Looking to Next Season

gopherbadgerman

Active member
If you’re thinking this season was our best shot at winning the West, you may be wrong. Next year looks somewhat nice for us.
Iowa is going to be tested big time with their cross over road games against OSU AND PSU...that could be nice for us. Wisconsin at Michigan could help us. I actually don’t mind our chances getting to play Michigan here. They’re a great team obviously, but they don’t always do so great against ranked teams (hoping we are at that point) and Harbaugh is kind of a choke artist. I think it really helps us to have Iowa at home.

Michigan State on the road could be very iffy for us..they’re an odd/tough team for me to figure out still.

Wisconsin starts their season with their first game being against a quickly improving Indiana team that returns its QB, RB, and top WR, as well as many other key positions. That could be an early conference L for Wisconsin. Then they have Appalachian State, 11-1 this season and ranked #20. They’re known for giving good teams a tough time (ask Michigan). They then have to go to Michigan in week 4. So they have two games really early on, that could be extremely competitive. If Taylor does not return, they’ll likely be trying to figure out what their new system looks and feels like still. We could be looking at a Wisconsin team that is 0-2 in conference by week 4. The schedule doesn’t get easier after Michigan. They have Notre Dame right after that, in a Primetime deal that appears to be set to go down at Lambeau Field. I don’t envision that being anywhere close to an automatic W for Bucky. Then Wisconsin gets us at home, they could be either very pumped up after some impressive W’s or totally disheartened after L’s in a couple or even a few of the games I’ve listed. They could be 0-2 in conference, and as bad as 1-4 or 2-3 in their overall record going into their game with us. And I can say that without being called a total nut job. They do not have an easy schedule by any means in the first half of their season. After us it’s an easy stretch in comparison to the first 6 games. They could go undefeated in the next 5 until they go on the road to Iowa. It’d be nice to see Wisconsin suffer to the curse of November in Kinnick. Could end up being a huge deal breaker for our fate next season (exciting).

I actually think Gophers stand a chance of finishing ahead of Wisconsin next season. Iowa has tough schedule with an early road game against us. Then a few weeks later they have back-to-back road games against OSU and PSU.

If the Gophers can beat Wisconsin and Iowa in 2020, we could seriously SERIOUSLY see Iowa AND Wisconsin sitting with 3 conference losses by October 17th. Wisconsin being 0-3 in conference, and Iowa being 1-3 (giving them a W against Michigan State).

Gophers have to show up next season ready to go early on. There won’t be time to figure things out In the non-con like they did this season. Offense returns everyone with key losses being Johnson, Smith, and Brooks. I feel confident that Bateman, Autman-Bell, and Douglas or the 4 star freshman coming in will fill in nicely. Losing Smith and Brooks will hurt, but we return an extremely promising Ibrahim and have yet to see what Potts, Wiley, and Williamson can really do. Not to mention we have Bryce Williams, who had moments where he looked decent last season. Biggest questions are:
how do we improve on both O-line and D-line? Can we add depth to both?
does Winfield Jr. come back?
Can we see improvement at LB even after losing Martin?
How do we look without Coughlin?
Do we land commits or transfers that have immediate impact and/or can start right away?
Check out the 2021 Schedule.
 

Veritas

Active member
It really is a matter of what you are losing. We are losing some solid players but we are not losing much in terms of true game changers (Winfiled would be the exception here if he goes pro).

For example, Wisconsin is only losing Baun and Orr off their starting defense. But those are 2 massive losses. Those two combined for 23 sacks and 32 TFL this season. If you add up the sacks and TFL of Barber, Coughlin, Renner, Martin, DeLattiboudere, Devers and Williamson you get roughly 15 sacks and 30 TFL from the entire group.

You still have to replace all that production with new players, and there is no guarantee they won't struggle some, but it is not like we will be looking to replace great defensive players so the bar is not crazy high for those new guys taking over.

