The Gophers injury-riddled offensive line took another hit last week, when left guard Jared Weyler suffered a torn triceps muscle.
Weyler was not listed on Tuesday’s injury report, but coach Tracy Claeys revealed the news on KFAN (100.3-FM). Weyler, a third-year sophomore had been a steady presence on the starting line for eight weeks, while the Gophers patched things together at other positions.
Garrison Wright and Vincent Calhoun are both battling injuries at right guard. Right tackle Jonah Pirsig missed three games because of a sprained left ankle and played despite re-injuring himself last week at Nebraska.
Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson said beyond trying to find the right substitutes, the linemen are missing the chance to gel for communication and other purposes.
“That, over time, I think really improves your offensive line,” Johnson said. “We haven’t really been able to settle into that. If you don’t know how that guy reacts next to you, and that’s constantly moving and switching, I think that creates challenges.”
Johnson said he’s not sure how offensive line coach Bart Miller will replace Weyler but mentioned redshirt freshman Bronson Dovich as one possibility.
The Gophers had at least three takeaways for five consecutive weeks before having none in Saturday’s 24-17 loss at Nebraska. Claeys pointed to a near-interception, presumably the chance Jalen Myrick had for a pick six on the Cornhusker’s first touchdown drive.
“We have a chance to get out, and we drop an interception,” Claeys said. “They’re a good football team. Last I checked, I think they’re ranked 17 [in the Coaches Poll]. You go on the road [before] 90,000 people — I think they won 19 night games in a row at the University of Nebraska, and we’re right there with them and have a chance and a few plays short.
“Pressure on the quarterback would have helped us, but they didn’t drop back very much for the most part. They kept all of the things short and fast, but we do have to create more turnovers.”
Defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel added: “The thing about it is, [Myrick] made a really good play. But we all have a couple things to take back from the other night.
“I wish I would have called timeout on the one touchdown in the first half,” he added, referring to running back Tre Bryant’s 35-yard reception. “It looked like we were all where we needed to be. Turned out that we weren’t, obviously.”
• Claeys said he’s not sure if tight end Brandon Lingen will be back from his foot injury in time for the bowl game.
• Nick Rallis on fellow linebacker Blake Cashman: “He’s a beast. I don’t know what to say about Cash, besides he doesn’t realize how good he can be. We knew that Cash had this ability in him. He just needed to progress a little bit schematically and stuff early in the year.”