Mitch Leidner isn’t the only Gophers senior listed as “out” for Saturday’s game at Maryland.
Offensive tackle Jonah Pirsig suffered a high ankle sprain against Iowa, and is expected to miss two to three weeks, coach Tracy Claeys said Tuesday.
Claeys told KFAN (100.3-FM) that two to three weeks is a best-case scenario, too, since high ankle sprains can easily be aggravated, especially for big linemen. The 6-9, 325-pound Pirsig is an NFL prospect and a key offensive component for the Gophers at right tackle.
To replace him, the Gophers have moved Garrison Wright from left tackle to right tackle, with fellow junior college transfer Donnell Greene inserted at left tackle.
“Jonah’s played awfully well this year,” Claeys said. “But we’re still where we can put a good group out on the field. Obviously, we’re down one, but I feel OK about it.”
Other injury news
Tight end Brandon Lingen (broken clavicle) was cleared to practice. When wide receiver Rashad Still came back from a broken clavicle, he spent one week practicing with no game action before returning for the Iowa game. So Claeys said it will depend how Lingen responds, whether he’ll be ready to go against Maryland.
Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. returned to practice Tuesday after leaving Saturday’s game in the third quarter because of an unspecified injury.
Linebacker Cody Poock remains out because of a shoulder injury. Claeys told KFAN that Poock just needs to regain strength in the shoulder so he doesn’t suffer the same injury again.
Dissecting the offense
When assessing the 14-7 loss to Iowa, the first thing Gophers offensive coordinator Jay Johnson mentioned was the three turnovers, which doubled the team’s season total.
“It was the lack of ball security,” Johnson said. “We didn’t execute as well as we needed to in certain parts, and that’s on me. I’ve got to get them ready to go.”
Even though Iowa had struggled against the run in previous games, the Gophers gave Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith a combined 21 carries, compared with 33 passing attempts for Leidner.
“I think it was partly the flow of the game,” Johnson said. “You try to stay on schedule, and we weren’t on schedule on much from a play-calling situation. If it was a mishap on a first down or whatever, now it’s second-and-long, and then you’re third-and-long. That kind of changes it up, the makeup of where you need to go.
“Partly that was on me, but we’ve got to do better I think in the early downs to keep us on track and be able to do those things. I think it was just a combination of all that.”