Because Every Day is Kids Day. Some significant news out of Saturday's "Kids Day" open practice:
The Walking Wounded. Brace yourselves: Jewel Hampton's knee is bothering him again. Hampton didn't practice Saturday and, while he was in attendance and walking the sidelines with nothing more than a sleeve on the knee, Morehouse notes he wasn't moving well. We have yet to hear anyone claim Hampton will miss any playing time as a result of the injury, but this is the third time in 6 months that he's injured the same knee and missed practice time.
Now that you are sitting down, it's time for part 2: Bryan Bulaga didn't practice either (though he ran sprints), and Kyle Calloway didn't scrimmage (though he took part in pre-scrimmage drills). Bulaga hurt his knee earlier in the week, though it doesn't sound serious. Calloway has been out through most of camp with runner's knee; again, the injury probably isn't any more a threat to his playing time than a 6-pack and a scooter.
As if that wasn't enough, Brandon Wegher, Colin Sandeman, Chris Rowell, Steve Bigach, Marty Hopkins, Conor Boffeli, and Scott Covert didn't suit up. The first four of those are expected to play (Wegher is unofficially the frontrunner for kick and punt returner). The others aren't likely to factor into this season. Of course, one of the many things Kirk Ferentz took from his days with Belichick is notorious secrecy on the injury front; there isn't much information on any of these.
Fun With Depth Charts. Well, that was inevitable: Christian Ballard has moved to defensive tackle, making way for Broderick Binns to start at defensive end. This would be wholly unsurprising if defensive line coach Rick "Here Comes The Polish Cavalry" Kascenski hadn't lied to everyone for 6 months about the possibility of moving a defensive end to tackle. Expect the press to have a field day with this one, and by that I mean the press will participate in a 100-yard dash, then drink juice boxes provided by the coaching staff and watch Schoolhouse Rock until they can go home at 3:00.
In other news, Morehouse is declaring the backup quarterback battle over, with James Vandenberg as the winner:
Vandenberg is the No. 2 QB. During the two-minute drill, the No. 2 unit flopped badly. Vandenberg was given a second chance to make something happen, showing the reps aren’t even with him and Wienke.
As an untrained observer, I though Vandenberg looked far more game-ready, though both he and Wienke spent most of their time running from defensive linemen who had broken through the makeshift second-team offensive line. Also, despite a clear improvement in leg strength by Trent Mossbrucker, it looks like Daniel Murray's inexplicable Svengali-like hold on the placekicking job has held up through the summer. Ferentz mentioned after the practice that Mossbrucker might redshirt if he doesn't win the job, which would be smart.
Alcohol Fascism, Thy Name is Goldy. Minnesota really knows how to build atmosphere: Students with an alcohol-related offense will be Breathalyzed before being allowed into Legendary Historic TCF Bank Stadium (and, yeah, that's what we're going to call it from now on):
When the TCF Bank Stadium opens in less than two months, the University of Minnesota plans to implement a system to deter alcohol-related problems by administering breathalyzers to prior offenders.
The program, called "Check BAC" - as in blood alcohol content - is just one of the many steps the University and police are taking to prepare for the inevitable trouble that will come with bringing football back to campus. University police have been travelling around the Big Ten looking for advice on alcohol enforcement and traffic control to get ready.
Check BAC is modeled after a University of Wisconsin-Madison program. If a student is caught for underage consumption or ejected from the stadium for public intoxication, they are automatically enrolled in the program. If the student comes back to a game that same season, they will be required to provide a breath sample on a portable breath tester.
If they are underage and have alcohol in their system, they will not be allowed entry into the game. Even if they are of age, depending on their level on intoxication, they might not be admitted into the stadium.
As if it weren't enough, UM will also build gameday atmosphere by cracking down on the one thing that didn't exist at the Metrodome: tailgating. Fortunately, the Minnesota legislature (motto: "Thank God we got rid of Ventura") made sure they didn't go overboard:
The University has also created specific tailgating rules that outline where and how tailgating will be acceptable. Earlier this year the University went to the state Legislature hoping to gain authority to create and enforce their own criminal ordinances, which would allow University police to create specific laws that pertain to tailgating.
The bill was not passed, so any violations of the University's tailgating rules will be a civil matter and will involve the Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity for University students.
Of course, these Draconian measures only apply to students attending Minnesota games. I'm sure both of them will be royally pissed.
- We aren't the only team with injuries: PSU wideout linebacker Pat Mike Mauti tore his ACL, leaving the Lions even lighter at receiver linebacker. Also, OSU-nee-Michigan lineman/resident crybaby douchebag Justin Boren was injured when he tried to force his giant neck into an undersized shirt and was struck in the eye by the flying top button (OK, I made the last part up, but he's hurt and that picture is ridiculous).
- Clone Chronicles makes its predictions for the upcoming season. The conclusion?