Minnesota Secondary Still a Primary Concern

The Minnesota Golden Gophers did nothing to alleviate concerns about their secondary in Saturday's opener against Bowling Green. The young defensive backs produced a discomforting mark in Week 1.

Minnesota's biggest area of concern after one game remains its porous secondary. The Gophers, who ranked 117th nationally in pass defense last season, gave up 412 passing yards in a 32-31 overtime loss to Bowling Green in the opener. That was the most passing yards surrendered in Division I-A in Week One.
The offseason dismissal of starting cornerback Dominic Jones has proved to be a critical loss. The Gophers played three true freshmen defensive backs against Bowling Green, and that unit is lacking overall speed and play-making ability. The Gophers will try and get more pressure on the quarterback to help out their secondary.

The defensive backs must do a better job of tackling and making plays when they get the opportunity. They had several chances at interceptions last week but failed to hold on to the ball.

"When we're in man coverage and we're bringing blitzes, we have to have the confidence to play tight and snug it up," coach Tim Brewster said.
The Gophers offense will continue to pound the ball with senior tailback Amir Pinnix and a physical offensive line, while the passing game finds its rhythm. Pinnix carried the ball 28 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns and will probably continue to get that amount of work.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Adam Weber showed some early jitters in his first start but looked more comfortable as the game moved along. Weber was a factor in the option, rushing for 72 yards on 18 carries.

The Gophers should have a size advantage up front over Miami (Ohio), so look for them to establish their running game early.

NOTES

  • DE Willie VanDeSteeg did not record a sack, but he was in the backfield a lot. He collected two tackles for loss and was the recipient of several holding calls against Bowling Green.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "There is no moral victory here whatsoever. The bottom line is, a little piece of me died (Sept. 1). A little piece of every player on this team had to die, because we lost a football game that I felt like we could have won." — Coach Tim Brewster after his team erased a 21-0 halftime deficit to force overtime.

    ROSTER REPORT: TE Jack Simmons has a toe injury and could be sidelined for several weeks. His replacement, Nick Tow-Arnett, had his first career reception against Bowling Green, a 56-yarder in the fourth quarter.

    Kickoff specialist Joel Monroe had a strong debut. Even with kickoffs moved back five yards to the 30, Monroe averaged 67.8 yards on five kickoffs and had two touchbacks.

    True freshman Ryan Collado has replaced senior Desi Steib as the starter at right cornerback.



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