U in midst of lengthy layoff from game action

John R. Carter

Minnesota’s football team announced Monday it would host Murray State on October 27th at the Metrodome. The schedule adjustment was made to give the Gophers 11 total games this season since last Saturday’s game with Baylor was postponed until Sept. 11, 2004.

“Since the weekend, college football is in a mad scramble to try to get schedules filled out,” coach Glen Mason said. “I just thought the best thing to do would be to get in one more game.”

Although another game was added, Minnesota is currently in the midst of a three-week stretch without a game due to the Baylor postponement and an upcoming bye-week.

Asked if he thought that was a long time, Mason said: “I think that is an understatement.”

The Gophers returned to practice Monday and began preparing for their Big Ten opener against Purdue on Sept. 29. It will be two more weeks until Minnesota takes the field again.

To put things in perspective, the Gophers opened fall practice on Aug. 9, and started the season with a loss to Toledo on Aug. 30 – exactly 21 days apart.

Between Minnesota’s last game – a 44-14 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 8 – and kick-off with the Boilermakers, there are 21 days.

“When you look at it, we’re going to have almost as much time as you do when you first start during two-a-days, with full pads, to now get ready for a game,” Mason said.

The question now is: Does the three-week layoff help or hurt the Gophers?

Mason said it’s a wait an see proposition.

“You normally wouldn’t want two open dates back-to-back,” Mason said. “But at the same time, that’s normally what you get when you go to a bowl game, if not more.”

In Mason’s four years at the helm, the Gophers are 3-1 when playing after a week off. In contrast, Minnesota went 0-2 when given more time to prepare for its last two bowl games.

However, senior offensive tackle Matt Anderle thinks the Gophers won’t have a problem with the layoff.

“I don’t think it’s really going to affect us,” Anderle said. “We would have liked to have another game under our belt before we started the Big Ten season, since that’s what we’ve been building for. But we’re going to have a long time to prepare for Purdue and I think we’ll stay in shape. In the middle of the football season, getting a little rest can be a good thing.”

Extra Points

Illinois, which was supposed to open its Big Ten season Saturday against Michigan, has announced a schedule change.

The Illini will play the Wolverines on Sept. 29 instead, so they can face Louisville at home this Saturday. The Cardinals were scheduled to visit Illinois last Saturday.