Gophers wide receiver Rashad Still hasn’t been lost for the season because of his shoulder injury, coach Tracy Claeys insisted Tuesday.
“It’s amazing, things get tweeted out — everybody puts stuff out there,” Claeys said. “It’s not two or three months [until Still returns], OK? He’s probably going to be out four weeks, would be my guess, depending on how he heals. … And no, we’re not considering redshirting him. That’s not an option.”
Still, a 6-5, 205-pound sophomore, made 18 receptions last year, including touchdown grabs against Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois.
After starting last week’s opener against Oregon State, he made one reception for 6 yards. The injury occurred on a deep pass from Mitch Leidner. Still had a defender draped around him and crashed onto his shoulder.
Senior Drew Wolitarsky led the Gophers with four receptions for 53 yards, and freshman Tyler Johnson had three catches for 31 yards.
Without Still, the Gophers list Wolitarsky, Brian Smith and Eric Carter as starting receivers for Saturday’s game against Indiana State. Carter is back from his ankle injury. Melvin Holland Jr. and Isaiah Gentry, who have also been injured, are listed as second-string options, along with Johnson and Hunter Register.
Waiting for clearance
Claeys sounded hopeful that tight end Brandon Lingen (shoulder) would be cleared for contact during Tuesday’s doctor appointment.
Claeys said it was also a possibility that running back Shannon Brooks would be cleared to play against Indiana State. Later, on his weekly KFAN (100.3-FM) radio show, Claeys added it was more likely Lingen would return this week than Brooks, who just passed the four-week mark in his recovery from a broken foot.
Brooks was in an orange nonparticipation jersey at practice. The Gophers have an open date next week, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they waited to use Brooks until the Sept. 24 Colorado State game.
The Gophers played four true freshmen against Oregon State — Johnson, Tai’yon Devers, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Kamal Martin. Linebacker Carter Coughlin, who has recovered from a knee injury sustained during camp, could be next.
“If he practices well enough and shows he’s ready to go, then we’ll do that,” Claeys said. “This is an important week for us in evaluating people and how injuries go, and trying to get an early idea on who will redshirt.”
The Gophers had nine tackles for a loss, including four sacks against Oregon State. Defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel said they managed 14 hits on the quarterback, up from an average of about 4.5 per game last season.
“That was a big plus,” Sawvel said. “We don’t ever have a preset number [of QB hits because opportunities vary]. Did he hold the ball? If they just throw it right away, you don’t have chances to hit the quarterback. But we felt the times they held the ball, we had good pressure. It wasn’t a clean pocket around there.”
• Gophers safety Ace Rogers, who had ACL surgery last year, recently had a clean-up procedure done on the same knee and is recuperating.
• Claeys described linebacker Nick Rallis (elbow) as “week-to-week.”