Minnesota Football: Golden Gophers' 2021 Spring PreviewBy Mark Ross, 3/29/21, 10:00 AM EDT
Tanner Morgan and the Gophers are eager to bounce back after last fall's challenging 3-4 campaign
Like many other college football teams last fall, the Minnesota Golden Gophers struggled through their pandemic-shortened campaign, both on the field and off of it. A year after going 11-2 and finishing the season ranked 10th in the final AP poll, P.J. Fleck's Gophers went just 3-4 in the fall.
Minnesota certainly felt the impact of COVID-19 as not only were two games canceled because of an outbreak within the program the effects also impacted the roster beyond those contests. Yet despite all the adversity, the Gophers beat Nebraska on the road in its first game back even though they were missing 33 players.
While it may not have showed in the win-loss column, Fleck said in his pre-spring press conference that he believes his team learned a lot from everything the players dealt with last year and that the experience gained should pay off. Minnesota returns 16 starters with only two key contributors departing and several new players expected to step in right away.
Now in his fifth season at the helm, Fleck said this is the most experienced team he has had during his tenure. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of things to work on during the spring, however, as last year's losing record shows. Among the priorities is putting all of the pieces together on offense and figuring out what went wrong on defense in 2020.