We have seen a noticeable uptick in offensive talent since Fleck took over. Next year will be our first true chance to see if a similar improvement is happening on defense.
So if the current guys are so easy to replace why is it that after 12 games the new, more promising players, have not replaced them in the starting line up? I have waited all season for this to happen at any, any position on the D and it has not happened unless the starter has been injured and even then as soon as the original starter is fit to play he is reinserted as the starter and gets most of the snaps. To me this screams of "the starters are better than the younger guys". I agree that in time the current starters will be replaced by even better players, but the current reality is that those better players are not better now, are being red shirted or are not yet on the team. Not one of those guys has been able to win a starting spot all year. I just do not see Fleck as the kind of guy who would keep an inferior guy on the field while a better guy sits and waits "his turn".
 

dpodoll68

Elite Poster
And hope is a wonderful thing, however I try to stay grounded in reality as much as possible. I have not seen in my many adult decades as a fan a team lose seven starters on D not be weaker the next season for at least, at least the first half of the season, except the most elite programs like Ohio State.
"I have not seen a team lose seven starters on D and not be weaker the next season, except for all the times I have seen it."
 

MGGopher

Well-known member
So if the current guys are so easy to replace why is it that after 12 games the new, more promising players, have not replaced them in the starting line up? I have waited all season for this to happen at any, any position on the D and it has not happened unless the starter has been injured and even then as soon as the original starter is fit to play he is reinserted as the starter and gets most of the snaps. To me this screams of "the starters are better than the younger guys". I agree that in time the current starters will be replaced by even better players, but the current reality is that those better players are not better now, are being red shirted or are not yet on the team. Not one of those guys has been able to win a starting spot all year. I just do not see Fleck as the kind of guy who would keep an inferior guy on the field while a better guy sits and waits "his turn".
Some of it depends on the gap between the starter and younger guy. It's absolutely true that if we had an Epenesa on the bench he'd be starting as a true Fr. But what if the young guys are similarly talented or even just a bit better than the starters? Fleck constantly says he won't sacrifice the long-term health of the program for temporary gains, so I believe he'll RS players in that situation...which means that with another off-season of practices and training, maybe there won't be such a huge dropoff next year after all.

Of course it's also very possible that the younger players are FAR behind the starters and we'll see a noticeable dip in talent and production. I honestly have no idea at all.
 

dpodoll68

Elite Poster
So if the current guys are so easy to replace
Not a single person said that. Stop making things up.

why is it that after 12 games the new, more promising players, have not replaced them in the starting line up?
Why are you so worried about who's in the "starting line up [sic]"? As accurately stated above, all of the younger players mentioned have played a lot and are ready to move into the "starting line up [sic]". What's important is who's playing and how many snaps they're getting, not who's in the "starting line up [sic]".

the starters are better than the younger guys
No shit, huh? Hmm, I guess our coaches aren't total morons and actually give more playing time to the better players. Who would thunk it?

I agree that in time the current starters will be replaced by even better players, but the current reality is that those better players are not better now, are being red shirted or are not yet on the team. Not one of those guys has been able to win a starting spot all year. I just do not see Fleck as the kind of guy who would keep an inferior guy on the field while a better guy sits and waits "his turn".
Have you heard of gaining experience and maturity? Have you heard of getting faster, stronger, more explosive with time and training? In your decades of watching football and accumulating the vast expertise you undoubtedly have (it's evident to all), it appears that you haven't seen or heard of any of these things.
 

Johnnyboy18

Active member
So if the current guys are so easy to replace why is it that after 12 games the new, more promising players, have not replaced them in the starting line up? I have waited all season for this to happen at any, any position on the D and it has not happened unless the starter has been injured and even then as soon as the original starter is fit to play he is reinserted as the starter and gets most of the snaps. To me this screams of "the starters are better than the younger guys". I agree that in time the current starters will be replaced by even better players, but the current reality is that those better players are not better now, are being red shirted or are not yet on the team. Not one of those guys has been able to win a starting spot all year. I just do not see Fleck as the kind of guy who would keep an inferior guy on the field while a better guy sits and waits "his turn".
You clearly didn't watch the 2017 season if you think Fleck starts the better player 100% of the time.
 

dpodoll68

Elite Poster
No, that is not what I wrote unless you think that we are already like Ohio State. Not even you think that.
Yes, that is what you wrote. This bizarre phenomenon of younger players improving while gaining experience, strength, speed, play recognition ability, maturity, camaraderie, etc., etc. doesn't just happen at Ohio St., it happens all the time and at programs all across the country.

