We are happy to be spending our second Thanksgiving online with Gophers fans from all over the world. In the spirit of the holiday, we want to spend it with friends and family and reflect on things that we are thankful for. We reached out to our friends Joe Funk and Kyle Goblirsch over at Gopher247 and asked them to share with us their thoughts on the subject.
Here are the things we’re thankful for:
- With the loss of multiple players to early departure last year, the Minnesota men’s and women’s hockey teams had a lot of questions coming into the season. How would the freshmen and other young players step up? They’ve stepped up big and both teams hold the No. 1 ranking in the nation. Head coaches Brad Frost and Don Lucia have a tough job in keeping the nation’s most well-known college hockey teams at the top and they have a bounty of talent to lead them into the future. — Steve
- I’m thankful for relevancy in the football program. The Gophers have been the red headed stepchild of the Big Ten for the better part of the last decade. With the exception of a mini run in 2008 under Tim Brewster, the Gophers have hardly been given a second glance by the national college football audience. Jerry Kill’s year three magic continued this year. The Gophers squeaked into the top 25, for at least a couple days there was a slight chance College Gameday would come to Dinkytown. The Thursday before the Badger game there was a front page article on the Gophers on ESPN, Yahoo and CBSsports. Now the Gophers are going for win number nine this week. The last time that happened was in 2009, and has only happened seven total times. It’s good to be a Gopher right now. — Joe
- I’m thankful for the major change in style and tempo that was brought to the Barn this season by Richard Pitino. Fans are just starting to get a taste of the full court press and up tempo run and gun Gophers. While year one will be a transition season with many of its own challenges, the entertainment value from the Gophers transition game should be exciting and able to keep fans interested. The future looks bright in the new Pitino system. I’m also thankful for the NCAA approving the immediate transfer of Joey King, a forward that understands how to break down a 2-3 zone from the high post, something of an issue at The Barn in the past. — Kyle
- Leadership is not always easy to come by with any sports team. For Hugh McCutcheon and the Minnesota volleyball team, he has a trio of seniors that are leaders for the future of Golden Gophers athletes on the hardcourt. The power combination of Tori Dixon and Ashley Wittman along with the finesse of setter Alexandra Palmer are primed to lead Minnesota into the upcoming NCAA tournament and hopefully a deep run towards a national championship. Dixon and Wittman have been playing together for a decade now and epitomize what it means to wear Maroon and Gold. — Steve
- Maybe biggest of all, I’m thankful for a Gophers Football staff that understands how to identify talent around the country. Not stargazers by any means, but true talent evaluators that will continue to find the right athletes for the University of Minnesota. I’m also thankful for 247Sports recruiting innovation tools (ex. Crystal Ball and Class Calculator) that make life a lot more entertaining and enjoyable for Joe, myself and our entire Gopher247 team. — Kyle