Gophers offense struggling against U's tough defense

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 9, 2014 - 9:01 AM

 

Matt Limegrover wants the Gophers offense to build momentum for the Aug. 28 opener against Eastern Illinois, but there’s been one constant challenge during training camp: the Gophers defense.

The Gophers will scrimmage at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, and Limegrover, the offensive coordinator, hopes to see more progress than he did earlier this week.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Limegrover said. “The great thing about it is, we’re struggling a little bit right now, but I think that has a lot to do with the guys we’re going against. When [defensive ends] like Michael Amaefula and T.C. [Theiren Cockran] are coming off the edge — they’ve been a handful.”

The Gophers went 13 consecutive quarters without an offensive touchdown before Mitch Leidner threw two fourth-quarter TD passes in the Texas Bowl loss to Syracuse.

Spring practice was generally better, but Gophers fans who watched the spring game on April 12 couldn’t be sure, as the offense managed just one touchdown in 13 drives.

The coaches shrugged it off, knowing they had watered down the game plan, trying not to reveal too much on television for future opponents. The Gophers accomplished the bigger goal of keeping players healthy.

David Cobb returns, coming off a 1,202-yard rushing season, and redshirt freshman Berkley Edwards has given the offense a different dimension with his speed. Leidner and the first unit had several good moments during the first six August practices, which were open to the media.

But when the Gophers went “live” with full contact Wednesday, the results were familiar. The six drives led by Leidner and No. 2 quarterback Chris Streveler produced one touchdown, on a 28-yard pass from Streveler to Logan Hutton.

The defense allowed 22.2 points per game last year, ranking 25th in the nation. Five defensive starters graduated, including three players currently in NFL camps — Ra’Shede Hageman (Falcons), Brock Vereen (Bears) and Aaron Hill (Rams). But defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys has said he will be disappointed if this year’s defense isn’t better.

Sophomore wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky said facing the Gophers defensive backs has helped his development.

“I think that we have one of the best secondaries in the league,” Wolitarsky said. “Our corners are outstanding. When I went out there [last year], I felt like our [defensive backs] were better than any team I faced.”

The Gophers have a veteran offensive line, but Limegrover lamented the pass blocking this week. “Not where we need to be, and we’ve got a ton of work to do,” he said. “It’ll be where we need to be when we start the season. Those guys up front know we’ve got to be better up front for us to be better throwing the football, and it’s been a priority.”

Jones one step closer

Prized recruit Jeff Jones posted a Facebook picture Friday, showing his letter of admission from the university.

That’s good news for the Gophers, but they are still awaiting word regarding Jones’ NCAA eligibility.

Jones was rated the nation’s No. 7 running back by Rivals.com but came just short of qualifying with his grades coming out of Minneapolis Washburn.

Jones has taken summer school, and soon the Gophers expect the NCAA to clear Jones or at least grant him an initial eligibility waiver. The waiver would allow him to use his scholarship, but he couldn’t play until 2015.

Now that Jones has been admitted to the U, he also has the option of going there even if the NCAA deems him ineligible.

In that scenario, he could use a school loan and work to become eligible for 2015. Jones also has the option of attending Iowa Western Community College.

At this point, even if the NCAA clears Jones to play this fall, he likely would redshirt with the Gophers. As coach Jerry Kill has said, the priority is making sure Jones is ready to play next year, after two of the team’s current running backs, Cobb and Donnell Kirkwood, have graduated.

  • Gophers football scrimmage

    When: Saturday, 4:40 p.m.