Yes, I do think that. In fact, I know it. Programs lose starters and have to replace them all of the time. It's the nature of college football. Somehow other programs manage to do it without being lectured by some know-nothing clown who has some weird agenda to push.
 

Veritas

Active member
Not a single person said that. Stop making things up.



Why are you so worried about who's in the "starting line up [sic]"? As accurately stated above, all of the younger players mentioned have played a lot and are ready to move into the "starting line up [sic]". What's important is who's playing and how many snaps they're getting, not who's in the "starting line up [sic]".



No shit, huh? Hmm, I guess our coaches aren't total morons and actually give more playing time to the better players. Who would thunk it?



Have you heard of gaining experience and maturity? Have you heard of getting faster, stronger, more explosive with time and training? In your decades of watching football and accumulating the vast expertise you undoubtedly have (it's evident to all), it appears that you haven't seen or heard of any of these things.
Your post is internally inconsistent and purely argumentative. sic. We are losing seven starters who the coaches know are better than any guys on the bench, none of whom could win a starting spot this year over our 12 games. Will some of these guys eventually get better? Sure, but my prediction stands as stated many times now: the D is likely to be not as good as it is now for the first half of next season unless we can bring in a couple of excellent defensive transfers.
 

Veritas

Active member
Yes, that is what you wrote. This bizarre phenomenon of younger players improving while gaining experience, strength, speed, play recognition ability, maturity, camaraderie, etc., etc. doesn't just happen at Ohio St., it happens all the time and at programs all across the country.

Yes, I do think that. In fact, I know it. Programs lose starters and have to replace them all of the time. It's the nature of college football. Somehow other programs manage to do it without being lectured by some know-nothing clown who has some weird agenda to push.
Ah, need to name call, always a good sign of a weak line of thought. Losing seven defensive starters who were not a team strength should lead any rational football fan to worry about how strong the D will be to start the following season.
 

dpodoll68

Elite Poster
Your post is internally inconsistent and purely argumentative.
Wrong.

You don't know what that means, do you?

We are losing seven starters who the coaches know are better than any guys on the bench, none of whom could win a starting spot this year over our 12 games.
First of all, how do you know we're losing seven starters? Did Winfield declare and I missed it? Link?

Second and more importantly - even though you've been asked this question several times and continue to ignore it, I'll ask again - why do you care so much about who the starters are? Why does that matter to you? All it actually signifies is who's on the field when the game starts. Who cares? In a hypothetical world where Dew-Treadway starts and plays 5 plays with Teague playing all the rest, will you still be on here asking stupid questions about why Teague doesn't start?

the D is likely to be not as good as it is now for the first half of next season unless we can bring in a couple of excellent defensive transfers.
This is actually a not-horrible point and one you should stick to arguing. Stop making up stupid garbage about "starters" and how we're up shit creek because the "younger guys" couldn't displace them as "starters".
 

dpodoll68

Elite Poster
Ah, need to name call, always a good sign of a weak line of thought. Losing seven defensive starters who were not a team strength should lead any rational football fan to worry about how strong the D will be to start the following season.
Post the link to Winfield declaring for the draft or stop making up the "fact" that we're losing seven defensive starters.

Talk about a lack of internal consistency. You say that the "seven defensive starters were not a team strength, and yet losing them will be catastrophic. Which is it? It can't be both.
 

