MN Vikings: 1st Game 2017 Takeaways

  • 1st game of the year. Expectations are high at this point. 1st Monday night game of the year. Playing to a national TV audience against Adrian Peterson and the New Orleans Saints.
  • Adrian Peterson’s first return to the Twin Cities, since signing with the Saints. He had 6 carries for 18 yards. After his first carry, when he was booed heavily, he was underwhelming, and didn’t receive any additional booing.
  • Randy Moss was inducted into the Vikings “Ring of Honor”. He was gracious and humble in accepting the honor. He also honored former coach Dennis Green, as having the biggest impact on his career,
  • Sam Bradford was spectacular. Here are some of his highlights:
  1. Named offensive player of the week, by NFL.
  2. He was 27 of 32 for 346 yards & 3 touchdowns.
  3. He had the highest passer rating in his career; 143.
  4. 7 passes of 15 yards or more. Best in 2016 was 5.
  • Dalvin Cook gained 123 yards, on 22 carries, for a 5.8 average. He set a new rookie running back record for yards gained, by a rookie, in his first game, previously  held by Adrian Peterson. He also had a couple of outstanding pass blocks. He had 2 runs of 20 yards or more, in the fourth quarter. The Vikings only had 6 such runs, in all of 2016.
  • Adam Thielen and Stephon Diggs were beasts. Thielen had 9 catches for 137 yards, including a 44 yarder. Diggs had 7 catches for 93 yards, including a 30 yarder. The catches all came at key moments in the game, not just stat fillers, when the game had been decided.
  • The offensive line was outstanding as well. It was the first time all 5 had played together, including preseason games. 3 of the 5 weren’t with the Vikings last year. Probably the toughest position to master.
  • Last but not least, the defense was terrific. They held the Saints rushing to 60 yards. They held Brees to 291 yards and 1 touchdown.  They held the Saints to 19 points.

UCLA Bruins: 2nd Biggest Comeback of All Time

I watched the UCLA vs. Texas A & M game over the weekend. Game was played in the Rose Bowl, so it was a late game for the central time zone, and when the Aggies took a 44 to 10 lead with 4:08 left in the 3rd quarter, I started  getting ready for bed(old age). I sat at the end of the bed and watched UCLA score. So I thought I would see what would happen next.

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What I witnessed was the most exciting 4th quarter, I’ve ever seen.  The comeback was the second largest in college history.

UCLA’s quarterback Josh Rosen ( nicknamed Chosen Rosen ) was spectacular, leading the team from being down 34 points , to beat A & M 45-44.  He threw for 491 yards, including 292 yards and 4 touchdowns in the 4th quarter, also faking a spike and then throwing a touchdown.

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His main target was Caleb Wilson, who caught 15 passes, for 208 yards.

Wow !!!!  What a game.

NDSU & St. Johns: Midwest Powerhouses Score Big

North Dakota State Bison and the St. John Johnnies, both powerhouses within their divisions, had overwhelming victories this past weekend. Both set scoring records that are astonishing.

North Dakota State Bison

The Bison defeated Mississippi Valley State 72-7, in their first game of 2017. The offense racked up 683 total yards. 2 touchdowns & 142 yards for leading rusher,  Lance Dunn.  2 touchdowns & 126 yards rushing for Ty Brooks. Their point total included an incredible 9 touchdowns.

Their defense, held Mississippi Valley State to 55 total yards, had 5 sacks, and 11 tackles for  a loss.  Just a overwhelming victory, for the number 2 ranked team in the FCS division.

St. Johns Johnnies

The Johnnies set a school record, by scoring a 98-0 victory over St. Scholastica. It was the highest point total in DIII football, in over 40 years. They held a 63-0 halftime lead. Thirteen players scored a touchdown, for fourteen total touchdowns.

Congrats to both. Since this was their 1st game of the year, I hope they will get better, and beat those records.

 

Lee Corso Signs Long Term Contract, With Game Day

Lee Corso is 82 years young, and he will be back on College Game Day, on ESPN for his 30th year. He just signed a new multi-year contract. He has always been my favorite character on the show. I always wait to see which headgear he will wear.

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What makes him so endearing to all age groups, is he sometimes mis-pronounces names, and stumbles on a few words, and can’t always get the words out. Longtime Game Day producer, Lee Fitting, says” Their is no doubt in my mind, that all the great things that Lee adds to the show, far outweigh those times, when he has a difficult time getting a few words out.

Corso is a native of Florida, and played at Florida State. His college roommate was Burt Reynolds. He got into coaching at Louisville, Indiana, and Northern Illinois, followed by a stint with the Orlando Renegades.

He was then hired by ESPN in 1987, and has been donning the head gear, ever since. As a matter of fact, he will make his 300th headgear pick in the middle of the 2017 football season.

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Lee suffered a stroke in 2009. He vowed he would make it back, even though he couldn’t speak, at the time.  But make it back, he did, a little slower and more deliberate, but everybody at ESPN adjusted. Kirk Herbstreit has said, Game Day without “The Coach” would be terrifying. Corso said he would keep doing this until they don’t want him anymore.

