“I think of a lot of things,” Johnson replied during the Big Ten Media Days inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. “I think obviously we are all defined by victory.”
Wins should be tough to come by for Johnson’s first team in Minnesota. The U are chosen to finish last in the 14-team Big Ten this season, according to the annual poll conducted by The Athletic and Columbus Dispatch. Twenty-eight beat reporters across the conference picked the Gophers to finish no higher than 12th.
The Gophers received 34 votes in total, while Northwestern and Penn State were tied for 12th at 81. Michigan and Purdue both received 373 votes in total, with the Wolverines receiving another first-place tally.
Continuing his answer on defining Revsine’s traits, Johnson explained in more detail: an emphasis on individual and team development, tenacity and friendliness.
“We have to be the team of all teams,” Johnson said. “These guys are laying the groundwork, which we can use as a launching pad to really take off. ”
On BTN, Johnson didn’t squarely tackle the Gophers project in the pecking order, although he did allude to it.
“We all kind of have that chip on our shoulder, and I know we all want to do the thing that I’m sure a lot of people don’t think we can do,” Johnson said. “And that’s OK.”
The Gophers have 11 incoming transfers among their 15 players, with only one healthy stock player returning from last season, center Eric Curry, who has overcome several injuries throughout his career at the U.
Curry and goaltender Payton Willis, who transferred for his second stint at Minnesota, are the only two players to have played together on the field.
“You really build this piece of chemistry from the bottom up,” Johnson said. “What we’re really trying to do in the recruiting process and with the (transfer) portal is if you’re going to take so many transfers and new parts, they better have the same ideas. better have the same ideas on and off the pitch. If they don’t have similar values and they don’t have the same ideas, that’s when the ego can come into play, that’s when agendas can come into play. ”
Johnson was hired in May and saw almost his entire 2020-21 roster go before bringing in guys for his first roster.
“This team has come together chemically much faster than I ever imagined,” Johnson said. “It started before the guys even came to campus with a string of text they got themselves. So when they got here I think they felt like they somehow already knew each other.
Willis said the strengths of the team are “our IQ and our selflessness that we have and our experience. We have a handful of guys who have been successful at the mid-major level, and they’ve got chips on their shoulders that they want to prove they can do it here too.
Big Ten Preseason Poll
1. Michigan – 373 (13)
2. Purdue – 373 (12)
3. Illinois – 320 (3)
4. Ohio State – 316
5. Maryland – 269
6. Michigan State – 262
7. Indiana – 219
8. Rutgers – 208
9. Iowa – 150
10. Wisconsin – 149
11. Nebraska – 105
12. Northwest – 81
12. Pennsylvania State – 81
14. Gophers – 34
Source: The Athletic and Columbus Dispatch
Note: Total points (first place votes)