Wednesday, August 22, 2018


Hola, amigos. Two posts in a week is the current record for 2018 posting volume. Setting the over at most posts in a week for the season at 2.5. If you win, you’ll get a third or fourth post that week. It’s like free methadone day at the clinic around here. Or a Badger press conference where Jeff Potrykus is your only inquisitor.

Monday, August 20, 2018


I tried again for what felt like the hundredth time.

“Okay, Bernard, so the player announces he’s leaving when he finds out charges are going to be filed.”
 “And athletic department policy basically says no action is to be taken by the school before charges are filed, yes?”
“That’s the policy,” he nodded.
“Doesn’t that kind of look like maybe the school is pushing the player out to keep the program clean and free of having to conduct any investigation of their own?”
“It doesn’t look like anything at all to me,” he said.
I shook my head, “You keep saying that. What does that even mean?”
“The policy was written a long time ago. Most of the time, criminal investigations don’t lead to charges so the school doesn’t take any action until those charges are made. It’s done to protect the players. That’s the policy.”

“I’m totally on board with protecting the players, sure; but are you comfortable with the school basically absolving themselves of any responsibility here? It’s like allowing someone to quit before a company fires him for embezzling funds or something.”

“The policy was written a long time ago,” he responded.

“What does that have to do with anything? You’re a member of the media. Shouldn’t you be asking about this or at least whether this policy still makes sense?”

His looked up at me, his eyes growing distant. “These passive inquiries have passive ends.”

With a bang, the door to the room swung open. Anthony Hopkins strode in, a red windbreaker tightly wrapped around his torso like a sausage casing. “Bernard, freeze all motor functions.” Bernard went limp.

I backed quickly away from Bernard and Anthony Hopkins and pressed myself against the wall. “What the shit, man?!” I yelled, incredulous.

“Please, call me Barry,” Anthony Hopkins said, smiling.

“What the fuck did you do to him? And why are you here? And why are you wearing a Wisconsin jacket?”

“Oh, Bernard is quite well. He serves a purpose. But he is not equipped to answer the questions you posed to him. They fall,” he paused, looking down and putting a hand on Bernard’s unmoving shoulder, “outside of his narrative.”

“His what?” I stammered out, my mind reeling from what I was seeing.

“His narrative,” Anthony Hopkins/Barry said looking back at me with a subtle, knowing grin. He folded his arms and began walking around the room. “You see, everyone here has a role to play. Coaches, players, equipment managers, trainers, professors, parents, fans. And the local media. Especially the local media. They are how we tell our story. Through them we can emotionally connect with the fans, foster a strong sense of pride and  ensure our reputation remains positive with the state and the broader college football community. So you’ll understand that we can’t leave something of that import to chance.”

“I…I’m not sure I follow,” I whispered as my head involuntarily ticced.

Anthony Hopkins/Barry turned and gestured at the still-motionless Bernard, “Bernard, analysis mode.”

Bernard sat up in his chair, straight as a pencil. “What in…” I breathed, trying harder to push myself through the wall and away from whatever was happening.

Anthony Hopkins/Barry continued, “Bernard, what is your narrative.”

“To first, do no harm to the program. To tell the story of athletics in a positive way. To ask questions in a way that facilitates the best possible outcome for the program. To encourage goodwill with media consumers vis-à-vis the program.”

“Good, thank you, Bernard” Anthony Hopkins/Barry said. Looking back at me, he went on, “We created Bernard and his peers in the local media to remove the obstacle that media has created for other programs. It is mutually beneficial: we get uniformly positive coverage with no questions asked when there is an ethical or legal issue; they get to sell more advertising and subscriptions by leveraging our successful brand.”

My brain was melting down. “You…You created him?! Like, he’s not real?! And neither is anyone else in the media?!”

“Oh, just the local meda, my friend. The national media doesn’t have the resources or interest to ask too many questions. With our local media telling our story, the national media only need pop in when they need a feel-good piece on hardworking, plucky Midwesterners. You see, we give the people what they’re looking for. People here want a winner. One that punches above its weight. Too much digging around jeopardizes that. Tell me, who loses in this situation?”

“Oh, I don’t know! The people! The truth! Humanity if your robot army decides to stop writing puff pieces and take over the world!” I shouted.

Anthony Hopkins/Barry laughed, “But what is the truth, my fellow? The truth may be objective were we to know everything. But we cannot. So the truth we accept is that which is told to us, which is entirely subjective. And, really, if everyone remains happy and well paid, does it matter whether the subjective truth is given to you by a human being or our friend Bernard, here?”

“It’s unethical and these robots are an abomination to natural law!” I growled.

“Are you happy with the Twin Cities media?” Anthony Hopkins/Barry asked rhetorically. “I suspect not. They do everything our local media doesn’t, by investigating, asking questions and reporting every misstep by your program, large or small. They, the media, certainly benefit, but do the people of Minnesota? The program certainly doesn’t. No, I think our version of the truth is much better for everyone involved. And things like Bernard are the best way for us to achieve that truth. Anyway, come now, it’s time to get you home.”

I felt a sharp pain in my leg, looked down and saw a small dart stuck in me. “What? No!” I groaned.

I immediately started feeling dizzy and things began to go dark. “Barry,” I croaked. “Please, tell me. Is Reusse a robot?”

Anthony Hopkins/Barry laughed, “No, friend, no he’s not. Reusse is a shitposter.”