MNVCGUY

Well-known member
So if the current guys are so easy to replace why is it that after 12 games the new, more promising players, have not replaced them in the starting line up? I have waited all season for this to happen at any, any position on the D and it has not happened unless the starter has been injured and even then as soon as the original starter is fit to play he is reinserted as the starter and gets most of the snaps. To me this screams of "the starters are better than the younger guys". I agree that in time the current starters will be replaced by even better players, but the current reality is that those better players are not better now, are being red shirted or are not yet on the team. Not one of those guys has been able to win a starting spot all year. I just do not see Fleck as the kind of guy who would keep an inferior guy on the field while a better guy sits and waits "his turn".
The D-Line was rotating all year and I honestly can't tell you the snap counts for guys like Coughlin, DeLattiboudere, Renner vs the 2nd string guys. But I know I saw guys like Schad, Mafe and others on the field a lot along the D-Line. Sori-Marin and Oliver also saw significant playing time over the course of the season. Defense is very different then offense in that guys rotate a lot more frequently.

It is not surprising to see seniors hold down starting jobs over under-classmen. Those developing players have another off season to get stronger and work on technique. They are not replacing all world talent so the bar is not crazy high for the level they will need to play at in order to be as good the guys they are replacing.

I am honestly not trying to bash the seniors we had on defense this year. They were a very solid group of players who did some great things for the University of Minnesota but they also are not super high level guys that will be impossible to replace for the most part.

That said, in order for this team to take the next step the defense will need to improve. The hope here is that some of these guys that have been waiting in the wings for their opportunity will be able to hit the ground running next year and propel that unit forward in the way the new talent has propelled the offense to levels we have not really seen around here. No guarantees that the defense won't take a step back but I am optimistic that it won't be a big step back if there is one at all.
 

Veritas

Active member
You're getting frantic again dpod. No one used the word catastrophic except you. You are just having a snit that anyone would dare to have an opinion different from yours. Now go ahead and get in the last word that you need so much.
 
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salzie

Active member
So if the current guys are so easy to replace why is it that after 12 games the new, more promising players, have not replaced them in the starting line up? I have waited all season for this to happen at any, any position on the D and it has not happened unless the starter has been injured and even then as soon as the original starter is fit to play he is reinserted as the starter and gets most of the snaps. To me this screams of "the starters are better than the younger guys". I agree that in time the current starters will be replaced by even better players, but the current reality is that those better players are not better now, are being red shirted or are not yet on the team. Not one of those guys has been able to win a starting spot all year. I just do not see Fleck as the kind of guy who would keep an inferior guy on the field while a better guy sits and waits "his turn".

well there is assumption that players can improve with off season training, practice, etc



College teams have to reload all the time, it's a way of life.
 

short ornery norwegian

Well-known member
Last year, people wanted to take Schlueter out and shoot him. This year, he became a solid starter.

Players do get better. Young players do improve with age and experience. Of course, you can say the same thing about all the young players on the other teams.

Every year, teams lose graduating seniors and top underclassmen who go pro. and yet, for the most part, you don't see teams with wild fluctuations in their records - going from 10-2 to 3-9 or anything like that. When teams do have a big drop-off, it usually has more to do with a bad run of injuries.

The whole point of what Fleck is trying to do is to get the MN program to a point where they can graduate a good senior class and they have young players ready to step into those positions.

are they there yet? maybe not. but I am not going to write off the defense until I see it on the field next year.
 

dpodoll68

Elite Poster
You're getting frantic again dpod. No one used the word catastrophic except you. You are just having a snit that anyone would dare to have an opinion different from yours. Now go ahead and get in the last word that need so much.
You are free to have an opinion different than mine. People on here do all of the time. You are not, however, entitled to your own facts, nor are you entitled to make up nonsense illogical garbage reasoning and use that as a basis to push a stupid agenda over and over and over ad infinitum.

The downside of success is that it has brought several terrible posters on to the board, present company most definitely included.
 

Go Gophs

Member
College teams come up with guys all the time to step in and fill holes. There are guys on this squad no one has heard about that could step in and be good to great defensive players. I wouldn't worry a ton about losing guys on defense. Coughlin will hurt and Winfield if he is gone will hurt. Maybe Barber and Martin. The rest weren't difference makers. In fact, our defensive line as a group IMO, wasn't great. They need a much better pass rush. Also, guy like St. Juste will probably improve, he could be one of the better corners in all of college football next year.
 

