Minnesota football: 5 biggest holes to fill in 2021 starting lineup

BleedGopher

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per Phil:

WR: Chris Autman-Bell replacing Rashod Bateman

WR: Michael Brown-Stephens replacing Autman-Bell

CB: Phillip Howard replacing Benjamin St-Juste

DT: Nyles Pinckney replacing DeAngelo Carter

K: ??? replacing ???



Go Gophers!!
 

Redbird

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I think finding a #2 and #3 running back behind Ibraham is extremely important. I'm not sold on either Wiley or Potts at this point.

I'm very confident in the kickers that have been brought in; the effect of covid running rampant through our kickers last season cost us at least two games imho. That situation will not happen again.

I like the added depth to th d-line, although I am unsure of the quality of the added depth.

Phil Howard is still developing as a corner, and there may be other - more talented corners on the roster that may see the field this fall.
 

die hard gopher

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Not worried about kicker at all with Trickett and Mobley coming in.

At WR, I think Dylan Wright is the #2 guy and Jackson #3. At #4 could be MBS, Seth, Geary or Emilien.

I think Pinckney and Carter both start.

Think Howard starts as well opposite CB.
 

hungan1

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I think finding a #2 and #3 running back behind Ibraham is extremely important. I'm not sold on either Wiley or Potts at this point.

I'm very confident in the kickers that have been brought in; the effect of covid running rampant through our kickers last season cost us at least two games imho. That situation will not happen again.

I like the added depth to th d-line, although I am unsure of the quality of the added depth.

Phil Howard is still developing as a corner, and there may be other - more talented corners on the roster that may see the field this fall.
Absolutely. WRs get all the attention. RBs are the secret sauce.

Avoid a steep drop off from Mo. Mo's running style is unlike the others who take punishment. Mo gives it.

Backup RBs are an injury away from delaying/derailing progress. It is good to have a stable of them. We look for someone to step up to the competition as heir apparent.

The Gophers can ill-afford a kick in the buttinski this coming season. I am also pleased the moves made to solidify kicking.

The Offensive and Defensive Lines are poised to do good things.

If the Gophers stay relatively healthy toward the end of the season, I look for them to make some noise in the Big Ten West.
 

RememberMurray

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Not worried about kicker at all with Trickett and Mobley coming in.

I agree. I must be missing something obvious in Phil not mentioning them.

At WR, I think Dylan Wright is the #2 guy and Jackson #3. At #4 could be MBS, Seth, Geary or Emilien.

My guess: Jackson, but it will be interesting.

I think Pinckney and Carter both start.

I'm intrigued by this idea. Carter really flashed a few times last season.

Think Howard starts as well opposite CB.
 

die hard gopher

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I think finding a #2 and #3 running back behind Ibraham is extremely important. I'm not sold on either Wiley or Potts at this point.

I'm very confident in the kickers that have been brought in; the effect of covid running rampant through our kickers last season cost us at least two games imho. That situation will not happen again.

I like the added depth to th d-line, although I am unsure of the quality of the added depth.

Phil Howard is still developing as a corner, and there may be other - more talented corners on the roster that may see the field this fall.
I thought Potts was very good when he got carries. Between him, Ky and Irving, I expect to have quality backup RB play.
 

RememberMurray

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We have an experienced, proven, talented leader at the most important position in all sports: quarterback.

That is a huge blessing.
 

MplsGopher

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Carter has not been replaced. He was the starter last year, as a freshman.

I'm glad we picked up a great addition in Pinckney. I have no doubt he will contribute. But if he wants to start, he'll have to earn it by learning the defense and being significantly better than Carter in the spring and then fall camp.
 

btowngopher

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I think finding a #2 and #3 running back behind Ibraham is extremely important. I'm not sold on either Wiley or Potts at this point.

I'm very confident in the kickers that have been brought in; the effect of covid running rampant through our kickers last season cost us at least two games imho. That situation will not happen again.

I like the added depth to th d-line, although I am unsure of the quality of the added depth.

