Minnesota 2011

Minnesota 2010 Statistics

(Big Ten) The Golden Gophers play on an artificial field (FieldTurf) at TCF Bank Stadium (seats 50,805)

  • Jerry Kill is in his first season as head coach at Minnesota.
  • In the last five years, Minnesota has had just one winning season (7-6 in ’08) and have won just over one-third of their games.  As a result, last year in the middle of the season (10/16/10) after losing six straight games with a 1-6 record, they fired head coach Tim Brewster in his 4th season of mediocrity.
  • This year it’s all about change of culture.  New head coach Jerry Kill’s staff comes across as honest, hard-working and no-nonsense.  Kill introduced “Minnesota Loafer” T-shirts to players who missed a class, showed up late to a workout or erred in some other way.  The front says “I let my teammates down.” All of the lettering is in pink (brown shirts). In addition, this coaching staff sped up the pace of practice and the tempo on both sides of the ball.  Kill has turned around a program before and the Golden Gophers are hoping he will have the same luck here.
  • Four-year starter at quarterback and Minnesota’s career passing leader, Adam Weber departs and it may be a good thing as even though he improved his TD-INT ration considerably last year, his freshman year in 2007 still remains his best statistically as QB for Minnesota.  And now Junior MarQueis Gray finally has a chance to play.
  • MarQueis Gray will be the starting quarterback this year.

    MarQueis Gray

    Last year Gray was primarily used as a receiver (he ranked second on the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns), but was used only sporadically at quarterback and would come in only for specific plays, such as the predictable Wildcat.  Not only were defenses smart to what he was doing, but Gray was also out of rhythm and unable to demonstrate his passing skills.  (Click here to read an explanation of why this happens from the NFL’s Carlos Dunlap). The fact is that Gray was never actually given an opportunity to prove himself at quarterback.  But when the new coaching staff arrived, Gray appeared in quarterback coach Jim Zebrowski’s office while he was still unpacking and said “I’m ready to learn. Teach me.”  They started going over the new playbook right away and Gray thinks it’s a good fit for him because the quarterback runs the ball some so that “makes defenses put people in the box, and leave [receivers] one-on-one.” The box is the front, center area on the defensive side of the field and the more players a defense puts in the box, the more concerned they are with stopping the run (and likewise, the less players they have covering receivers to defend against the pass).  As for Gray, they say his arm is decent and a work in process, but his work ethic and natural ability gives the coaching staff confidence he will get where he needs to be.

  • With that said, the defensive side of the ball is the one needed the most help last year.  But they had a very good excuse in that they had to replace 9 starters! So it wasn’t a complete shock that they struggled so much.  They were the absolute worst team in the nation last year (dead last at #120) in sacking the QB and not far behind that when it came to pass efficiency defense.  This means they never really put pressure on the opposing quarterback because he wasn’t sacked and he had time to pass efficiently, making completions without errors and turnovers.  In addition, rushing defense was really poor also.
  • What happened to their running game? Minnesota used to produce some of the most dominating rushing offenses in the nation, but lately that unit has been on the decline.  This year with a mobile quarterback in Gray, their rushing numbers should finally improve.