Two days ahead of their season opener against Buffalo on Thursday night at TCF Bank Stadium, the Gophers gave us a look at how they'll line up with the release of their depth chart.

If you're looking for surprises, there aren't many, if any.

As coach P.J. Fleck announced a couple of weeks ago, that senior Conor Rhoda and sophomore Demry Croft will both be starters, and they are listed in an "or'' situation in the two-deep roster at QB. One will take the first snap under center, but which one that will be has not been announced.

Running backs Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks are listed as co-starters at running back, with an "or'' designation. Same goes for tight ends Nate Wozniak and Brandon Lingen.


As Fleck indicated last week, true freshman Demetrius Douglas is listed as one of the three starting wide receivers. He's joined by sophomore Tyler Johnson and senior Eric Carter. That leaves Rashad Still, the leading returning pass-catcher, as a backup to Johnson. Interestingly, listed as a backup wideout to Carter in an "or'' situation with Melvin Holland Jr. is true freshman Chris Autman-Bell, who impressed Fleck early in training camp before suffering a leg injury. Fleck last week said he wasn't sure if he would redshirt Autman-Bell.

The offensive line got a boost Tuesday when Fleck announced Garrison Wright, who underwent offseason surgery, would be ready to play Thursday. He is listed as the starter at right guard. He'll line up between right tackle Nick Connelly and center Jared Weyler. On the left side, Conner Olsen is at guard and Donnell Greene at tackle. True freshman Blaise Andries is Connelly's backup

The defense up front has Winston DeLattiboudere and Carter Coughlin at ends, and Steven Richardson and Merrick Jackson at tackles.

The Gophers' depth at linebacker is apparent, with starters Jonathan Celestin, backed up by last year's sacks leader Blake Cashman; Thomas Barber, backed up by 2016 starter Cody Poock; and Kamal Martin, with Jaylen Walters behind him. Cashman also is listed as a backup at end.

In the secondary, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Duke McGhee are at the safeties, and Antonio Shenault and Kiondre Thomas at cornerback.

Fleck said the punt return job could be by committee, and Shenault, Winfield and Douglas are listed as tri-starters.

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