The Gophers have two freshmen entrenched at tailback, in Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks, but coach Jerry Kill said he’s not concerned that this might create discontent among the team’s older running backs.
Senior Rodrick Williams started the season opener but didn’t have any carries last week against Ohio. Sophomore Berkley Edwards, who dealt with an ankle injury during training camp, has yet to play this season.
“Rodrick is a good teammate,” Kill said Tuesday. “He wants to play. The way the injuries have been going, you’ve got to be ready. He’s been called on in special teams, and he plays his butt off. He’s got a good attitude.”
On Saturday at Northwestern, the Gophers likely will start Smith (4.4 yards per carry), with Brooks (8.2) off the bench, followed by Williams (3.3).
“I think communication’s good,” Kill said. “Berkley, you know, I think people want to win. Can you keep everybody satisfied? No. But we don’t have any problems in the [running back] room or anything like that.”
Gentry to play more
Kill said freshman wide receiver Isaiah Gentry could have an increased role at Northwestern. Gentry had two catches for 36 yards against Ohio.
“Isaiah’s had a great week of practice, so I’d look for him to play more and do things,” Kill said. “He’s a very talented kid, as you saw when he catches the ball. He’s explosive.”
The Gophers have sold 8,485 student season ticket packages, up from 6,100 last year, 4,975 the year before that and 3,885 in 2012.
“It’s impressive the way they’re responding to this program,” Gophers senior associate athletic director Chris Werle said. “They’re realizing how much of an impact [the student section] can have on a game.”
The Gophers have sold out each of their first three games — against TCU, Kent State and Ohio — but still have tickets available for their remaining home games against Nebraska, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Back in the box
Quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski moved to the sideline last season to work more closely with Mitch Leidner. Last week, Zebrowski returned to the coaches’ box, next to offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover.
“I think a lot of that has to do with a tremendous amount of confidence that we all have with how far Adam Weber has come as a graduate assistant,” Limegrover said. “Because he has a great way with the quarterbacks. There’s kind of that shared experience with Mitch to be able to talk with him.”
Limegrover said it helps with play-calling to have Zebrowski right next to him, instead of talking to him over a headset from the sideline.
“If there’s something he really likes in the pass game, he’ll point at it and go, ‘We need to hit this as quickly as we can,’ ” Limegrover said. “And then I work that in.”