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Posts Tagged ‘MarQueis Gray’

Minnesota Has the Scheme, Needs Talent

Minnesota’s big-picture problem lies more with the Jimmies and the Joes, less with the X’s and the O’s. In terms of overall talent, Jerry Kill had much more to work with at Northern Illinois — Chandler Harnish, Chad Spann, Jasmin Hopkins and Martel Moore, among others — than he currently does with the Gophers, who are still bringing in the sort of athletes needed to run Kill’s system.

The Huskies had the players and the scheme; the Gophers are still learning the scheme. Even if the system was in place, this team lacks the weapons to run the offense at full capacity.

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    No. 84: Minnesota

    At their best, Jerry Kill-coached teams will make you wish you’d just stayed at home. At their worst, Kill’s teams will have opponents lining up at the door waiting impatiently for their turn, as more than a few Big Ten teams did a season ago. So this we know after Kill’s uneven debut: Minnesota will be less like Northern Illinois, more like Southern Illinois. In DeKalb, Kill took a two-win team and quickly turned it into the MAC’s biggest bully, reaching three straight bowl games before leaping to the top spot with the Golden Gophers. In Carbondale, home of the Salukis, it took Kill one painful season and a second middling finish before the program began its dominating run through the Gateway Conference. More Southern, less Northern. For the efforts of this comparison, let’s leave Saginaw Valley State out of the conversation. But even that small-school stop merits a mention: Kill won there too. Kill’s won everywhere, if not from the start then down the road – and always, Kill has won big.

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      Ranking the Big Ten’s Class of Quarterbacks

      Another Wisconsin-themed hypothetical question: Where would you have ranked the Badgers’ quarterbacks against the rest of the Big Ten if Danny O’Brien had instead opted for, say, Penn State? If Wisconsin had gone into 2012 with options like Joe Brennan and Jon Budmayr, it would have joined Michigan State as the only two teams in the conference to not return a quarterback with at least one career start under his belt. So consider the toppling dominoes: O’Brien should start, which should push Brennan into a more fitting role as his backup, which will allow Budmayr to heal and former walk-on Joel Stave to develop.

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        No. 92: Minnesota

        Good coaches can be found anywhere, from high school through the N.F.L., in the F.C.S., the F.B.S. and anywhere in between. Case in point: Jerry Kill, late of Northern Illinois, now of Minnesota. Just where did this guy come from? Kill’s in Minneapolis via DeKalb, via Southern Illinois, via Emporia State via Saginaw Valley State — the one in Michigan. No, he’s never been a coordinator for a national champion. He’s not a Nick Saban disciple. He hasn’t even — my goodness, can this be true? — coached a day in the N.F.L., for goodness’ sake. Kill’s just a football coach, no flash, few frills. Just like his teams. I think he’ll be popular.

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          A Grab Bag of Quarterback Depth

          It was never a fair comparison: Iowa and Wisconsin both lost a senior quarterback, but the Hawkeyes have had a succession plan in place since 2009, while Wisconsin — prior to losing Curt Phillips — wanted Jon Budmayr to win the job, not have it handed to him. When Wisconsin revealed late last week that Phillips had suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee injury, it became clear that Budmayr’s time is officially now, even if this is how the quarterback competition might have eventually played out. As noted last week, however, this hurts the Badgers’ depth at the position.

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            The Countdown

            A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.