Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Alex Reigelsperger was disappointed in his older brother's pick in rental cars for their long drive from Dayton, Ohio, to Minneapolis in the wee hours of Saturday morning, Oct. 14. Jesse Reigelsperger selected a practical Nissan Altima, instead of the sleeker Dodge Charger that Alex wanted. "Something with a little bit more speed to it," Alex lamented.
MINNEAPOLIS — Gophers coach P.J. Fleck has cautioned repeatedly that next year's football team will be younger than this year's — and that's after talking about how young this team is. A plethora of departures from the 2014 and '15 recruiting classes — which will combine to form next year's seniors and redshirt seniors — are a driving force behind Minnesota's youth remaining a central theme into 2018.
MINNEAPOLIS—If star safety Antoine Winfield Jr. can't recover from his hamstring injury this season, the Gophers will explore applying for a medical redshirt for him to gain an additional year of eligibility. Winfield, a sophomore, was carted off the practice field after initially hurting his left hamstring in preseason camp on Tuesday, Aug. 8. He returned to play in all three nonconference game before pulling the same hamstring in the first quarter of a 31-24 loss to Maryland on Saturday, Sept. 30.
MINNEAPOLIS—While Minnesota head football coach P.J. Fleck didn't name Demry Croft the starting quarterback after his resurgent fourth-quarter performance against Michigan State on Saturday, Oc.t 14, Croft has become the clear-cut choice to make his first collegiate start next week against Illinois. That is, if the redshirt sophomore from Rockford, Ill., continues to rebuild the trust he damaged during a three-week, two-game suspension for undisclosed reasons.
MINNEAPOLIS — P.J. Fleck looks at the blueprints of former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez and longtime Kansas State coach Bill Snyder as he begins building the Gophers in his image. While Alvarez and Snyder took their programs to some of the heights of college football, neither had immediate success. In Snyder's debut season in 1989, K-State went 0-10. In Alvarez's first season in 1990, the Badgers were 1-10 and 0-8 in the Big Ten.
MINNEAPOLIS — Brennan Armstrong accounted for nine touchdowns in a game at Shelby High School in 2014, yet the 14-year-old freshman quarterback didn't get much publicity for his performance. The local newspapers in north central Ohio and national outlets such as Deadspin, Fox Sports and the Sporting News all focused their coverage on the exorbitant final score — Tiffin Columbian 83, Shelby 82 — and how one of Armstrong's opposing running backs scored 10 touchdowns.
MINNEAPOLIS — Tom Sakal fought back tears when speaking to the Gophers football team last Saturday, Sept. 30. "I'm not an emotional person, but it really hit the core of me," said Sakal, the sole captain of the last Minnesota team to win a share of the Big Ten championship in 1967. Sakal addressed the Gophers as part of the team's Captains Breakfast, the first invitation he had received from the program in the 50 years since he played linebacker for co-conference champions.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota United's Christian Ramirez and Brent Kallman had some of their best home-game memories when they weren't playing. On a warm Aug. 5, Ramirez had a hood covering his head to try and remain inconspicuous while sitting among fans when the Loons played the Seattle Sounders at TCF Bank Stadium. Out with a hamstring injury, the California native and Minnesota's leading scorer watched as the energy from the diehard supporters groups — the Dark Clouds and True North Elite — built behind the east goal during a 4-0 rout by the defending MLS Cup champions.
MINNEAPOLIS — Former Chicago Bears defensive tackle William Perry will forever be known as the "Fridge." Current Gophers defensive tackle Steven Richardson is earning a name as the "Stove." These monikers based on durable metal appliances fit. Perry, a star on the 1985 Super Bowl champions, was 6 feet 2 and 330 pounds. Richardson, a Minnesota senior leader and NFL prospect, is 292 pounds while generously listed at 6 feet tall.
MINNEAPOLIS – Demry Croft has returned from a three-game suspension, but coach P.J. Fleck said Tuesday, Oct. 3, that the sophomore reserve quarterback still has a lot to prove. Croft, who battled Conor Rhoda for the starting job for the first two weeks of the season, was suspended for undisclosed reasons after a 48-14 win at Oregon State on Sept. 9. Rhoda has started the past two games, with Seth Green elevated to backup.