Could Transfer DT and New DL Coach Make the Difference for 2019 Gopher Defense?

Twitter: @_Colossal18

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The music was loud. In fact, you could hear it as soon as the car was parked and turned off. I parked a couple of blocks away because it was nice out… and I don’t think I have passes for the media parking lot… I wasn’t surprised by the music because I’ve been to Gophers practice before and I know Fleck likes to jam but it still caught me slightly off-guard, given that practice music wasn’t at the top of my mind driving into Minneapolis.

I got more excited as I neared Athletes Village because that’s what the music does… that’s why it’s there. After a week+ of dance camps and dance auditions for my daughter, I was finally able to make it to a Gopher Football practice on Monday evening AND on top of that, my kids were going to be in bed by the time I got home. I was about to start a perfect night.

A few things stuck out (beyond the loud music) as practice went on, and I will have more as the days go on this week. It wasn’t until practice was over however, that I was smacked in the face by two big new personalities. When we met up with some of the coaches and players after practice, I heard the new Defensive Line Coach, Jim Panagos, and the graduate transfer DT, Micah Dew-Treadway, both talk for the first time. That’s all it took for me to be sure that both guys will make a major impact on the Gophers DL, defense, and entire 2019 team.

Jim Panagos – Defensive Line Coach

Coaching Experience (via GopherSports.com)
2019-present: Minnesota – Defensive Line
2019: Georgia Tech – Defensive Line
2018: Temple – Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line
2017: Temple – Defensive Line
2016: Pittsburgh – Defensive Consultant
2012-15: Rutgers – Defensive Line
2007-11: UCF – Defensive Line
2005: Minnesota Vikings – Defensive Line Assistant
2002-04: Minnesota Vikings – Quality Control Assistant
1994-97: C.R. James Alternative School (Tampa, Fla.) – Assistant Coach
1993: Maryland – Defensive Line Assistant

Hometown: East Islip, N.Y. (You can tell)

PJ Fleck has warned us about Coach Panagos multiple times (especially the fact that he’s difficult to understand). He and Fleck are tight and it’s easy to see why they get along so well. He is a tall block of energy. And I can confirm that he is difficult to understand. He’s a classic New York fast-talker… but it sounds like someone might be grabbing at the tip of his tongue while he talks. I love it.

I’ve also realized that I can’t embed instagram live videos into a blog. So, I’m going to use Megan Ryan’s (Star Tribune) 30-second video from Twitter, to show you a snapshot of Coach Panagos and then you have about 8 hours to watch the whole thing in our Instagram stories before it’s gone from our live feed forever…

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Jim is an interesting dude. He’s obviously very high energy and has some different philosophies. That includes using MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) in his coaching. He said that he’s been using it for nearly 15 years, since around 2003-04. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of that, but it makes sense in a lot of different ways. Coach Panagos went on to explain:

“I’ve studied it. I’ve gone and researched a lot of stuff and it’s brought me success, and it’s different and exciting , and you learn how to use your hands, how to create force, how to create space, how to create knock-back. So, I think we are doing a really good job so far. We’re not where we need to be at right now but it’s still just August.. what.. 10th-11th.. I don’t know what day it is today. Today is just football.. I just love football. So, everyday is like Saturday for me so it’s cool.. it’s a great experience.”

Again, you have to see all of Jim Panagos yourself.

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Micah Dew-Treadway – Defensive Tackle

OVERVIEW (via GopherSports.com): Transferred to Minnesota after graduating from Notre Dame and will have two seasons of eligibility with the Gophers (2019-20 and 2020-21) • enrolled at Minnesota in January 2019. 

PREVIOUS COLLEGE (via GopherSports.com): Spent four years at Notre Dame and made two tackles in 21 games • played in 12 games in 2018 and made two tackles after playing in nine games in 2017 • missed the 2016 season with a broken foot and was a member of the scout team in 2015.

You need to see both Jim Panagos and PJ Fleck talk about Micah Dew-Treadway (again, click here and go to our “stories” for all of the media availability interviews from yesterday). He transfers here as a grown man from Notre Dame where he stayed for 4 years and things just didn’t work out. He came with one year of eligibility and after a waiver request was granted by the NCAA, he now has 2 seasons of graduate eligibility remaining.

He hasn’t been here long but he’s already a leader and PJ Fleck said that’s what he expected from Dew-Treadway before he ever stepped on campus as a U of M student.

“I made it very clear when we recruited him and brought him here. You are going to help LEAD the defensive line. You’re not coming here just to enjoy this experienced group, who has played all of this football, and is well-known around the country. You’re coming here to set the tone for the whole thing… and Micah Dew-Treadway has made our entire Defensive Line level rise.. in everything.

Dew-Treadway is going to start at defensive tackle and he is going to be sticking out a lot. Fleck is hyping him up too, which means we should be excited about him. The hype will have to be real if MDT (I’m going to have to ask if I can call him that) is going to help the middle of a run defense that gave up WAY too many big plays last year.

Seriously, the Gophers have a noticeable hole at DT so if MDT (I fucking love that nickname) can jump up and look like a big time Big Ten DT right away… it could mean everything for this defense

Hopefully he can understand Panagos well enough to soak up his MMA training in time for game 1 vs South Dakota State later this month…

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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