Phil Howard is still developing as a corner, and there may be other - more talented corners on the roster that may see the field this fall.
Potts and Wiley both averaged over 6 ypc. I don’t get why so many people seem worried about the running back depth. We haven’t even seen Ky Thomas or Irving yet.
 

btowngopher

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Not worried about kicker at all with Trickett and Mobley coming in.

At WR, I think Dylan Wright is the #2 guy and Jackson #3. At #4 could be MBS, Seth, Geary or Emilien.

I think Pinckney and Carter both start.

Think Howard starts as well opposite CB.
I think Jackson is the number two, but will be interesting to see what we have in Dylan Wright.
 

Gophergrandpa

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Potts and Wiley both averaged over 6 ypc. I don’t get why so many people seem worried about the running back depth. We haven’t even seen Ky Thomas or Irving yet.
I am not worried about Potts or Wiley’s abilities or development. Both will help when called upon ... and healthy. I think we see more of Bruce Williams in 2021, too (though I know people question Bryce’s “vision”). Bryce is strong and fast. I am worried, however, about the durability of all the backup RBs. Mo is really special. He seems indestructible despite heavy usage (and he actually delivers a lot of blows). We have been spoiled by Mo.
 

U2Gopher

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Carter has not been replaced. He was the starter last year, as a freshman.
The original post scared the shit out of me!! Replacing Carter!?!? I was thinking he left and I hadn’t heard about it.
Carter is going to be a stud. I think he has the potential to be one of the best interior defensive lineman in Gophers history.
 

U2Gopher

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Howard and Nubin both struggled mightily last year and we haven’t recruited well behind them.
This is my biggest concern as well. They looked slow and discombobulated most of the time in my opinion. With better play in front of them they should improve, but this is without a doubt my biggest area of concern on the team.
 

MNVCGUY

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My biggest concern continues to be the CB outside of Durr and both safety positions.

Howard and Nubin both struggled mightily last year and we haven’t recruited well behind them.
I agree there is some unknown in the secondary but how can you say with absolute certainty that we have not recruited well there? There were some misses, especially in the 2017 and 2018 classes but looking at our current roster there are a lot of DBs that it is far too early to make any declarations on either way. Some of these guys could easily turn out to be multi year starters and see the field as early as 2021.

Fleming, Brown, Dixon, Glaze, Dubar, Pless. Plus there are the 2020 guys, Walley, Ortiz and Green. On top of that it is way too early to close the book on Nubin and assume he can't get better.

Question marks to be sure but odds are pretty good there are some decent players in that group above. It often takes guys a little time to adjust to the college game and the off season last year was anything but normal so it is reasonable to think it may have slowed the development of the younger guys some.

Will be interesting to see what the depth chart in the secondary looks like in the spring and during fall camp. Opportunities will be there for some younger guys to emerge and see significant playing time if they are good enough.
 

Jordekorn

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I am not worried about Potts or Wiley’s abilities or development. Both will help when called upon ... and healthy. I think we see more of Bruce Williams in 2021, too (though I know people question Bryce’s “vision”). Bryce is strong and fast. I am worried, however, about the durability of all the backup RBs. Mo is really special. He seems indestructible despite heavy usage (and he actually delivers a lot of blows). We have been spoiled by Mo.
It's not just vision, he doesn't pass the eye test on many levels to me. Hope to be proved wrong, but he doesn't look like a power 5 rb.
 

SPEGOPHER

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I agree there is some unknown in the secondary but how can you say with absolute certainty that we have not recruited well there? There were some misses, especially in the 2017 and 2018 classes but looking at our current roster there are a lot of DBs that it is far too early to make any declarations on either way. Some of these guys could easily turn out to be multi year starters and see the field as early as 2021.

Fleming, Brown, Dixon, Glaze, Dubar, Pless. Plus there are the 2020 guys, Walley, Ortiz and Green. On top of that it is way too early to close the book on Nubin and assume he can't get better.

Question marks to be sure but odds are pretty good there are some decent players in that group above. It often takes guys a little time to adjust to the college game and the off season last year was anything but normal so it is reasonable to think it may have slowed the development of the younger guys some.

