Greg Menard, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior defensive end from Lakeville North, recently had a busy weekend. He helped lead the Panthers to the state Class 6A quarterfinals to a 42-0 win over Roseville Friday and attended the Minnesota-Michigan game.
Menard has helped lead a Panther defense that has allowed just 6.0 points per game the past eight contests and has had three shutouts in that stretch. Menard, who also attended the New Hampshire and Northwestern games and recently talked to Gopher Hole about the latest on his recruitment.
Menard has helped lead the Panthers to a 9-1 record as they face Prior Lake Thursday in the Class 6A playoffs at the Metrodome. The Panthers lost their only game to the Lakers 10-6, ruining their homecoming.
Gopher Hole: I know that you have been to a few Gopher games so far this season. What schools are you hearing from right now?
Greg Menard: I have gotten a couple of letters from Minnesota, Iowa and Iowa State.
Gopher Hole: Did you get a chance to go to many college football camps this past summer?
Greg Menard: I went to the Minnesota one and the Iowa State one as well.
Gopher Hole: Have you thought much about what camps you would like to attend next summer?
Greg Menard: I am trying to go to a couple of Big 12 ones and hopefully, some Big Ten ones as well.
Gopher Hole: You are having a great season this year. You stumbled against Prior Lake, but have bounced back. How pleased are you with how well things are going this season?
Greg Menard: I am pretty happy. The defense at the beginning of the year, we played a little bit shaky, but I think that we are pulling together now and we have a good chance going into the playoffs, to get hot.
Gopher Hole: You lost some key players on the offensive end, including Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year Trey Heid. You have maybe surprised some people with your strong offensive play this season. How pleased are you with your strong play so far this season?
Greg Menard: Our offense was putting up a lot of points at the beginning of the season and towards the middle was struggling a bit, but they have been pulling it together lately. Our O-line has been starting to make a push and our running game is opening and that has lead to the passing game and that will lead into the playoffs.
Gopher Hole: What things have you been really working on to improve yourself as a player?
Greg Menard: I am trying to work on my pass rush a lot. I know that I haven’t gotten as many sacks as I should. I should have a couple more. I need to work on when the offensive line stands up and getting to the quarterback faster.
Gopher Hole: Are you playing any other sports at Lakeville North?
Greg Menard: I do track and field. 200 meter dash and 400 meter dash.
Gopher Hole: Do you think that helps you in terms of speed and strength training?
Greg Menard: It does. We weight lift three times a week in track and that helps a lot. The 400 really helps with the endurance and mental toughness, because when you reach the 200 in the middle of the 400, you are dying and you just have to push through it.
Gopher Hole: Do you come from an athletic family?
Greg Menard: My dad played college football at Iowa State. He played linebacker.
Gopher Hole: Has that been a goal of yours to play college football, especially with your father playing?
Greg Menard: Yes. I want to live up to him and play college football myself. I want to play at a high level.