STATE COLLEGE, PA. – Gophers coach Tracy Claeys said his biggest concern heading into the team's first road game Saturday is getting the offensive line to avoid pre-snap penalties while still generating the push they need.
"I worry about the sound with the offense," Claeys said. "Sometimes the center gets the snap off, but guards and tackles are like popcorn, when they get out of their stances, and you can't get anything done."
The Gophers rank second-to-last in the Big Ten with nine penalties per game for 73.3 yards. While more than half of the infractions and most of the yardage have come on defense, 5-yard false-start penalties have plagued the offensive line.
Now they'll be trying to choreograph everything at Penn State's 106,572-seat Beaver Stadium.
Junior college transfers Vincent Calhoun (right guard) and Garrison Wright (left tackle) were key additions to this year's line, but this will be their first Big Ten road game. And sophomore center Tyler Moore has had trouble staying on the same page.
The Gophers practiced all week with their sound system blaring, trying to prep for the noise. Quarterback Mitch Leidner has had success in past road games using a clapping cadence.
"It's been working pretty well at those places," right tackle Jonah Pirsig said. "We don't have any trouble at all with that cadence, so I don't think we'll have any trouble with it.