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Practice Report | 8/4/18

The roster turnover Fleck has accomplished in just a year and a half looks absurd on paper. How can
anyone expect a team this young, 127th out of 130 in experience, expect to compete anytime soon?
Well... go to practice. I’ve been going to practices since Time Brewster took over so have seen a number
of roster changes now; nothing compares to this. I’ve bought in to past hype, hook line and sinker.
I’ve finally adopted a prove it attitude before I start predicting imminent B1G Titles, but physically,
this Gophers team is different. This is easily the biggest, fastest, strongest roster I’ve seen. They have
a lot to prove on the field, but this team has a very high ceiling for years to come. But enough about
vague state of the program messages though, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

QB - Zack Annexstad. If you’re reading this I’m going to assume you know his story. Story aside, I’m
pulling for this kid to get the job. His arm talent is great. Pocket presence a very welcome upgrade from
what we’ve seen, and he has a bit more size and speed than Morgan that make him a bit more of a run
threat. All of that said, Morgan is currently likely 1A to Annexstad’s 1B. This is a battle I expect to go into
the season as both guys looked good in practice today. If, god forbid, both guys go down, this is going to
be a very long year. The walk ons behind these two look like, well, walk ons.

Running Back - Rodney Smith appears like he will be a much bigger threat in the pass game this year.
I was very impressed with his routes and hands at today’s practice and wouldn’t be surprised to see him
mixed in on the outside every now and then. Behind him, it seems to be a two back race between Mo
Ibrahim and Nolan Edmonds. Edmonds was a bit smaller than I expected him to be at 5’11” 200lbs but
he very much looks ready to play. He and Mo split time with the 2s today and I wouldn’t be surprised to
see both in the rotation this fall but would love to see Edmonds redshirt while playing the 4 games
allowed with the new redshirt rules. Of the other backs the only one to stand out was Femi-Cole who’s
size and physique are as impressive as ever. I don’t foresee him being a factor this fall though as his
pad level has always been problematic.

TE - Oh boy oh boy. Seth Green. This guy is going to be a dude. He reminds me a lot of Marqueis Gray
physically; he has similar size and athleticism. We didn’t see a ton of the TEs today but I expect Green
to be a threat in the passing game and by the time he’s done at the U I think he gets drafted as a TE.
Outside of Green I thought Kieft looked good in Pass Pro and Paulson solid as a Receiving threat.
Nate Bursch strikes me as a likely transfer candidate. His feet are just too slow for the B1G in my

WR - When I say the sky is the ceiling for these guys I’m not only referring to their potential but also
how high some of these guys can jump. Roshod Bateman is absolutely a day 1 player, he has it all.
Ty Johnson has improved off of a season where he was our only threat. Chris Autman-Bell will be a
threat this year and can do it all. We saw flashes of what Demetrious Douglas can do last year and he
is now healthy and could start in the slot. Outside of these 4 there’s a bit of a gap. Manns is hurt but
could very well factor in on the inside. Other than him it’s wide open. I’ve been a fan of Morse in the
past but he looked rough today. Harry Van Dyne needs some time still in my opinion. Brock Annexstad
had some solid plays but I don’t know if he has the athleticism to earn time. Fleck’s WMU teams spread
the ball around but some guys are going to have to step up outside of TJ, Bateman, Bell, & Douglas
for that to be true for this team.

OL - I’m going to start with a disclaimer here: the team was not in full pads today so it’s tough to judge
this group. That said, this may remain a relative weakness for another year. We know Greene and
Weyler are good while Olson has shown some flashes. This likely leaves the right side of the line open
for competition. Today, there were a lot of coachable moments on the OL, especially on the right side.
What that means is really not something that can be known at this point. My guess for RG would be
Andries with Falaale at RT but that may not come to fruition week one as both guys are young and have
a lot to learn. Expect some growing pains here as young guys learn.

DL - So umm yeah, the reason Kill, Claeys, & Sawvel were moving to a 3-4 wasn’t because you can’t
recruit DLs to MN; it was because they couldn’t. This is the most physically impressive DL group we
have had in years. I’m not yet sold on OJ Smith being a run stuffing god but he is definitely in better
shape this fall than last. Elijah Teague is a man and I expect him to play this fall. Osezi Otomewo is the
real deal and I can’t wait to see him on the field this fall. Winston Delattiboudre (not that hard to spell Mr
“Alphabet Soup”) looks ready to go and looks to be a leader on the sidelines. Jerry Gibson looks
ready to put his athleticism to work finally. Hickox, Riegelspieger, Umlor, Robinson, and Silver all
look the part but Mayan and Abi really stood out physically, especially for their age.

LB - I’m going to include Coughlin in this group as I’m hoping he can spend more time at LB than DE.
If he can do this, the best unit on the team will be even better. The unit isn’t perfect though as no LB
really looked good in pass protection today. This is particularly apparent with Barber but is noticeable
even with more athletic guys like Martin and Cashman. I’m hoping Smith can make this impact minimal
via scheme as none of these guys are going to be elite 1-1 with a WR or RB. Outside of the names we
know I was blown away with Oliver and Rush’s size as true freshman. I didn’t see Mariano which I am
Sori about.

DB - I’m about as worried about DB as I am OL. There are some known pieces like on OL with Winfield
and Huff but there are some guys who haven’t shown their worth yet like Shenault, Williamson, &
Thomas. The freshman safeties looked like deer in headlights today as Aune and CJ Smith struggled
and Sapp was in and out with an orange jersey. Terrell Smith looked solid and I expect he won’t redshirt
if he can keep it up but overall this unit has a lot of questions to overcome for the Goohers to beat pass
happy teams like Fresno, Purdue, and Indiana.

Special Teams - Didn’t see enough to talk about anyone.