As my heart pounded in my chest while I watched Tiger’s near-comeback today at the Masters, it got me thinking. When was the last time I, or anyone else for that matter, felt that same excitement while watching a Gophers football game? Sure, it’s always intense when the Gophers face a division rival like Wisconsin or Iowa, but when have you really felt your heart skip-a-beat from watching Gophers pigskin?
My guess is if you have, it’s been a while.
In the last 20 years, the Gophers have finished above .500 in Big Ten play only twice. During that same period, the Gophers are 3-6 in bowl games. Keep in mind six of those bowl games include the Music City Bowl and the Insight bowl; three times apiece. Since 2000, the team is 65-71. The Gophers last won a Rose Bowl in 1962 and a national championship in 1960.
It’s tough to get excited about a team that has been mediocre for so long. Brand-new TCF Bank Stadium, which was supposed to revive the U of M campus, has been plagued by empty seats and half-full student sections.
The Gophers need to produce a consistent winner.
To accomplish this arduous task, I have highlighted ten objectives (in no particular order) that will bring the Gophers football program back to relevance. These objectives, which have previously been emphasized by head coach Jerry Kill, are essential to building a successful football program. They include characteristics which have been absent from recent Gopher teams. In a weekly series, called “Gopher Goals,” I will highlight a goal listed below and describe how Kill is implementing it into the program. For the Gophers best chance to become successful, these goals must be met.
- Make sure players are academically eligible to play.
- Win the games you’re supposed to.
- Play extraordinary defense.
- Run the ball consistently.
- Rush the quarterback.
- Utilize offensive playmakers.
- Improve special teams.
- Out-hustle opponents.
- Overcome recruiting challenges.
- Fill TCF Bank Stadium.
Now, Kill would be the first to tell you it could take years before a winner is produced. Addressing these issues is only the beginning of rebuilding a football program that is in shambles. They are by no means the answer. Rejuvinating this program will be a long, tough task for Coach Kill and his staff. However, the sooner these goals can be reached, the quicker a winning team will be produced.
Speaking for all Gopher fans, I am fed up with losing and mediocrity. Reaching these goals in a timely manner will give fans something to be excited about.
Look for Gopher Goal #1 this week.
- The Gophers spring game will be held at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, April 23rd at 1pm (CT).
- The Big Ten announced the conference s