1) The Gophers have an excellent offensive line and they have guys signed up for next year. They can go two-deep on the O line and that is what they need since that is the strength of their team.
2) They have one great RB in Cobb, then Edwards (who is they can figure out how to use him could be explosive) Kirkwood is OK as is Roderick Williams, and they have a guy coming next year who is also very good. And MAYBE Jeff Jones if he can academically qualify. They are set at RB, again, which is good since running the ball is their team identity. They are set for 4-6 years at the positions they will need to run the ball.
3) Saturday in the 2nd half was the only time I have ever seen Claeys get out-schemed by an offensive coordinator. He generally has his guys in a position to make plays, they just sometimes don’t. So the fact that the Gophers have a very good defensive coordinator is a big positive. I will assume he just had one bad half.
4) Damien Wilson is awesome – best Gopher LB I have ever seen. And Jack Lynn looks to be only about 1 step behind in ability.
5) Defensive backs are generally not allowing guys to be 5-10 yards open – bucking Gopher tradition.
A) QB play is awful.
B) Passing offense has no one getting open and doesn’t use Maxx Williams (targeted once Saturday) and doesn’t throw basic short passes (swing pass, screen pass, bubble screen, dump to TE, 6 yard outs, slants). I would hold a party at my house just to see a really basic 12 yard pattern where two guys cross paths in an effort to confuse the D. Norv Turner is in town guys - make an appointment and have him draw up 6 passing plays for you to use.
C) Defensive line is playing guys who are true freshman and who were not even very highly recruited as true freshmen. So yeah, maybe you play the 4 or 5 star recruit if you get one, but if you are taking the red shirt of Andrew Stelter that says you need immediate playing time from a mid-level recruit who last played against 170 pound linemen at Owatonna.
D) You are short one linebacker. DeVondre Campbell is afraid of contact. He is huge, and fast, but he cannot tackle. They actually played Jon Celestine for a couple series. He is a freshman who weighs about 210 pounds. But he was willing to at least hit someone. They also took the redshirt off another small freshman. I would anticipate that Campbell gets dumped from the first team soon, especially since they are pushing the Poock kid so hard to come back from a blown knee.
E) D-backs still are always in position but regularly get outfought for the ball. Doesn’t do any good to be there if the pass is still complete.
The biggest panic I would have is that your offense may score 10 points a game against good teams and your 4 true freshman that you are playing on the D line will not hold up to Big Ten competition. So you may play Wisconsin and they may beat you 45-6 and never pass the ball.
To be optimistic – MTSU scored 61 points in its first game and has beaten teams like GTech and Maryland in the past, so they are not terrible. Two of the hurt D linemen may possibly return after the bye, and if they do, that means you will have like 10 D linemen to rotate. If you get that third good linebacker you are looking for, you may have a pretty good defense. And maybe Kill is hiding all of his good pass plays so they don’t show up on tape??????