Carter Coughlin has started every Gophers game the past two seasons, but injuries have disrupted the rush end’s senior season so far.
While he still hasn’t missed a game since his freshman year, he was in a limited role at Fresno State in Week 2 because of an injury coach P.J. Fleck described as “tightness” from early in training camp.
Coughlin led the team last year with 9½ sacks and four forced fumbles. His sophomore season, he made a team-high 11½ tackles for a loss. This season, he has 16 tackles with just one for a loss of nine yards from a sack. He’s also forced a fumble and broken up two passes.
After the Purdue game this past Saturday, though, Coughlin said for the first time this season he finished the game without feeling like he had endured a setback in terms of his recovery. Fleck attributes that to Gophers head athletic trainer Mike Sypniak.
Fleck said Coughlin has trusted Sypniak’s process.
“As he keeps going, it’s getting better, not getting worse,” Fleck said. “I think that’s the sign of a really good trainer is when you’re playing, and you can play through certain things, and it gets better.”
Ibrahim expected back
Fleck said running back Mohamed Ibrahim was a “game-time decision” at Purdue, after the sophomore endured a noncontact leg injury in practice that kept him out of the Week 3 Georgia Southern game.
While Ibrahim had the bye week to recover, and even checked into the Purdue game briefly, he didn’t have any carries.
“We thought Mo was going to play,” Fleck said. “And it turned out, he wasn’t quite there.”
Ibrahim should be ready to take on more against Illinois on Saturday. Ibrahim led the team in rushing last year when Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks missed most of the season with injuries. Both have returned, though Brooks was on a “pitch count” at Purdue for his season debut. Ibrahim has been the No. 2 running back to Smith, but Fleck said Tuesday that Brooks could have more snaps this weekend.
“We’ve expected him to be back, probably, the last week and a half and had some setbacks here and there, which happens based on the injury he has at times,” Fleck said of Ibrahim. “But I’d expect him back. I want him back. He wants to be back. We’re working on it.”
Fans can now park their RVs overnight ahead of the 2:30 p.m., homecoming game against Illinois. It’s part of a pilot program and one of several new initiatives the Gophers have tried recently to improve the fan experience and encourage more people to buy tickets to games.
RVs can arrive in the sold-out Victory Lot between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday. RVs must leave the lot by noon Sunday.