The Gophers were in an offensive rut Saturday, going their first six drives without a first down. But once they broke that skid — on a third-down pass from Mitch Leidner to Brandon Lingen — they sped things up with their no-huddle offense.
That drive went from their own 2 to Colorado State’s 17, where Ryan Santoso came on for a field goal.
“It’s just inconsistency,” coach Jerry Kill said Sunday. “We cannot start 1-2-3 out, 1-2-3 out, 1-2-3 out. It can’t happen. We had no rhythm when we started the game, and those things can’t happen.”
The no-huddle offense has been an experiment for the Gophers this year. On Saturday, they realized they were much more productive when they didn’t huddle than when they did.
“Maybe we need to go no-huddle right off the bat to get them in a rhythm,” Kill said. “I don’t want to be a no-huddle team all the way because when you play Ohio State, you don’t want to be no-huddle all the way.
“So it’s kind of a cat-and-mouse. But we’ve got to get it figured out because we’re not starting games very good. And then when we get going, we look really, really good.”
Kill also noted how much the Gophers used to struggle with their two-minute offense. But with 3:11 remaining Saturday, Leidner led them on an 80-yard touchdown that spanned 2 minutes, 16 seconds.
“All that no-huddle stuff we’ve done has made us a better team when we get behind,” Kill said.
JUCO lineman commits
The Gophers added a potential impact player for next season when they landed a commitment from junior college offensive lineman Vincent Calhoun.
The 6-4, 335-pound Calhoun is a sophomore at Southwest Mississippi Community College. He plans to enroll at Minnesota in January and will be a candidate to start at guard next season, when the Gophers will need to replace seniors Jon Christenson and Joe Bjorklund.
Calhoun, a consensus three-star recruit, also had reported offers from Colorado State, East Carolina and Southern Miss, among others.