Gophers expect to use defensive depth in opener vs. UNLV

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 25, 2013 - 12:21 AM

 

With the forecast calling for temperatures near 90 degrees for Thursday night’s season opener against UNLV, and with the Rebels expected to use a hurry-up offense, the Gophers know their defense will get an immediate test.

“Depth will be important; I don’t think there’s any doubt about it,” coach Jerry Kill said Saturday. “What did Vince Lombardi say? ‘Fatigue makes cowards out of all of us.’ We’ve worked hard at [building depth] on defense.”

UNLV has lost 22 consecutive road games, dating to Oct. 24, 2009. Coach Bobby Hauck is back for a fourth season, but he replaced both coordinators after the Rebels finished 2-11 last year. The new offensive coordinator, Timm Rosenbach, ran a high-octane offense at Montana, and the new defensive coordinator is Tim Hauck, the head coach’s brother.

In last year’s season opener at UNLV, the Rebels pushed Minnesota to triple overtime before the Gophers prevailed 30-27 on Jordan Wettstein’s field goal. This time, the Gophers are listed as 14-point favorites.

“They’ve got pretty much all their personnel back, so they’ll be a better football team than they were a year ago, I don’t think there’s any doubt about it,” Kill said of UNLV. “And we should be a better team than we were a year ago.”

Notable opener

This will be the Gophers’ fifth season at TCF Bank Stadium and their first season opener in their new home. Their past four openers have come at Syracuse, at Middle Tennessee State, at Southern California and at UNLV.

The last time the Gophers opened a season at home was 2008, when Tim Brewster’s squad defeated Northern Illinois 31-27 at the Metrodome. Coincidentally, that was Northern Illinois’ first season under Kill.

“If I had my choice, we’d play eight home games every year,” said Kill, whose team has seven home games again this season. “It’s important for your fans, it’s important for your players to get the extra day to get your feet on the ground.”

Position battles

Kill wasn’t ready Saturday to name his starting punter or kicker, though he did say senior placekicker Chris Hawthorne has had a good camp and mentioned freshman Andrew Harte as one of the team’s surprises. Freshman Ryan Santoso remains a candidate to kick and punt.

At left offensive tackle, senior Ed Olson is back from ankle surgery, but it sounds as if the Gophers will stick with junior Marek Lenkiewicz.

“We have to be careful in Ed’s situation,” Kill said. “He didn’t go through spring ball. He’s coming off major surgery, where Lenkiewicz and those guys have been playing. Right now, [Olson’s] pushing awful hard, and he’s a tremendous young man, but it takes time to get the feel of the game back.”

Kill also declined to name a starting middle linebacker, emphasizing that Damien Wilson and Jack Lynn both will play.

Etc.

• Kill said junior cornerback Derrick Wells still is questionable for the opener. Wells’ bruised shoulder is better, but he’s also dealing with hamstring tightness.

• This Aug. 29 season opener will be the earliest in Gophers history. They’ve opened on Aug. 30 five times, including last season.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 4
Miami - LP: C. Hatcher 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 5
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 6 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 7 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll 1
Texas - WP: S. Baker 13 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: N. Ramirez 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: P. Neshek 2
Colorado 2 Top 9th Inning
Arizona 5
Oakland 0 Bottom 7th Inning
LA Angels 3
Los Angeles 2 Bottom 8th Inning
San Diego 2
Washington 7 Top 8th Inning
Seattle 2
Milwaukee 2 Bottom 5th Inning
San Francisco 10
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 6 3rd Qtr
Arizona 24
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 3 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 71 FINAL
Phoenix 85
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close