Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said Sunday morning on WCCO Radio that wide receiver Demetrius Douglas will miss the rest of the season because of an undisclosed injury and that the program will seek a medical redshirt for the true freshman.
“This is one of those things where you play a lot of young kids that might not be ready to play but you have to play them. And maybe their bodies aren’t ready yet,’’ Fleck said. “We’ll probably medical [redshirt] him and possibly hopefully get the year back after we appeal it. … Hopefully, next year when he returns, he’s another redshirt freshman.’’
Douglas, the Gophers’ second-leading receiver with 11 receptions for 83 yards, played in the three nonconference games but didn’t suit up for Saturday’s 31-24 loss to Maryland in the Big Ten opener.
Other nuggets from Fleck’s WCCO appearance:
** Because of depth concerns in the secondary, Fleck is considering moving offensive players to defense. “We’re coming down to maybe moving some wideouts to corner here soon,’’ he said. One candidate for that could be redshirt freshman receiver Drew Hmielewski, who also played defensive back in high school at Marshall, Minn.
** Fleck also said that depth concerns mean more freshmen will play. “We'll break some more redshirts even this week,’’ he said. On Saturday, with starting safeties Antoine Winfield Jr. (hamstring) and Duke McGhee (suspension) missing most or all of the game, true freshman Ken Handy-Holly saw his first action.
** Fleck on quarterback Conor Rhoda not running the ball: “If we run Conor more and we lose Conor, we’re really in some bad positions.’’ Rhoda rushed one time for 6 yards on Saturday, and the lack of a QB running threat helped enable Maryland to key on running backs Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks, who were held to 35 and 39 yards, respectively.
“It’s not just running him more,’’ Fleck said of Rhoda. “That’s how Maryland got to their third [quarterback] in four games [because of injuries]. It’s the ability to put him in a position where he can be successful.’’
** Fleck on the offensive line: “We didn’t move anybody. It was kind of just a big wall across. … We have to continue to call things that are the strength of our O-line and not call things that aren’t the strength or our O-line.’’