3 THINGS THE GOPHERS LEARNED
The Junior college linemen can play
The offensive line became a glaring weakness last year, but junior college transfers Garrison Wright and Vincent Calhoun look like huge additions at left tackle and right guard, respectively.
The running back stable is deeper *
Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith looked terrific all spring. Jonathan Femi-Cole has upside, and James Johannesson was the most improved player on offense, coach Tracy Claeys said.
Defensive tackle is now a strength
Another JUCO transfer, Merrick Jackson, blew up several plays Saturday the way Steven Richardson does. Scott Ekpe, Andrew Stelter, Gary Moore and Yoshoub Timms add impressive depth.
3 QUESTIONS THAT STILL REMAIN
Can they replace the hole left by KJ Maye?
Receivers dropped several passes Saturday, and they were clearly missing Maye’s playmaking ability in third-down situations.
Are they OK at cornerback?
Replacing Eric Murray and Briean Boddy-Calhoun is tough. Senior Jalen Myrick returns; otherwise it’s a young group led by sophomore KiAnte Hardin and redshirt freshman Ray Buford.
Can they avoid key injuries?
Sophomore Demry Croft looks like he would struggle to replace quarterback Mitch Leidner in a pinch. And the first-string offensive line looks potent, but depth there is a major concern.