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Young Gophers' D will experience early 'trial and error'

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."

Gophers expect about 44,000 fans for Oregon State game

TCF Bank Stadium was brimming with 54,147 fans for the Gophers' season opener against No. 2 TCU last year. Athletics department officials expect closer to 44,000 for this year's Sept. 1 opener against Oregon State.

That would be similar to what the Gophers drew when they opened with Thursday night games against UNLV (in 2013) and Eastern Illinois (2014).

As Patrick Reusse wrote recently, Sept. 1 presents a bounty of local entertainment options -- Vikings vs. Rams (U.S. Bank Stadium), Twins vs. White Sox (Target Field), Saints vs. Winnipeg (CHS Field). There's also the State Fair, and the high school football opener.

But it's Welcome Week at the university, and the Gophers give free tickets to first-year students, which always helps attendance for the home opener.

On Wednesday, the university announced some security updates and reminded fans to allow extra time when entering TCF Bank Stadium. From the press release:

The most significant change fans will notice ... will be the use of hand-held metal detector to screen everyone entering the facility. This is a best practice at all large sporting venues in the Twin Cities that have established policies to either screen entrants with hand-held equipment or ask individuals to walk through magnetometers on their way into facilities.

This practice was used for all Minnesota Vikings games played at TCF Bank Stadium the past two seasons, as well as the NHL Stadium Series game last winter and major concerts held at the venue. 

In addition to this new policy, the University also reminds fans of its bag policy, which went into effect during the 2015 season. The bag policy is the same as that used in all 32 NFL stadiums around the country and hasn’t changed since last season. Fans will be allowed to enter with clear tote bags (up to 12 inches by six inches by 12 inches) or one-gallon, re-sealable plastic bags. Small, clutch-style purses, up to 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches, will still be allowed as well. 

A PDF that helps visualize which bags are and are not allowed in the stadium in accordance with this policy is available on GopherSports.com. Fans who wish to purchase an approved-size, clear bag can find them at Goldy’s Locker Room outside of Gate E near the Minnesota Tribal Nations Plaza.

Like last year, fans can take advantage of a complimentary bag check available inside the University Avenue entrance of Williams Arena. Bag check opens 2.5 hours prior to kickoff and remains open until one hour after the game ends.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Twins at Cleveland

    6:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Twins at Cleveland

    6:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Winnipeg at Saints

    7:05 pm on 1220-AM

  • Twins at Cleveland

    6:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Minnesota United FC at Fort Lauderdale

    6:30 pm on CBSSN

  • Winnipeg at Saints

    7:05 pm on 1220-AM

  • Canterbury Park live racing

    6:30 pm

  • L.A. Rams at Vikings (preseason)

    7 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

  • Winnipeg at Saints

    7:05 pm

  • Chicago White Sox at Twins

    7:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Oregon State at Gophers football

    8 pm on BTN, 107.9-FM

  • Canterbury Park live racing

    6:30 pm

  • Washington at Lynx

    7 pm on 106.1-FM

  • Lincoln at Saints

    7:05 pm on 1220-AM

  • Chicago White Sox at Twins

    7:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Canterbury Park live racing

    12:45 pm

  • Chicago White Sox at Twins

    6:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Rayo OKC at Minnesota United FC

    7 pm on Ch.29

  • Lincoln at Saints

    7:05 pm on 106.1-FM

  • Canterbury Park live racing

    12:45 pm

  • Chicago White Sox at Twins

    1:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Lincoln at Saints

    5:05 pm on 1220-AM

  • Connecticut at Lynx

    6 pm on FSN, 106.1-FM

Today's Scoreboard

  • Baltimore

    NY Yankees

     

    - F

    5

    0

  • Minnesota

    Toronto

     

    - F

    6

    9

  • LA Angels

    Detroit

     

    - F

    5

    0

  • San Diego

    Miami

     

    - F

    3

    1

  • Philadelphia

    NY Mets

     

    - F

    5

    1

  • Colorado

    Washington

     

    - F

    5

    3

  • Seattle

    Chicago White Sox

     

    - F

    1

    4

  • Tampa Bay

    Houston

     

    - F

    10

    4

  • Pittsburgh

    Milwaukee

     

    - F

    3

    1

  • Oakland

    St. Louis

     

    - F

    7

    4

  • Cleveland

    Texas

     

    - F

    1

    2

  • Atlanta

    San Francisco

     

    - F

    4

    13

  • Cincinnati

    Arizona

     

    - F

    2

    11

  • Chicago Cubs

    LA Dodgers

     

    - F

    0

    1

  • Kansas City

    Boston

     

    - F

    10

    4

  • San Diego

    Minnesota

     

    - F

    10

    23

  • Arizona

    Houston

     

    - F

    24

    34

  • Cincinnati

    Jacksonville

     

    - F

    21

    26

No NBA games today

No NHL games today

  • New England

    New York

     

    - F

    0

    1

  • Seattle

    Portland

     

    - F

    2

    4

  • New York City FC

    Orlando City SC

     

    - F

    1

    2