, November 3, 2014

Followers for Vodka Samm - Part 2

With apologies to Daniel Keyes.



November 3, 2014

LMFAO! The losers at BHGP went through with their procedure this morning and I have 13,500 Twitter followers now. Check it out! All the more people to hear what a dump minisnooooooooooowDUH is. RAH!

I like having all of these people following me, but I don't know what most of them are saying. It's like they're speaking another language. They must have gone to school at DUH U. LMAO!!

I tried tweeting at Флора Ольховская about how the Goofer players are a bunch of thugs, but she never responded.


When the BHGP guys were talking about their plan, they said something about "Ukranian spam bots" and "thousands of followers for $3.99," but I don't know what any of that means. I'm just happy me and Валентина Науменко can follow Goofer recruits on Twitter and tell them what a dump Minnesota is. ROTFLMAO



Iowa is Pretty Good Now I Guess



In the words of our good buddy W at DownwithGoldy.com -- Is Iowa, like good?

While we were living the dream as a borderline ranked team and not losing to Illinois it seemed easy to overlook Iowa.  Everyone was doing it, not just we Gopher brethren.  (As opposed to wee Gopher brethren, that's MV).  They currently sit at 6-2 (3-1) and are tied with the Gophers and Wisconsin for second in the Kanye West division behind 4-1 Nebraska.

They stumbled early with a loss to Iowa State and that's when I think I wrote them off with a chuckle.  Which is probably the same thing that everyone is now doing with our Gophers.  "You lost to Illinois?  HAR HAR HAR."

The Gophers' three conference wins are now looking less than stellar as they have a combined record of 5-10 in Big Ten play.  But looky here, Iowa's 3 wins are against similarly poor opponents (3-11 Big Ten record) and everyone is tripping over their dicks in fear.  Iowa lost to a 3-2 Maryland squad while we all know the Gophers succumbed to the Illini (1-4) for their only conference loss.  There is some justification in that the Hawkeyes whipped these likely bottom-feeders in a more convincing fashion than Minnesota did.  They won those 3 games a combined 117-46, while Minnesota won theirs 93-69.

The way the Gophers play with their power run style, I just don't think you're going to see a lot of blowouts.  However, there is definitely room for concern on the defense.  They gave up a lot of big plays to Purdue.  And Iowa has been putting up big points of late, scoring 124 points over their last three games (2-1).

Let's try and take a look at what has been working for Iowa on offense and see if we can recognize what we should be most afraid of:

The Quarterback Position

Junior Jake Rudock is in his second year leading the Hawkeyes' offense.  Looking at the numbers, his 2014 varies from 2013 in a couple of key categories.  He has cut down his interceptions -- through 7 games, he has just 3 interceptions as opposed to 13 over 13 games in 2013.  He's also increased his completion percentage from 59.0% to 64.6%.  His first two career 300+ yard passing games have also come this year in the Maryland loss and an early season beating of Ball State.

One negative is that he's taking sacks at a much higher rate.  He already has been sacked 11 times as opposed to 14 in all of 2013.  This is interesting because Iowa was thought to have a great O-line coming into the year, more to come on that when we get to the O-Line.

In his last three games, Rudock has been solid.  He's passed for 62% completion with an average of 255 yards per game.  He's throw just 5 TDs and 1 INT over that span.

The Running Backs

I still have flashbacks of Mark Weisman running wild all over the Gophers in 2013.  I had hash for breakfast that day.  Weisman finished 2013 with 975 yards on 227 carries and had 8 touchdowns.  This year, Weisman has had his ups and downs, but is still extremely dangerous in short yardage.  He's already amassed 13 scores and has two or more TDs in each of the last 5 games.   The only game he hasn't reached the end zone was against Ball State.   On the season he has 521 yards on 133 carries, good for a 3.9 ypc.  Weisman has a total of 8 receptions in the last two years, so he is not a factor in the passing game.  Senior Damon Bullock is a threat out of the backfield though, catching 25 balls for 206 yards.

