Spring football replay: What the Gophers learned (and questions that remain)

  • Article by: HOWARD SINKER
  • Updated: April 13, 2014 - 8:31 AM
hide

Quarterback Mitch Leidner, right, handed off to running back Rodrick Williams. ] Minnesota Gophers Spring football scrimmage. (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE(mlevison@startribune.com)

Photo: Marlin Levison, DML - Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Three things the Gophers learned

Their running game remains a major strength. David Cobb saved this team last year, rushing for 1,202 yards after Donnell Kirkwood, Rodrick Williams and Berkley Edwards suffered injuries. Now, all four of those players are back healthy, running behind an even more experienced offensive line.

Their secondary will lead the defense. Brock Vereen is headed for the NFL, but this unit looked superb all spring. Eric Murray has become a shut-down cornerback, Briean Boddy-Calhoun is back in form after tearing an ACL last fall. Derrick Wells is due back from his shoulder injury in August, and the safeties — Cedric Thompson, Antonio Johnson, Damarius Travis, etc. — keep getting better.

The linebackers holes can be filled. They lost two starters — James Manuel and Aaron Hill — to graduation, and probable starter Cody Poock tore an ACL this spring. But Jack Lynn moved to outside linebacker, joining Damien Wilson and De’Vondre Campbell on the first unit, and the defense didn’t miss a beat. If Rayfield Dixon continues developing, that will help the depth.

Three questions that remain

How quickly can Mitch Leidner learn on the job? Philip Nelson has transferred to Rutgers, and Leidner is the only quarterback on the roster who’s taken a college snap. Leidner is a redshirt sophomore who has started just four career games. It might take him a while to gain game-to-game consistency.

Will the wide receivers get better? Sophomore Drew Wolitarsky seems poised to replace departing senior Derrick Engel as the team’s go-to wide receiver. Fellow sophomore Donovahn Jones is still learning the position after converting from quarterback. KJ Maye was healthy this spring, and that helped, but this position remains the team’s biggest concern.

Can the team get healthy? Coach Jerry Kill has said the only player who won’t be ready for the start of summer practice (Aug. 1) is Poock, who still hopes to play October. But tight end Maxx Williams (knee injury), defensive tackle Yoshoub Timms (hamstring) and defensive end Hank Ekpe (virus) were among those who missed most of spring camp.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Boston 0 Top 5th Inning
Pittsburgh 2
Toronto 2 Bottom 5th Inning
Baltimore 4
Washington 0 Top 6th Inning
Atlanta 0
Miami 1 Bottom 5th Inning
NY Mets 4
NY Yankees 1 Top 5th Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Cincinnati 0 Top 3rd Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
Chicago WSox 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
Kansas City 0
Cleveland 1 Top 2nd Inning
Houston 1
Detroit 0 Top 3rd Inning
Minnesota 0
Milwaukee 0 Top 2nd Inning
St. Louis 2
Los Angeles - D. Haren 7:40 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
San Francisco - J. Peavy 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Seattle - R. Elias 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Texas - N. Tepesch 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 9:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
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: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close