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Q&A with The Daily Gopher.

As I've done before, I did a quick Q&A with the Daily Gopher, a new Minnesota blog that is a joint effort between the former publishers of Gopher Nation and Paging Jim Shikenjanski. Tom, formerly of GN, submitted some questions to me and I to him. His answers to my questions are below, and my answers will be posted at TDG sometime today. My questions are in crimson and the answers are in gold.
1. I won't ask if the Gophers have improved, because obviously they have. What are the major areas of improvement, and what do you expect for the Big Ten season.
Athleticism on defense is the biggest area of improvement. This is hard to quantify but a few JUCO transfers and a couple position changes have made this defense faster and better equipped to defend at a Big Ten level. The 2007 version was illequipped to defend the pass and was often out of position all over the field. Not being in position made it hard to tackle on the rush and left receivers wide open. Fast forward to 2008 and we are now close enough to receivers to break up passes, we are fast enough to actually pressure a quarterback and we are closing running lanes faster. This is leading to not as many yards allowed, being in the right place to get turnovers and getting teams off the field on third down more often.

2. I sort of lost track of the story and I'm too lazy to use the Google: Tim Brewster shocked many when he signed Indianapolis Ben Davis quarterback Marqueis Gray, but Gray ran into some academic trouble before the season. Has there been any resolution? Will Gray ever play a down for the Gophers?
No resolution to date. He is retaking his ACT and those results will determine his future. The program and the recruiting services who talk with Gray all beleive his plans are still to attend Minnesota in January, but the longer this drags out my hope diminishes. Nothing would please me more than to see him wearing maroon and gold next fall, but he has some hurdles to overcome.

3. Adam Weber and Eric Decker are well-known, but who else should the Hoosiers worry about on Saturday?
Outside of Decker there really is no great receiving threat. Brewster brought in a handful of talented and athletic wide receivers with his 2008 recruiting class but to date none have contributed more than one reception on the season. There has been talk this week that one or two may be ready to step up and contribute and fans in Gopher Nation are anxious to see it happen. If given the opportunity watch out for a breakout game from someone like Brandon Green, DaJon McKnight or Xavier Brandon. In the running game, true freshman DeLeon Eskridge has stepped up nicely into the workhorse role. He won't be mistaken for Laurence Maroney or Marion Barber but he is showing flashes of some explosiveness. If ignored he too could break out for some big plays.
Yeah, what can I say, it was a busy week, so I didn't ask as much as I would have liked, but thanks to the Daily Gopher.