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Posts tagged Troy Stoudermire

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Gopher football 15 for 2012: No. 3 - Welcome to ‘Stoudermire Island’ (The Return)

3. Troy Stoudermire | CB | Senior | 5'10” 200 lbs.
G  TK   Solo  TFL INT  PD  FF
4  24   20    3   2    3   0 
Photo credit: Marisa Wojcik / Minnesota Daily

Troy Stoudermire walks into 2012 as the leader of the Gophers’ defensive backfield, if not the defense as a whole.

Defensive coordinator Tracey Claeys has an affinity for leaving his cornerbacks on an island, particularly the primary outside corner, or “boundary” corner in the Gophers defense. At the onset of 2011, that position belonged to Stoudermire. Highlighting his agility and also his strength, Stoudermire could play press coverage on an island without getting beaten like a rented mule, allowing a safety to cheat up in run coverage, take the place of a blitzing linebacker or help in deep zone.

If you remember the USC game, Robert Woods was able to get free on bubble screens and slants early in the game, taking advantage of man coverage and at other times, a soft cushion when he was lined up against Brock Vereen. In the second half though, Claeys was able to disguise coverages between man and zone, confusing Matt Barkley a bit, as he brought a cornerback on a blitz or cheated a safety toward the box. Stoudermire’s ability allowed Claeys to try and hide a glaring hole at safety across from senior Kim Royston. However, Stoudermire snapped a bone in his left forearm against Miami (Ohio) and wasn’t able to make it through the first quarter of the following week’s game against North Dakota State University. It was the last he played in 2011 and the thin defensive secondary unraveled thereafter, before rallying a bit near the end of the year.*

* - I should take a moment to say the pass defense wasn’t the biggest problem in 2011. On passing downs, the Gophers ranked 45 out of all 120 teams in Football Outsiders’ defensive S&P ranking. The Passing S&P as a whole was 63rd, while the rushing S&P ranked 93. The defense as a whole ranked 89th. Granted, the Gophers played from behind a lot and didn’t have nearly as many passing downs as rushing downs, but it is an important distinction nonetheless. MV also pointed these statistics out in his 2012 defensive back preview.

So what is S&P? S&P is a stat combination, similar to OPS in baseball. It is literally defined as the combination of a defense’s efficiency (“Success Rate”) and its explosiveness (“Equivalent Points Per Play). Taken simply, a team that has a good defense stops offenses a lot and doesn’t give up a lot of big scoring plays. Here is a more in-depth definition: A defensive success rate is defined by the percentage of plays targeting a defense in which the offense did not have a “successful” play. Equivalent Points Per Play gives each yard line a point value based on the average amount of points that a team can expect to score from that position on the field. The actual stats are then given a point value compared to that assigned point value. For more information about these terms, check out the Football Outsiders glossary.

When Stoudermire went down, the cornerbacks who stepped in were not able to play press coverage as well without the help of a safety. However, the run defense often needed an extra defender in the box and, well, you should be able to see the dominoes starting to fall.

Although the Gophers have brought in three junior college cornerbacks to provide depth, everyone knows who is No. 1. The better Stoudermire is on the corner, locking down opponents’ best receiving targets, the better the defense will be as a whole. He has returned this spring fully healthy, reportedly looking strong throughout spring and fall practice.

I have to admit I’m surprised to see Stoudermire in this position. In September 2010 he was suspended indefinitely by then-coach Tim Brewster. Stoudermire made a Facebook post about leaving the team, but was reinstated and moved back to defense, where he had started his Gopher career in 2008. Midway through his freshman year in 2008, Brewster moved the speedy corner to wide receiver, in order to capitalize on his playmaking ability. He continued as a kick returner and wide receiver in 2009.

(Important footnote: It was this year against Iowa when Jedd Fisch and Brewster famously called for the Weber to Stoudermire jump ball on the two-yard line on third down, in the fourth quarter. The 5-foot, 10-inch Stoudermire was unable to reel in the pass.)

As Stoudermire’s progress at receiver seemed stagnant, he instantly responded to playing cornerback near the end of 2010 and entered 2011 as the unquestioned No. 1. After last year’s season-ending injury, the NCAA granted him a fifth-year, and he’s now the leader of a young defensive secondary.

If Troy Stoudermire does nothing else in his Gopher career, he will at least be remembered for several years for his brutal fumble-causing hit on Marcus Coker in 2010, a play that guaranteed the Floyd of Rosedale would return to Minnesota. The hit put an exclamation point on the end of the Gophers’ three-year winless streak in rivalry trophy games.