Will be interesting to see what the depth chart in the secondary looks like in the spring and during fall camp. Opportunities will be there for some younger guys to emerge and see significant playing time if they are good enough.
I certainly can’t (and didn’t) say anything with absolute certainly. But it is my biggest concern and for good reason. While I share your optimism on the young recruits, the basis for my statement is that last year DB play was really bad, and our backups were Swenson and Howard — none of last year’s FR beyond Dixon got any tick on a terrible D. I agree that the young guys need time to improve and hopefully will, but there are zero proven commodities in the secondary beyond Durr. Therein lies the concern.
 

MNVCGUY

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I certainly can’t (and didn’t) say anything with absolute certainly. But it is my biggest concern and for good reason. While I share your optimism on the young recruits, the basis for my statement is that last year DB play was really bad, and our backups were Swenson and Howard — none of last year’s FR beyond Dixon got any tick on a terrible D. I agree that the young guys need time to improve and hopefully will, but there are zero proven commodities in the secondary beyond Durr. Therein lies the concern.
One thing that gives me hope is that we have been very active on the transfer market, clearly trying to fill holes for next year to bolster the roster. Yet I don't think we have been tied to any DBs in this process. To me, that says the coaches feel pretty good about the guys we have on the roster in the secondary and didn't see an obvious need to bring someone in the way they did at LB and along the DL.
 

btowngopher

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I certainly can’t (and didn’t) say anything with absolute certainly. But it is my biggest concern and for good reason. While I share your optimism on the young recruits, the basis for my statement is that last year DB play was really bad, and our backups were Swenson and Howard — none of last year’s FR beyond Dixon got any tick on a terrible D. I agree that the young guys need time to improve and hopefully will, but there are zero proven commodities in the secondary beyond Durr. Therein lies the concern.
I’m okay with Howden, Nubin, Durr, and Howard. This group should be at least serviceable now that Nubin and Howard got some good run. It seemed like Nubin improved quite a lot as the season went on. Who will be the nickel back is my concern.
 

Go U Phars

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Seems getting great quarterback play solves a lot of other issues. Morgan has to return to 2019 form. Linebacker corps is second biggest concern
 

John Galt

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The OP is so awful and incorrect in every way that it should never have been written.
 

EG#9

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Interesting takes in this thread. If you take this litearlly and only consider holes as replacing starters that have departed, then WR is easily number 1 on the list. I really like CAB, but him as the Bateman replacement is underwhelming for a team that I (hope) will separate itself in the West by having a more dynamic passing game than Wisconsin and Iowa. Finding a dynamic weapon to pair with CAB and replace Bateman is huge to me. Second on my list would be CB and who replaces St. Juste. We were ready to have Howard grad transfer last year and now we're pencilling him in as a starter? To make matters even dicier, there really isn't anyone behind either Durr or Howard as Smith has really struggled and everyone else is extremely young and inexperienced.

If we consider poor play and not just departures to be holes, then LB and Safety are right up there on this list. I am encouraged by the number of bodies we have to attempt to correct our LB play, but the S position seems almost as thin as CB. I do think between Howard, Nubin, and Dixon there is a lot of potential for solid play at S, but the results haven't been there yet.

On the Dline, I'd love to see another option at End. The pass rush seemed incredibly reliant on Mafe last year and the younger guys who flashed towards the end of the year seemed to be DT's. I kind of wish the Gophers found a transfer edge rusher to go with a DT on the line instead of taking two DT's.

This will open up a can of worms, but we're not winning the West without much better QB play. QB is a hole to me with the way Tanner played last year and we'll have to see how he looks with (hopefully) a full offseason to work with Sanford.
 

HoustonTXGopher

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Seems getting great quarterback play solves a lot of other issues. Morgan has to return to 2019 form. Linebacker corps is second biggest concern
We saw what happened in the Super Bowl to Mahomes with a makeshift offensive line. The 2020 Gophers had a makeshift O-line and Morgan paid the price. If at a minimum Dunlap is back and healthy he will add dominance to that group. If big Dan is also back, look out, Morgan will be better than 2019. I have very little concern with the offensive side of the ball.

