Gophers coach Tracy Claeys said Monday that the team plans to incorporate helmet stickers this fall with tiny gold bricks that will be awarded for plays that help the team win. Claeys stressed the new stickers will be small, so as not to take over the helmets.
Claeys said a couple months ago that the team was thinking about adding the stickers. The staff is currently looking at designs for the gold bricks. He said the bricks might even be smaller than the bones the Georgia Bulldogs put on the back of their helmets.
Claeys said one goal is to reward plays that might not show up in the highlights. An example would be a wide receiver holding a key down-field block that helps Shannon Brooks or Rodney Smith score a rushing touchdown.
Santoso moving to punter
Claeys said his plan is to have Ryan Santoso be the team's punter and longer field goal kicker (50-plus), and Emmit Carpenter will go into camp as the favorite to take over the team's main field goal kicking duties. Claeys said Santoso wants to punt and said it's critical to have someone who can punt the ball 40-plus yards. The Gophers need to replace one of the Big Ten's top punters, in Peter Mortell.
Gophers tight end Brandon Lingen had shoulder surgery after spring practice ended but is expected to be full-go once training camp opens in August, Claeys said.
Claeys also said offensive linemen Garrison Wright and Jared Weyler had minor knee surgeries once spring ball ended. Nothing serious. They'll be back to full strength soon.
Quarterback Mitch Leidner is fully recovered from left foot surgery, and he'll be leading the team through offseason workouts. The upper classmen begin captains' practices June 6-7, and the incoming freshmen join them shortly after that.