The Gophers released a standard depth chart this week, with two cornerbacks and two safeties, but they'll be spending a lot of time in the nickel defense (five DBs), too.
With starters in bold, the depth chart went:
CORNER: Ray Buford/Antonio Shenault
SAFETY: Damarius Travis/Jacob Huff or Antonio Winfield
SAFETY: Adekunle Ayinde/Duke McGhee
CORNER: Jalen Myrick/Kiondre Thomas or Coney Durr
KiAnte Hardin, a projected starting cornerback, had been out of practice for a couple days because of something he needed to do in the training room, defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel said. Nothing too serious, so it sounds like Hardin could play against Oregon State next Thursday.
As for the nickel?
"We'll have to see," Sawvel said. "Antonio Shenault’s worked it, Antoine Winfield’s worked it, Coney Durr’s worked it. We know we can use Damarius [Travis] there; that’s not where we really want to use him. Kunle has worked it, so we’ll just have to see with that a little bit."
Sawvel noted that the Gophers have Myrick and then six cornerbacks who are freshmen or sophomores. He is very high on those young players, even true freshmen Thomas, Durr and Winfield. But it's going to take some patience.
"It’s going to take us the two games [Oregon State and Indiana State] and then the open date to sort of get some things sorted out probably," Sawvel said. "That’s not the ideal. Man, you just wish you had it down right now, but that’s not unusual. You sort of have to learn that about guys you don’t know as much about. So that’s where there will be a little trial and error here."