In 2012, the Gophers need him to display more of that flair for the big moment.

Filed under Troy Stoudermire Minnesota Golden Gophers Minnesota Gophers football Minnesota Minnesota Gophers Gopher football 15 for 2012

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Gopher football 2012: An early look at the defensive secondary

Troy Stoudermire

(Photo credit: Brace Hemmelgarn Photography)
Although 2011 starters Troy Stoudermire (pictured above) and Brock Vereen return to the Gophers’ defensive backfield, those cornerbacks are the only players offering much experience in what should be a completely re-tooled defensive secondary this season. Here’s a look at which newcomers are poised to make an impact for the Golden Gophers. 

During an early season game against New Mexico State last season, BTN announcer Wayne Larrivee described the bulk of the Gophers defensive backfield: “Troy Stoudermire was playing receiver (last year), Kim Royston hasn’t played football in two years and Shady Salamon was a running back.”

Jokes aside, the description was completely accurate.

Falling in line with that theme, it wasn’t pretty much of the season, especially after Stoudermire, the No. 1 cornerback, was lost for most of the year with a wrist injury. A thin defensive secondary quickly showed its lack of depth.

Early in the year, with Stoudermire still playing, Robert Woods had a USC record 17 catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns as the Gophers tried to give him a soft cushion to prevent the deep pass. Matt Barkley passed for 304 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, completing 76 percent of his passes.

Barkley ended up one of the year’s most celebrated quarterbacks, but the gaudy stats weren’t limited to those often on ESPN.

Read more …

Filed under Minnesota Golden Gophers Minnesota Golden Gophers Football Jerry Kill Gopher football Troy Stoudermire Brock Vereen Antonio Johnson Damarius Travis Jeremy Baltazar Brien Boddy Martez Shabazz Derrick Wells Eric Murray

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LINKS: Where do the Gophers stack up among all 120 NCAA teams? Where does MarQueis Gray stack up against his Big Ten peers?

Goldy the Gopher at TCF Bank Stadium

(Photo credit: Unsourced, linked at ChrisBrummund.com)

Minnesota Football - We’re 96! We’re 96! In this week’s installment of “At least we’re not Indiana” news, the Orlando Sentinel is rating all of the Division I-FBS teams, with the Golden Gophers coming in 96th. (Close circuit to the under-informed reader, there are 120 FBS teams total.) The Sentinel’s Matt Murschel lists The U between Utah State and Wake Forest, and only two spots ahead of Indiana. Also, Minnesota is actually two spots behind Wyoming and the Sentinel has yet to rate Idaho, which is like rating the Toledo Mud Hens over the Kansas City Royals. Yeah, the Royals (and Gophers) are awful, but they are awful against the top competition. But rather than needlessly rail against a No. 98 ranking, I’ll refer to my earlier example that I’d rather have writers and other teams underrate the Gophers than have some idiot trotting around with a square of sod from the Rose Bowl again. (I also had to say “Serenity now” a couple of times. There, the anger just melted away.)

Murschel lists the Gophers’ strengths as hiring Jerry Kill and the return of the two-headed running back tandem of DeLeon Eskridge and Duane Bennett. MV over at FringeBowlTeam openly questioned if running back can be a strength, being that neither of them ran for more than 1,000 yards and while I understand his take, I think both can be solid, while not spectacular, contributors and that the position represents a rare amount of depth on this squad.

Looking at weaknesses, Murschel starts with losing Adam Weber and moving Gray back to quarterback. I disagree. As I’ve said before, Minnesota wasted time last year by splitting Gray out wide instead of bringing him under center a few more times. Putting Gray at receiver was better than making him serve clipboard duty, but it was clear a few games into the season that the team wasn’t going to contend for even a fringe bowl. While it wasn’t all Weber’s fault, his Jacque Jones-esque throws on several out patterns and screen passes weren’t helping matters. Of the six graduating seniors listed, capable to eventual improvements step in at five of the positions: Gray comes in for Weber (QB), Kim Royston comes in for Ryan Collado (FS), Jimmy Gjere for Jeff Willis (RT), Ryan Wynn for DJ Burris (C) and Chris Hawthorne for Eric Ellestad (K).

Of the Gophers’ weaknesses that should have been listed, overall team depth, wide receiver and stability in the defensive backfield — particularly at cornerback — are major concerns. 

