The Gophers had seven starters and four key reserves out with injuries for Saturday's 41-13 win at Purdue. So the coaching staff had myriad concerns entering the game, and none were bigger than the center position, where true freshman Tyler Moore was making his college debut.
Filling in for the injured Brian Bobek, Moore showed why he was a coveted recruit coming out of Houston's North Shore High School. Moore pancaked Purdue senior defensive tackle Ryan Watson on Minnesota's first offensive play and showed no hesitancy to mix it up with the Boilermakers after the whistle.
The Gophers had seen that same intensity from Moore, even back in spring practice, when he arrived on campus after graduating from high school a semester early.
"His personality sometimes gets the best of him," coach Jerry Kill said Sunday. "But you’d rather have to tell him, 'Whoa,' than 'Giddy up and go,' as Coach [Dan] O’Brien would say. But you don’t want to take the physicalness and aggressiveness out of him. Frankly that’s kind of what we’ve been missing up front."
As quarterback Mitch Leidner said, "The amount of energy that [Moore] brings on the offensive line is unbelievable."
Right tackle Jonah Pirsig said Moore did a good job communicating signals to the rest of the line, as centers need to do before the snap.
"[Moore's] still got a lot of work to do, and we’ll see how things play out with Brian Bobek," Kill said. "He’s got to get his snaps better, things of that nature, get more comfortable. ... But he had a lot of pressure to play, and he performed pretty well."