Corso NDSU GameDay

When you have Two Quarterbacks, You Don’t Have One

University of Minnesota football coach, P.J. Fleck, announced he is going to go with a 2 quarterback system. I’ve never been fond of a 2 quarterback system and haven’t seen it work too often. A few that have worked:

  • Florida won the national championship in 2005 with Chris Leak as the starter, and Tim Tebow brought in for red zone attempts.
  • LSU won the national championship in 2007 with Matt Ryan and Ryan Perrilloux.  They both were utilized for a specific strategy, that was a reaction, to the defense.
  • Ohio State recently played with a 2 quarterback system, and arguably was successful with it. The quarterbacks were different types, one a good passer; the other a strong runner. Besides Cardale, and J.T. Barrett, they had a 3rd option if all else failed, in Braxton Miller, their former starting quarterback, and now wide receiver.

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Reasons for using a 2 quarterback system:

  • They are both talented in specific ways. So each is played to hopefully take advantage of each’s strength.
  • They are rotated in a manner that confuses defenses.
  • The coach doesn’t have confidence in one guy doing the job.
  • You are much more prepared in the event of injury.

Reasons for not using the 2 quarterback system

  • You can easily lose your rhythm. Each quarterback has his own cadence, which causes off-sides and other penalties, when switching.
  • Each quarterback has a different style of pass, which the receivers have to remember for each series.
  • Team leadership is lost. There isn’t that leader you need in the fourth quarter, when you are down, and need to score.
  • It can cause players to transfer, so they can play more, and lead the team. Look at all the transfers that have taken place in last 10 years.
  • Having to split time takes the confidence away from both. Confidence and a little swag in college, is a must for the quarterback.

Let’s hope one of them stands out in the early games, and he then earns the starting role.

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Minnesota Gophers :Can They Play With The Big Boys?

I just read an article in the StarTribune, wondering why the University of Minnesota Football team season ticket sales, are lagging behind previous years, and short of projections. The article expressed surprise at the decline, because of the supposed increase in enthusiasm because of new coach P.J. Fleck.

I get together once a week, with some Monday morning quarterbacks, many of them former Minnesota footballers. We rehash the Gophers, Vikings, and several others. Because of who these people are and who they communicate with on a regular basis, we feel our general feelings are quite indicative of the Minnesota fan base. In reviewing this article at our Monday morning breakfast, we came up with what we felt were the major reasons, for the decline in ticket sales.

  • The general feeling is the new coach comes across as Brew II. He also talked of the Gophers previous teams, in a negative manner. he said we had to change the culture to become a winner. Perhaps he didn’t look at the records of Claeys, Kills, and Glen Mason. He hasn’t won one game yet and has a long ways to go surpass Mason. It was almost like we didn’t exist for 50 years.

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  • Minnesotans do like winners. You need to win early in the season, or you lose support of the fanbase. If they lose 3 of the first 4, you lose a lot of support. Look at Mason’s numbers, over 50,000 average in spite of playing at the Dome. It looks like they won’t reach 40,000 for the opener, and that includes 5,000 free tickets to incoming freshman.jmp 002 Gophers football practice
  • You win with talent, not with enthusiasm and hype. An example is the schools that have over 20 – 4 & 5 star recruits, such as Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma, USC, and Michigan vs. Minnesota without 1 – 4 or 5 Star recruit. You just can’t compete with them on a consistent basis.gopher C9fpWNqUIAEtMnI.0

How many times in the last 30 years, have we heard all the hype about gopher nation, being a top 25 team, and winning the Rose Bowl? I’d like to answer that with a Ronald Reagan quote “Trust, but Verify”.minnesota_golden_gophers-mascot-1986

Minnesota Vikings: O-Line Trouble Continues, But Costs More.

I’ve said in various earlier posts, that for the most part, if you want to know how a player will play for your team; look at his past. As a blogger, I can say, those players are who we thought they were.

The Minnesota Vikings played their first pre-season game against the Buffalo Bills. They continue to be plagued by inept O-line play. Last year was a disaster, but optimism prevailed as they made some off season moves, and drafted a great prospect from Ohio State. Their on field performance against the Bills, saw no change from their 2016 collapse.

They signed free agent Riley Reiff to a long term contract, for more than $11.7 million annually (Total contract is $58,000 million). The average salary for the NFL’s OffensRily Reiffive line is $ 1.7 Million. That makes Riley the 2nd highest paid Viking, behind Sam Bradford. He’s making more than Griffen, Rhodes, Smith, & Joseph.  Does that make sense?? He did start for Detroit,  but was criticized for his play, and no attempt was made to keep him. Therefore the Vikings rode with their white hats, into Detroit, with saddlebags full of money …

The Vikings also signed free agent Mike Remmers, from the Tampa Bay BuccaneMike_Remmers_2016ers for over $ 6 Million (Total contract is for $30 Million).  Prior to that,  he was with a couple of teams, including the Vikings, who cut him. Obviously, Tampa didn’t want him, so guess who charged into picture, with big money??

Let’s not forget Adam Boone, who signed last year as a free agent, for over $ 7 million annually (total contract is for over $28 million. If he played half as good, as he talks, he’d already be in the Hall of Fame.

The power egos of the Vikings have a philosophy, that if you pay a player more. he will be better. I strongly disagree. How did Koren Robinson, Bernard Berrian, & Michael Williams work for you??

If a team wants to make the playoffs, it all starts with the O-Line. If you can’t protect the quarterback, he can’t pass effectively. With the mid-range passes, and long range passes, not part of the offensive strategy, the defenses add players to the box, which limits your running game. It’s not that difficult!!!!MinnesotaVikingsreverse