Jordan Canzeri (ankle) and LeShun Daniels (knee) have been battling injuries, with Daniels being lost for the year.  Freshman back Jonathan Parker was hurt on the opening kickoff last week as well.  In total, 5 other running backs have had carries besides Weisman, but they may have finally settled on the lightning to Weisman's thunder just this past week.    Freshman Akrum Wadley ran for 106 yards and a score on 15 carries despite not getting a touch in the first quarter. 

Over the last three games Iowa has run for 221, 116 and 207 yards.  The 116 against Maryland was on 31 carries and Rudock threw the ball 56 times that game.  Iowa gets 200+ yards = bad, who knew?

The Receivers

Iowa seems to have a decent history with having at least one pretty good reciever in the corps and this year is no different with senior WR Kevante Martin-Manley.  Seventeen different players have caught a pass for Iowa this year, but Martin-Manley leads the way with 36 receptions for 336 yards and 18 of those have been for a first down or score.  He has just one TD, and three other Hawkeyes have 2 TDs to lead the team.  Rudock likes to sprinkle.  Junior Tevaun Smith is the #2 receiver and he's already surpassed his receiving totals from last year by catching 27 balls for 326 yards.  Senior Damond Powell appears to be a deep threat with 14 receptions at a 20ypc clip.  He has a 72 yard score on the year.  Junior tight-end Jake Duzey has 26 receptions for only 180 yards... possibly a safety valve for Rudock.

Over the past 3 contests, the top receivers been Matt Vandenburg, Damon Bullock and Damond Powell.  Martin-Manley has just 104 yards total over that period.  In fact, over the 8 games, 6 different players have led the team in receiving yards. 

The Offensive Line

Iowa has a great history of strong offensive lines and coming into this season the story was that this year would be no different.  Prior to the year, the highly rated Hawkeyes were said to be led by left tackle Brandon Scherff, a guy who is considered among the best in the nation.  Austin Blythe was projected at center and a potential Rimington candidate -- and pre-season all Big Ten Jordan Walsh would slot in at right guard.  Big boy Andrew Donnal was to move over from backing up Scherff to right tackle.   Left guard was pretty much up for grabs, but probably would be another great big white guy.

Some things have changed since then.  Blythe is now the starting left guard and senior Tommy Gaul is at center.  Scherff is still holding it down at LT, OMG you guys did you know he was a HS quarterback? Jordan Walsh remains at right guard although Sean Welsh got some time in as well last week.  Andrew Donnal is also still at right tackle.


You might think going from 15 sacks allowed in 2013 to 13 sacks allowed so far this year that the line has had problems.  However, it should be noted that 15 sacks allowed was the lowest in the Big Ten last year and that Iowa threw the ball 375 times that year.  This year they've already thrown it 288 times and that 13 sacks allowed number is 5th best in the now 14 team conference.  Minnesota is 4th best allowing 12 sacks thus far, MSU leads... they've allowed just 5 sacks.  Wow. 


Rushing for Iowa has been pedestrian as a whole on the year.  They're mid-table in both yards per game and yards per carry.  They are tenth in the Big Ten in rushing yards.  We've seen that number tick up a bit in the last few wins, so perhaps they've figured it out.

Formations

As a bonus, I'll share what I've read over at the Gazette about Iowa's formations.  Last week, they ran the 22 (RB, FB, 2 TE) 32% of the time.  They ran the 21 (RB, FB, 1 TE) 22.5%, 11 (1 RB, 1 TE) 29.5% and the 12 (1 RB, 2 TE) 15.5%.  Of note here is that they completed some of the bigger passes of the game out of the sets with the FB and a flea flicker out of a 3 TE set (only time they ran that set).  Tricky tricky, Kirk.


Stay tuned over the next couple of days for some coverage on the Iowa defense.  Or at least to check out whatever the hell it is that Frothy is doing.