Mason keeps subplots out of Saturday’s Ohio State game

by Anthony Maggio

On Sunday, a truculent Glen Mason made it clear he would only answer questions about his team this week, nothing about injuries and definitely nothing about Ohio State.

But Tuesday afternoon, Mason lightened up a bit and entertained a few thoughts on his alma mater.

“I will be eternally grateful for everything those people that were involved at that institution did for me,” Mason said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without Ohio State.”

Mason graduated from Ohio State in 1972, and was a letterwinner on the Buckeyes Big Ten championship team in 1970.

Another topic Mason talked about was Jim Tressel, the man who earned the head coaching job at Ohio State for this season – the position Mason wanted.

“Tressel’s a darn good coach,” Mason said. “Jim and I go way back.”

Tressel was an assistant for the Buckeyes from 1983-85. Mason was an Ohio State assistant from 1978-1985.

Mason’s quest for the Ohio State head coaching job last season was highly publicized, and caused a stir among Minnesota players.

But since then, Mason’s focus is completely with the Gophers, and the players say Mason’s job search is the last thing on their minds.

“We don’t even think about that any more,” safety Jack Brewer said. “That never even comes up anymore. We’re 3-4 right now and we need three more wins to make it to a bowl. That’s what we’re thinking about.”

Back in backs

After shaking the rust off last weekend with 12 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown, sophomore Thomas Tapeh now gives Minnesota three talented options in the backfield.

Tapeh tallied carries at both the fullback and tailback positions against Murray State, but Mason said not to expect the Gophers to spend more time than usual in two back sets.

“We’ll keep doing what we’re doing,” Mason said. “We’re getting better.”

Blocked punts

According to Mason, Saturday’s kicking performance was a story of “the good, the bad and the ugly.”

Minnesota has suffered three punts blocked already this season, which hasn’t made Mason happy.

“We’ve got to work this punt thing out,” Mason said. “It’s driving me crazy.”

However, Mason said his team can’t work on the punting game anymore than it does, as it would take time away from offense and defense.

Sleeping in

ESPN will televise the Ohio State game at 6:45 p.m., meaning the Gophers will be sleeping in Saturday morning – much to Mason’s chagrin.

“Players hate the late start,” Mason said. “I don’t particularly like them either.”

Also due to the late start, Minnesota will have an afternoon walk through before the game.

Bobbling heads

10,000 Goldy Gopher bobblehead dolls will be randomly handed out to fans in attendance for Saturday’s game against Ohio State.

Halloween festivities

All families are invited to the Metrodome before Saturday’s game for holiday festivities. Activities will include a costume contest, trick-or-treating and prizes. The gates will open at 5 p.m. and tickets are $11. Included in the cost is a ticket to the game, a hot dog, and a soft drink. Tickets can be purchased by calling (612)-624-8080.


Anthony Maggio covers football and
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