With suspensions decimating their secondary, the Gophers released a patchwork depth chart Friday night ahead of Tuesday’s Holiday Bowl.
The Gophers need to replace two starters, cornerback KiAnte Hardin and safety Antoine Winfield, and reserve cornerbacks Ray Buford and Antonio Shenault. They were four of the 10 players suspended last week in connection with an alleged Sept. 2 sexual assault.
The Gophers now list Jalen Myrick and Coney Durr as starting cornerbacks with Damarius Travis and Duke McGhee as starting safeties. Durr, a true freshman, has played sparingly. Eric Amoako is listed as the backup at both cornerback positions, and Adekunle Ayinde and Jacob Huff as the backup safeties.
Minnesota will need all those defensive backs vs. Washington State which ranks second nationally in passing yards per game (370.8). The Cougars are the country’s only team with five players with 40-plus receptions. Five of the other suspended players — running back Carlton Djam, safety Dior Johnson, defensive lineman Tamarion Johnson and quarterbacks Seth Green and Mark Williams — were never expected to play.
Kobe McCrary was third on the tailback depth chart before getting suspended, and running back James Johannesson has transferred to North Dakota. So Jonathan Femi-Cole could be third in line at tailback.
Hardin also was the team’s primary punt returner; Eric Carter is now listed at that spot.