Gophers: Troy Stoudermire causes fumble against IowaTroy Stoudermire: Shut-down corner? Springing off of the questionable secondary, cornerback Troy Stoudermire was named to the All-Spring Team by Rivals’ Tom Dienhart. Dienhart said he was thoroughly impressed by the former WR’s spring practice. Writes Dienhart:

"He easily was the star of the spring for Minnesota. Stoudermire, a senior, made at least one interception, bone-jarring hit, pass breakup and tackle for loss every day through spring ball. A full spring and summer of playing corner should prepare him to be a lock-down defender. In addition, Stoudermire is a top return man."

As others have already stated elsewhere, shut-down corner is probably a bit too steep for expectations, but Stoudermire has raised the ceiling of his potential with a strong game against Iowa and tackling like Antonie Winfield this spring. Hopefully he makes good on Dienhart’s praise.

Gophers: McKnight touchdown against USCThe Gophers’ opening game against the USC Trojans has been set for 2:30 p.m. (central) at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The game will be aired nationally on ABC. Here’s hoping Pam Ward has prior commitments that bar her from walking anywhere near an ABC broadcast microphone, although she does bring a certain wonderment to the gameday experience. I define that “wonderment” as: “I wonder what it would be like to listen to a blind woman, who was never able to watch an American football game before losing her eyesight, broadcast a football game." Pam, who has actually been moved to ESPN U, might respond to my negativity by saying: "The game is over!… So we’re going to overtime.” No word yet on which camera has been assigned to Layla Kiffin patrol.

Jerry Kill is impressed with MarQueis Gray’s spring progress. In the local media, Kill has declined to officially name Gray the starter while continually making critical comments about the state of the team. But to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Kill spoke more generally and more supportively of his new players. Kill told the Gazette’s Scott Dochterman that Gray has impressed him thus far: “He’s really surprised me for a kid that was hurt his high school senior year, then hasn’t played quarterback, then making the transition to the position,” Kill said. “He’s learned very well. He’s a very quick learner. He doesn’t make the same mistake twice. He’s a tremendous athlete. No question about that. I think Coach (Jim) Zebrowski, our quarterback coach, has done a heck of a job with him.

It’s otherwise a pretty general write-up, but it does include video of the Gophers taking back Floyd of Rosedale, which after the first part of last season, has yet to age.

MarQueis Gray, Golden Gophers, Tron Legacy EditionIs MarQueis Gray the 11th best quarterback in the Big Ten? That’s where The Daily Gopher ranked him in its look at the Big Ten’s signal callers. If you’re just rating players based on experience, I can’t begrudge them too much — Gray has had more snaps at wide receiver and in the shotgun in a modified wildcat offense than he has at actual quarterback. But on talent? I’m not so sure he belongs quite so low. Yes, I’m awfully, horribly biased as a Gopher stooge, but it’s easier to rank Gray when we consider this question: Who would you definitely rather have play quarterback instead of Gray?

In random order: Terrelle Pryor and the Pryorettes (whoever is going to start the first five games) are an easily better option, Denard Robinson is incredible, Taylor Martinez is the kind of QB that appears to Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne in dreams and as far as passers, Dan Persa and Kirk Cousins are the most polished in the conference.

Nathan Scheelhaase — which I always change in my head to “Steeple Chase,” I’m an idiot — is intriguing, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some regression from him as teams see him for the second time this year. Also, losing nearly 1,700 yards of rushing from Mikel LeShoure will hurt the offense, even if Jason Ford is capable.  But, he has at least a year under his belt and he played pretty well in 2010, so I can understand people who would want a more proven quarterback in Steeple Chase than Gray.

But the two-headed Rob Bolden/Matt McGloin monster? Ehh. James Vandenberg? I was at the 12-0 game in Iowa City, he wasn’t exactly Tom Brady coming off the bench. (Also, I second TDG’s idea that we call Vandenberg “Johnny Moxon.”) Rob Henry? What happens if Robert Marve beats him out for the job this fall? Jon Budmayr? Wisconsin didn’t even want to break spring practice with him penciled in as the No. 1 (nor would I) and Indiana has yet to settle its QB position.

So, in my extended homerific analysis, Gray is at best fifth or sixth in the conference and at worst ahead of QB Hoosiers (c) Super Tecmo Bowl, Budmayr and Vanderberg. I would personally rather have him over Bolden/McGloin, Henry/Marve and Scheelhaase, but I can’t take exception to others putting him below those passers.

Filed under Minnesota Golden Gophers Minnesota Golden Gophers Football MarQueis Gray Jerry Kill Troy Stoudermire USC Trojans