Veritas

Active member
College teams come up with guys all the time to step in and fill holes. There are guys on this squad no one has heard about that could step in and be good to great defensive players. I wouldn't worry a ton about losing guys on defense. Coughlin will hurt and Winfield if he is gone will hurt. Maybe Barber and Martin. The rest weren't difference makers. In fact, our defensive line as a group IMO, wasn't great. They need a much better pass rush. Also, guy like St. Juste will probably improve, he could be one of the better corners in all of college football next year.
If "there are guys on this squad no one has heard about that could step in and be good to great defensive players" why didn't our coaches put those guys out there to improve our team this year? Whenever we got into a very important defensive situation the coaches sent the starters out there to hold the line as best they could. We will have a big defensive rebuilding job to do over the next eleven to twelve months and I hope we can do it because we did not have a single guy on the bench who was able to earn a starting job once the first game was played this year. The O may be stronger next year, the special teams almost must be better than this year, but the D is going to take some time to replace all those starters lost this winter. Indeed, that is why everyone is so confident in the O being as good or better: because we have nine starters back who were good enough to start this year on a very good O.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

Well-known member
If "there are guys on this squad no one has heard about that could step in and be good to great defensive players" why didn't our coaches put those guys out there to improve our team this year? Whenever we got into a very important defensive situation the coaches sent the starters out there to hold the line as best they could. We will have a big defensive rebuilding job to do over the next eleven to twelve months and I hope we can do it because we did not have a single guy on the bench who was able to earn a starting job once the first game was played this year. The O may be stronger next year, the special teams almost must be better than this year, but the D is going to take some time to replace all those starters lost this winter. Indeed, that is why everyone is so confident in the O being as good or better: because we have nine starters back who were good enough to start this year on a very good O.
Yeah when you're not doing great in some roles and nobody could push those guys out of those spots ... I worry. It's possible someone steps up, but I'm not sure the Gophers are at that depth where we do enough to be better.
 

WoodburyTim

Active member
Little worried about the LB corp. I liked what Oliver did at times, but the others were shaky. Sorin-Martin needs to make big strides. Had hopes for Rush but he seemed to have vanished or hurt. Not sure.
 

tmvander

Active member
Little worried about the LB corp. I liked what Oliver did at times, but the others were shaky. Sorin-Martin needs to make big strides. Had hopes for Rush but he seemed to have vanished or hurt. Not sure.
Kaden Johnson and Itayvion Brown will be have them as the best LB group in the Big Ten West
 

mjfelton15

Active member
Kaden Johnson and Itayvion Brown will be have them as the best LB group in the Big Ten West
Kaden is far from in the bag yet. Hope we can land him, but only if he’s 100% in. I don’t want him if he doesn’t really want to be here, and he’s taken a lot of time to decide on where to go. With all the future promise here and getting to be part of what could be a legendary team, and getting to fight for the home team, it shouldn’t be this hard to choose if you want to be a Gopher or not as a Minnesota kid. He’s leaning towards Nebraska right now. Crystal ball predictions On 24/7 have him 60% leaning Nebraska.
 

MNVCGUY

Well-known member
If "there are guys on this squad no one has heard about that could step in and be good to great defensive players" why didn't our coaches put those guys out there to improve our team this year? Whenever we got into a very important defensive situation the coaches sent the starters out there to hold the line as best they could. We will have a big defensive rebuilding job to do over the next eleven to twelve months and I hope we can do it because we did not have a single guy on the bench who was able to earn a starting job once the first game was played this year. The O may be stronger next year, the special teams almost must be better than this year, but the D is going to take some time to replace all those starters lost this winter. Indeed, that is why everyone is so confident in the O being as good or better: because we have nine starters back who were good enough to start this year on a very good O.
Well I will give you this much, when you latch onto an idea you don't let it go no matter how many times you are proven to be off base with the sentiment.

I don't have the exact play numbers each guy played but on D next year we will have the following players who all saw significant playing time this season. I even listed the number of games they played in to try and help you grasp this a little.

