Q&A With An Opponents Blogger: Minnesota

This week we here at MotSaG had the privilege of working with Rob Litt of Gopherhole.com. Not only was Rob nice enough to join our podcast and bring us great insight into the Minnesota football program but he was kind enough to answer some questions for our Buckeye Nation fans to enjoy. I also hope you enjoy the new set-up I’m trying this week.

Minnesota has 5 consecutive afternoon (11am) kickoffs. does this feel like a slight towards the program?

I think fans are frustrated with having so many 11am kickoffs this season and there is a sense of feeling slighted. It obviously cuts down on tailgating time and the atmosphere isn’t quite as electric at the onset as it could be if it was a later start time. We’d love more night games and hope that the Big Ten loosens their grip on that.

Injury report- WR Drew Wolitarsky (ankle), DE Alex Keith (knee), and RT Ben Lauer (ankle). Any word on their status for Saturday’s game? Any other injuries for the Golden Gophers?

Outside of those three, we’re pretty healthy. We don’t anticipate any additional significant injury updates.

Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer said in a teleconference that Minnesota is a Top 25 team and the stats prove that. Do you feel there is a negative stereotype against Minnesota by the national media?

I think there is certainly a “prove it” mentality and that’s OK. We were on the fringe of the Top 25 a few weeks back and our guys were quoted as saying they like being under the radar, a bit of the underdog. It’s the Jerry Kill mentality and it fits our program well. That being said, we are now in the CFP Top 25 and we’d embrace the pressure of having a national ranking if it was bestowed upon us.

I have to admit I haven’t watched a ton of Minnesota games this season but they are well coached in the fundamentals especially on the defensive side of the ball. Who get the most credit for that head coach Jerry Kills or defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys?

This is a coaching staff that truly is a collective group. Most of these guys have been with Coach Kill for more than a decade. We have very little, if any coaching turnover. So the credit and the blame is shared across the board with the staff. It’s a very close staff and the continuity is embraced here.

Looking at the stats QB Mitch Leidner isn’t a top QB only throwing for 1205 yards, 10 TD’s and 6 INT’s. Do the Gophers rely to much on their running game?

We’re 7-2 with only one bad loss, so the formula is working to date. Mitch is a game manager right now and he was very effective against Iowa. He sells play action pretty well and is becoming more accurate when he does take a shot down field. He’s only a sophomore and he’s progressing well.

Speaking of the running game could you please tell the Buckeye fans about David Cobb and what they are about to witness Saturday with his style of play?

Simply put, he’s a workhorse. He is one of the nation’s leaders in carries and rushing yards. He doesn’t have blazing speed but he is a tough back to tackle, and runs very hard between the tackles. He has a good shot to become the programs all time single-season rushing leader and has been as dependable as they come.

Minnesota’s keys to stopping Ohio States explosive offense?

We have a great secondary. For the first time in years, its a true strength of ours. We also have one of the Big Ten’s top defensive players in Damien Wilson. He’s a tackling machine and the anchor of the defense. We’ll need to create turnovers in this game and hope that the potential for snow slows down the Buckeyes.

Do you feel if Minnesota played TCU now the results would be way different including a win for the Gophers?

I don’t think we would win, though I hope it would have been closer. To be honest, outside of a three minute span against Baylor, TCU might be the best team in the nation this year. They have a fantastic team. We played horribly that game and the score honestly could have been worse, but Gary Patterson took the pedal off the gas a bit in the second half against his good buddy Jerry Kill.

Last week Minnesota played 7 true freshman on the defensive side of the ball and they took it to the Hawkyes. Should the Buckeyes expect the same no fear defense Saturday?

We took a lot of chances on defense which you can do when you build a lead like we had. We got aggressive and really went for the jugular on offense and defense. We feasted on the Hawkeyes and it was oh so fun! We’ll probably call a more conservative defensive game against Ohio State.

Final predictions for the game?

Heart says a big upset, head says a 38-17 Buckeye win. Either way, it’s nice to have the Buckeyes back on the Gopher schedule after a few years of not playing each other. I know a lot of Gopher fans hope to make the trip to Columbus next season.

Once again I thank Rob so much for his help this week not only with today’s piece but with the podcast. It is nice to see Ohio State play Minnesota again especially since the program is turning around and head coach Jerry Kill is doing an outstanding job with his team. Minnesota is going to be making some noise over in the West of the Big Ten for some time as long as Kills is on the sidelines. Speaking of coach Kill it is so great to see such a quality human being and great coach doing such an amazing job with his coaching staff and kids. The Minnesota football team has bought into his philosophy and it shows on the field with their sound fundamental play. It’s also great to see coach Kill on the sideline with his recent history of epilepsy would be great for Buckeye Nation to help support the Epilepsy Foundation in honor of a great man like Jerry Kill.

You can follow Rob and his crew at gopherhole.com on twitter or check out their site Gopherhole.com, lots of great stuff up there. For my prediction like I said on our podcast I predict Buckeyes come home with a win 34-17. Any Buckeyes going to the game stay warm and have fun. Let me know your thoughts on the new format and your predictions on the game.

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