My biggest concern is coaching and clock management.
 

hungan1

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Covid 2020 is an upside down year. We need to give it a pass and regroup. It exposed fundamental needs/defecits for the Gophers. ST cost two games the Gophers should have won.

The OL was not as robust when key players were out with injuries. Morgan wasn't his "normal" self when the protection broke down. The shining spot is Mo was durable.

We have to worry about the Defense with the emergence of replacement for the guys we lost to the NFL.

Time will tell with all the additions and the extra year in development. Hopefully, all the key players are back and healthy.

There are a lot of subplots to watch this coming season. Coaching stability is a blessing. The Gophers will surprise.

They are not perfect, but they have an "elite" plan.
 

WriterGoph

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Interesting takes in this thread. If you take this litearlly and only consider holes as replacing starters that have departed, then WR is easily number 1 on the list. I really like CAB, but him as the Bateman replacement is underwhelming for a team that I (hope) will separate itself in the West by having a more dynamic passing game than Wisconsin and Iowa. Finding a dynamic weapon to pair with CAB and replace Bateman is huge to me. Second on my list would be CB and who replaces St. Juste. We were ready to have Howard grad transfer last year and now we're pencilling him in as a starter? To make matters even dicier, there really isn't anyone behind either Durr or Howard as Smith has really struggled and everyone else is extremely young and inexperienced.

If we consider poor play and not just departures to be holes, then LB and Safety are right up there on this list. I am encouraged by the number of bodies we have to attempt to correct our LB play, but the S position seems almost as thin as CB. I do think between Howard, Nubin, and Dixon there is a lot of potential for solid play at S, but the results haven't been there yet.

On the Dline, I'd love to see another option at End. The pass rush seemed incredibly reliant on Mafe last year and the younger guys who flashed towards the end of the year seemed to be DT's. I kind of wish the Gophers found a transfer edge rusher to go with a DT on the line instead of taking two DT's.

This will open up a can of worms, but we're not winning the West without much better QB play. QB is a hole to me with the way Tanner played last year and we'll have to see how he looks with (hopefully) a full offseason to work with Sanford.
A lot of your concerns depend on how much you think a lack of spring ball, normal off-season workouts and fall camp really impacted our team. If one trusts what we can do with our "normal" program, then one expects big improvement in a lot of young players. But if one thinks that 2020 was an exposure of lack of talent or bad coaching, then there definitely are a lot more concerns.

Glass half full or glass half empty?
 

MplsGopher

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Interesting takes in this thread. If you take this litearlly and only consider holes as replacing starters that have departed, then WR is easily number 1 on the list. I really like CAB, but him as the Bateman replacement is underwhelming for a team that I (hope) will separate itself in the West by having a more dynamic passing game than Wisconsin and Iowa.
Nothing at all wrong with this point.

But what I will say is: hasn't that essentially been what Purdue has tried to do? Arguably two of the best WR in the conference last season. But it hasn't worked out for them.

On the Dline, I'd love to see another option at End. The pass rush seemed incredibly reliant on Mafe last year and the younger guys who flashed towards the end of the year seemed to be DT's. I kind of wish the Gophers found a transfer edge rusher to go with a DT on the line instead of taking two DT's.
Agree. There was that guy from Georgia that folks were talking about on here for a minue, but not sure if he ever seriously considered us.

This will open up a can of worms, but we're not winning the West without much better QB play. QB is a hole to me with the way Tanner played last year and we'll have to see how he looks with (hopefully) a full offseason to work with Sanford.
I put it on Sanford. And I just hope there is some how and way that either he gets much better than he was last year, or the year before at Utah State, or before that at W Kentucky, and/or Fleck, Simon, and/or Callahan take over more of the game planning and calling, if needed to save the season.
 

60's Guy

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It is entirely possible Fleck already is the predominant play caller. He has a strong time of possession philosophy. Those ultra conservative fourth quarters are not the OC’s idea.
 
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