Good morning from a windy, warm and humid West Lafayette, Ind. Gophers vs. Boilermakers at 2:30 p.m. Central today. There’s a big Joe Tiller presence at Ross-Ade Stadium, as Purdue honors its all-time winningest coach, who died last Saturday at 74.
Upon arrival Friday, I explored the Lafayette/West Lafayette area a bit, and upon telling people I was here for the Gophers-Purdue game. I was struck by how many people, unsolicited, were impressed by Gophers coach P.J. Fleck’s decision to put a sticker honoring Tiller on the Gophers’ helmets. It was a classy move.
I’ve collected questions on Twitter over the past couple of days, and here are the highlights:
Q: PJ talks about youth and inexperience of this team. With key seniors graduating and a large recruiting class, will next year be the same? -- @sgarvey03
A: The Gophers next year definitely will be younger, so the experience gained by the freshmen and sophomores playing this year will be key for 2018. I would not expect Fleck to lean heavily on junior college transfers to add experience, because he wants to build the program through high school recruits.
Q: Will there be 2 QB’s playing today? -- @JackGinther
A: I would not expect to see two quarterbacks, although I’d never say never. I expect that Conor Rhoda will take all the snaps. Demry Croft is back from suspension but listed as third string behind Seth Green. The interesting thing today will be how big a role the wind plays in both teams’ offenses. My nonscientific guess would say that we’re seeing winds in excess of 20 mph right now, maybe even higher. Passing will be difficult in these conditions, and the kicking and punting game could be interesting, too.
Q: Do you see more redshirts taken off today? -- @stvmh1971
A: I would not be surprised if we see true freshman Rey Estes play in the secondary today. He’s the most likely of the freshmen to play because of how thin the secondary is.
Q: Haven’t heard much from Warinner and Paup. What impact have they made in the trenches? Maryland was tough... -- @kimballhal
A: Players during training camp were very complimentary of both Ed Warinner and Bryce Paup. Carter Coughlin in particular raved about techniques that Paup, the former NFL standout, taught him. I believe both Warinner and Paup have helped on the lines, though the Maryland game didn’t go as well as the three in the conference season. Both lines aren’t senior-laded, so there’s room and opportunity to improve.
Q: How close is Coney Durr to playing coming back from injury, he had a promising bowl game? -- @umncrazycarl
A: Coney is playing, but he hasn’t seen extensive action yet. Fleck said Durr has to regain trust in that injured knee.