Minnesota’s next team has a new name

Michael Dougherty

It’s safe to say Notre Dame is probably the most recognizable name in college football.
It’s also safe to say that Minnesota’s opponent for Saturday night, the Indians from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, is the least recognizable. That’s because they just changed their name last Friday from the old name, Northeast Louisiana.
So let’s get to know a little about this school. The Sports Information Office of the Indians has let the media know that they expect to be referred to as one of the following six names: University of Louisiana at Monroe; UL Monroe; Louisiana-Monroe; ULM; The Louisiana Indians: or just plain old Indians.
The last time the Indians had more wins than they now have names was six years ago. And although current Broncos backup quarterback Bubby Brister and former Chargers quarterback Stan Humphries — who is now an assistant coach for the Indians — head up a nice little list of alumni, it’s just not the same as Knute Rockne, George Gipp and the rest of the Golden Domers.
Angel is alumnus
Saturday’s kickoff had to be moved to 7 p.m. because the Twins play Anaheim at 11 a.m. at the Metrodome that same day.
Angels pitcher Chuck Finley, who played at Louisiana-Monroe in the early 1980s, is scheduled to start against the Twins.
Faked-out free safety
Junior free safety Delvin Jones continued his strong special teams play in Saturday’s game with a blocked punt that resulted in a safety. Jones also recovered a fumble by Ohio’s punter Dave Zastudil on Ohio’s 11-yard line that ultimately resulted in a Billy Cockerham touchdown run.
Jones ended up with nine tackles in the game, but it was a fake-out on a fake punt early in the second half that removed some of the luster from Jones’ shining day.
Zastudil took the snap and threw a pass to Chris London that went for 10 yards and an Ohio first down. Jones read the fake a bit late and could only wave at the ball as he watched it go over his outstretched arms.
“I read it so good, and at first I was going to hit the man (London), but then I saw the ball coming and knew I couldn’t hit him,” Jones said. “I saw the ball coming, and it was coming so slow, and I wanted to get it, but I lost it. Boy, they got me good on that one.”
NFL is the NGL (Notalotta Gophers League)
Sunday’s list of final cuts in the NFL wreaked havoc on the Gophers’ already small list of players in the NFL.
Ben Williams (defensive end from 89-90) was cut by the Vikings; Lamanzer Williams (defensive end from 94-97) was cut by the Jaguars and the Chargers’ Ryan Thelwell (wide receiver from 93-96) was also cut.
That leaves Minnesota with only four players left in the NFL — Giants center Brian Williams, Lions quarterback Cory Sauter, Falcons linebacker Craig Sauer and Patriots running back Tony Carter. However, both Lamanzer Williams and Thelwell have a good chance of getting picked up in the next week.
Comparatively, other Big Ten schools litter NFL rosters.
Ohio State leads the list with 47 players on NFL rosters as of July 1. Penn State is a close second with 46. And the Gophers — four. Heck, the Buckeye’s had twice that many players drafted in 1999 alone. Not to pour salt in an open wound, but even the Indians from Louisiana have 12 alumni currently in the NFL.
Improper penalties
Mason said he was not happy with two of his players and their celebrating techniques during Saturday’s game but would not indicate who the two were.
He pointed to Saturday’s 26-22 Michigan win against Notre Dame as an example of what the excessive celebration could do.
After Notre Dame scored to take a 22-19 lead, they were penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration. The penalty forced Notre Dame to kick from its own 20 instead of the 35, giving Michigan better field position. The Wolverines went on to score with just over two minutes left.
Mason said he agrees with the attempted limitation of celebration but would like to see the penalty changed.
“I think the penalty is too severe,” he said. “Make it a five-yard penalty, or make the first one a warning. Fifteen yards is equal to a flagrant foul. It changed the whole outcome of the game.”

Michael Dougherty covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]