The Gophers on Tuesday afternoon released their depth chart for Tuesday’s season opener against New Mexico State, and as expected, youth will be served.
Three true freshmen – quarterback Zack Annexstad, wide receiver Rashod Bateman and defensive back Terell Smith – are listed as starters. They’ll be joined in the starting lineup by redshirt freshmen Blaise Andries at right guard and Demetrius Douglas at wide receiver.
Minnesota’s depth will rely heavily on youngsters. Along with those five freshmen who’ll start on offense or defense, 23 other freshmen (10 redshirt and 13 true) are listed as second string, with 11 positions having multiple players with an “or’’ designation. In the 22 spots on offense and defense, the Gophers will start seven seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and five freshmen.
One position where youth jumps out is backup defensive back behind Antoine Winfield Jr. Three true freshmen – Jordan Howden, Benny Sapp III and Josh Aune – are listed in an “or’’ situation.
Star Tribune College Football Preview Week:
• Sunday’s story was a look at how the Gophers’ long and often-disappointing history of quarterback play is running right up against a coach who has proved he can work some quarterback magic: Kirk Ciarrocca, the U’s offensive coordinator. Read the story here. Columnist Chip Scoggins also wrote about quarterbacks, and how the young Gophers will be guessing for quite some time as Zack Annexstad learns on the job.
• Monday’s edition was our small college preview.
• Additionally, declining ticket sales is a big story across the country and for the University of Minnesota. Our Rachel Blount wrote about this issue for the Monday morning front page. One of the many interesting threads of that story: amid the big declines, “nonrevenue” sports, including all Gophers women’s teams, have seen an increase in ticket revenue.