With the advent of Fall, our attention turns to football and the joy of speculating. The media is all over the Vikings but it is the Gopher’s that may produce the most pleasant surprises. First of all, with the exception of Illinois, there is parity in our western division. Hence, victory will likely go to the teams that are consistent and balanced. In that regard, I like Northwestern, Iowa, and Minnesota. These three resemble the teams of the old Big Ten - not flashy but good at pounding the ball and being successful with the short passing game. Nebraska and Purdue have some highly skilled players and are dependent on the long ball and big plays. This produces some big upsets but those kind of teams tend not to be sufficiently steady.
Wisconsin is the enigma. They have the best running back in the Big Ten and potential strength at quarterback. But I question their ability to put put together consistent performances.
That is why I like the Gophers. They have a solid offensive line with some real heft that will be determinative in tight spots and an array of experienced running backs that know how to get the job done. They have the ability to grind it out like the old Ohio State teams. The are weak in the long passing game but have an array of talented receivers who know how to get open and a second year QB who is sufficiently experienced to make that short range offense produce.
The real question mark is in the defense. The management adjustments last year worked exceedingly well producing some excellent results against good offensive powers like Purdue, Wisconsin, and Georgia Tech. There is no reason to believe that will not continue.
Whether or not our kicking game is solid remains to be seen and that could be a key factor in some close games. But, overall, the Gophers have the ability to stay with any team including power houses like Penn State. And I like their attitude - they know they are underrated and are determined to show the prognosticators that they are wrong. I agree and see the Gophers going out with a 9-3 record and possibly 10-2.
See you at the Big Bowl!
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Raised in South Dakota, a standout student, David Liilehaug at an early age knew he would have a series of excellent choices ahead. After graduating from Augustana College, he chose Harvard Law. Now he would be competing with the best of the best. Again, he excelled and all doors of opportunity were opened. It could have been a life of wealth and status, but he chose public service. That was his “True North”. He wanted to shape the discourse of the body politic.
He became active in the partisan political arena serving in campaigns from Walter Mondale’s to Paul Wellstone’s. But one problem with politics at this level is that it tends to underuse legal talent. His appointment as United States Attorney opened that door for fulfillment. Here, in Minnesota, we have been blessed with a series of excellent appointments who placed law above politics. The Office of United States Attorney was viewed as the finest in our legal system. David Lillehaug quickly stepped into this new role with enthusiasm and made it absolutely clear that professionalism in protecting the majesty of law would dominant and politics would remain a nonconcern. That is our legal system at its best.
When Governor Dayton elevated Lillehaug to the Minnesota Supreme Court , this will stand as one of the finest appointments ever. Our court needed Lillehaug’s legal intellect, his ability to work with others to frame decisions, and his talent for understandable communication. Invariably, it was his South Dakota upbringing, not his Harvard J.D, that spoke to us.
But we also knew that the Lillehaug character reflected the finest in ethics and used the Court to express the highest standards of decency. Now, poor health is compelling David Lillehaug to retire. We can honor him with testimonials, letters of gratitude, and expressions of good will. That is the reward of excellent public service and no one desires our gratitude more.
I know one thing, history will always place him with the best of the best. And, we as citizens, will always be grateful that David Lillehaug chose a life in public service. We have been extraordinarily well served.
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