D-Line - 12 games - Dew-Treadway, Otomewo, Schad, Teague, Mafe
LB - 12 games - Sori-Marin, Oliver, Rush
DB - 12 games - Durr, Howden, St-Juste, Thomas, Swenson, Harris
DB - 11 games - Nubin
DB - 8 games - Smith
I didn't include Winfield in the 12 game group but if he comes back he fits in there as well. A few of those guys (Rush, Nubin, Swenson, Harris) got more run on special teams then defense but they still saw the field a lot this season.

So stop pretending we are going to be fielding a group of complete unknowns next year that couldn't even get on the field this season because it just isn't true. All those guys listed have 15 bowl practices, off season workouts, spring ball, and fall camp to continue to learn and develop and get ready to take on a bigger role next year when the seniors depart.


Bottom line, as much as you want to pretend like only the starters ever saw the field on defense there are a lot of guys who got a lot of experience this season and there are players waiting for their opportunity as well.
 

btowngopher

Active member
If "there are guys on this squad no one has heard about that could step in and be good to great defensive players" why didn't our coaches put those guys out there to improve our team this year? Whenever we got into a very important defensive situation the coaches sent the starters out there to hold the line as best they could. We will have a big defensive rebuilding job to do over the next eleven to twelve months and I hope we can do it because we did not have a single guy on the bench who was able to earn a starting job once the first game was played this year. The O may be stronger next year, the special teams almost must be better than this year, but the D is going to take some time to replace all those starters lost this winter. Indeed, that is why everyone is so confident in the O being as good or better: because we have nine starters back who were good enough to start this year on a very good O.
Haven’t done any research, but I kind of suspect that it’s rare for a player to lose a starting job during the year without injury. The ones that do get benched are likely due to their own poor performance rather than another player developing during the year.
 

Veritas

Active member
Well I will give you this much, when you latch onto an idea you don't let it go no matter how many times you are proven to be off base with the sentiment.

I don't have the exact play numbers each guy played but on D next year we will have the following players who all saw significant playing time this season. I even listed the number of games they played in to try and help you grasp this a little.

D-Line - 12 games - Dew-Treadway, Otomewo, Schad, Teague, Mafe
LB - 12 games - Sori-Marin, Oliver, Rush
DB - 12 games - Durr, Howden, St-Juste, Thomas, Swenson, Harris
DB - 11 games - Nubin
DB - 8 games - Smith
I didn't include Winfield in the 12 game group but if he comes back he fits in there as well. A few of those guys (Rush, Nubin, Swenson, Harris) got more run on special teams then defense but they still saw the field a lot this season.

So stop pretending we are going to be fielding a group of complete unknowns next year that couldn't even get on the field this season because it just isn't true. All those guys listed have 15 bowl practices, off season workouts, spring ball, and fall camp to continue to learn and develop and get ready to take on a bigger role next year when the seniors depart.


Bottom line, as much as you want to pretend like only the starters ever saw the field on defense there are a lot of guys who got a lot of experience this season and there are players waiting for their opportunity as well.
".....Only the starters ever saw the field....."? Who said that? Not me. Generally, you will find that when you want to make a point about what someone else said or wrote it is far better to stick to what they did say or wrote. I have only said that the same guys have been starters from the beginning of the year and not one of them was dislodged by even one young guy. Thus, it does not follow that the D will be better or just as good in the early half of next season unless we get some serious help from transfers. Simple and non threatning.
 

Veritas

Active member
Haven’t done any research, but I kind of suspect that it’s rare for a player to lose a starting job during the year without injury. The ones that do get benched are likely due to their own poor performance rather than another player developing during the year.
I too don't know anything about how often starters are replaced but I do recall two recently on our D team. Neither Cashman nor Coughlin started in the first game yet sure did take over during the season. I just don't know why a coach would want to keep a better player on the bench while his team is losing games or not playing well. Maybe early in the season while the new talent is still too raw, but after fifty, sixty, seventy practices and 10, 11 or 12 games?
 
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