    Where: TCF Bank Stadium

    Admission: Free

    Note: This will be the team’s last session in public before the Aug. 28 season opener against Eastern Illinois.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Denver 7 2nd Qtr 0:21
Cincinnati 20
Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Carolina 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Detroit 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Denver 82 FINAL
Charlotte 110
Portland 74 3rd Qtr 1:14
Houston 93
Utah 75 4th Qtr 8:04
Memphis 73
Toronto 83 4th Qtr 12:00
Chicago 80
Atlanta 56 3rd Qtr 10:26
Dallas 40
LA Clippers 60 3rd Qtr 11:10
San Antonio 72
Sacramento 9:30 PM
Golden State
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Washington 2
Nashville 5 FINAL
Columbus 1
Pittsburgh 1 3rd Prd 7:45
Florida 3
Arizona 9:00 PM
Vancouver
San Jose 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Calgary 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ark-Little Rock 64 FINAL
Bradley 54
Brown 67 FINAL
Central Conn St 55
Stetson 59 FINAL
Florida State 63
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
Northwestern 63
Ohio 49 FINAL
George Washington 77
Southern Utah 61 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 70
Elon 67 FINAL
Kennesaw St 65
Dartmouth 49 FINAL
Penn State 69
Green Bay 70 FINAL
UC Irvine 72
DePaul 68 FINAL
Colorado 82
Lewis & Clark 49 FINAL
Portland 71
SC State 59 FINAL
Abilene Christian 65
Manhattan 71 FINAL
Fordham 57
Truett-McConnell 57 FINAL
Ga Southern 90
Citadel 56 FINAL
Michigan State 82
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Ohio State 93
Gardner-Webb 89 FINAL
Purdue 84
Idaho 68 FINAL
Northern Ky 81
Fairfield 66 FINAL
Albany 77
North Dakota St 61 FINAL
Alcorn State 50
UT Martin 37 FINAL
Butler 64
SE Louisiana 65 FINAL
UCF 70
Oakland 60 FINAL
Clemson 70
Florida A&M 57 FINAL
East Carolina 75
Eastern Ky 66 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 69
IUPU-Ft Wayne 43 FINAL
Illinois State 68
Norfolk State 74 FINAL
James Madison 71
Binghamton 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 69
Towson 56 FINAL
Navy 61
Long Island 73 FINAL
New Hampshire 72
Northern Ill 66 FINAL
Notre Dame 91
William & Mary 62 FINAL
Old Dominion 69
Liberty 47 FINAL
Princeton 65
Delaware 81 FINAL
Robert Morris 84
MD-Eastern Shore 82 FINAL
St Bonaventure 80
Colgate 43 FINAL
Syracuse 78
Kansas 52 FINAL
Temple 77
Mercer 54 FINAL
Tennessee 64
East Tenn St 60 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 84
Va Military 74 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Bucknell 53 FINAL
Wake Forest 60
Alabama A&M 62 FINAL
Western Mich 71
New Orleans 59 FINAL
Indiana 79
Columbia 65 FINAL
Connecticut 80
Long Beach State 49 FINAL
St Johns 66
Wofford 44 FINAL
West Virginia 77
Southern U 55 2nd Half 3:30
Baylor 64
UAB 57 2nd Half 3:36
Chattanooga 72
Char Southern 50 2nd Half 1:29
Colorado State 75
North Florida 70 2nd Half 0:40
Iowa 80
NC Central 44 2nd Half 8:44
Jackson State 47
Rice 64 2nd Half 0:59
Lamar 64
Central Mich 89 FINAL
McNeese State 56
Coppin State 46 2nd Half 2:49
Michigan 65
Furman 76 2nd Half 0:16
Minnesota 82
SE Missouri St 46 2nd Half 4:12
Ole Miss 71
Weber State 51 FINAL
Oklahoma 85
Grambling St 39 FINAL
TCU 80
Loyola-Chicago 62 2nd Half 1:30
Texas Tech 43
Incarnate Word 47 FINAL
Tulsa 76
Penn 50 2nd Half 1:41
Vanderbilt 79
Chicago State 33 2nd Half 4:20
SIU Edwardsville 57
Simpson 62 FINAL
Drake 84
Tenn Tech 68 2nd Half 6:51
UMKC 49
Murray State 69 2nd Half 5:39
Southern Ill 61
Oral Roberts 45 2nd Half 0:24
Missouri State 50
Jacksonville St 28 2nd Half 18:43
Air Force 30
Milwaukee 22 1st Half 0:58
Arkansas 31
Wisconsin 32 2nd Half
California 20
Coll of Charleston 15 2nd Half
LSU 35
North Dakota 29 2nd Half
Marquette 24
Northern New Mexico 20 1st Half 0:10
New Mexico St 39
UC Santa Barbara 30 2nd Half
Oregon 36
Miami-Florida 22 1st Half 3:59
Providence 29
Northeastern 40 2nd Half
St Marys-CA 38
Kent State 28 1st Half 5:36
Texas-El Paso 34
UC Davis 30 2nd Half
Northern Colorado 29
Lewis-Clark State 30 2nd Half
Eastern Wash 43
Walla Walla 29 2nd Half
Portland State 46
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Marshall 9:00 PM
Nevada
Boise State 9:30 PM
Houston
UC Riverside 10:00 PM
San Diego St
Tulane 10:00 PM
Washington
Loyola Marymount 10:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska 12/23/14 12:00 AM
Hawaii
BYU 48 FINAL
Memphis 55
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Holy Cross 78
Temple 59 FINAL
Villanova 64
Georgia Southern 68 FINAL
Southern U 52
Xavier 60 FINAL
Kennesaw St 61
Eastern Michigan 52 FINAL
Michigan 81
Brescia 56 FINAL
Marshall 127
(21) West Virginia 54 FINAL
Ohio State 96
UMBC 87 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 78
Cornell 79 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 61
St Bonaventure 70 FINAL
Georgetown 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Northeastern 62
Eastern Washington 67 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 63 FINAL
Texas Southern 69
Butler 72 FINAL
Illinois State 60
UC Davis 59 FINAL
(16) Stanford 71
Washington St 87 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 60
Sacramento St 94 FINAL
San Jose St 97
SIU-Edwardsville 74 FINAL
UMKC 58
Oakland 92 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 84
Belmont 43 FINAL
(14) Georgia 62
George Mason 83 FINAL
Longwood 61
Kansas 81 FINAL
Creighton 84
Hampton 67 FINAL
DePaul 86
Abilene Christian 53 2nd Half 0:22
Kansas State 68
UT Martin 63 2nd Half 0:37
Missouri 70
Florida State 63 2nd Half 3:47
Tulane 46
Murray State 37 2nd Half 1:45
Illinois 63
Fla Gulf Coast 74 FINAL
Arkansas State 68
BYU 23 2nd Half
Utah State 18
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football 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.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close