The Minnesota defense had some growing pains in 2020, but still excelled defending the deep ball.


Plato

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Making assumption for good or for ill based on the 2020 season is a BIG mistake.
 


MplsGopher

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Would be interesting to know the number of attempts, that those percentages are calculated on.
 



A_Slab_of_Bacon

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That's frankly really surprising given all the big plays and poor safety play of last season. I guess many of those were shorter throws and longer runs?
Yeah it kinda breaks my perceptions too.

But you know that's not surprising, it was a weird year.
 

Gophers1992

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Yeah it kinda breaks my perceptions too.

But you know that's not surprising, it was a weird year.
Many of our opponents weren't great deep passing teams, other than maybe Purdue (again no data to back this up), and also I think most opponents realized they didn't really need to throw deep passes to score on us.
 

btowngopher

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Or maybe they were just good at that part of defense? Everyone looking to spin it 😂
 




tmvander

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The deep throw plays were probably designed to just throw the ball away. Offenses knew they just needed to make us look a different direction one play then just run it up the middle 5 more times in a row at 10 yards per play and a TD.
 


Gophergrandpa

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If the Gopher defense just returns to average in terms of sacks, TFL and takeaways, our offense will be a huge beneficiary. Successful teams have defenses that occasionally give their offense a short field. {My real fantasy: the Gophers occasionally start with a short field because of a good KO return.}
Some defensive stats I will be following in 2021 are leading tacklers and TFLs. Nubin and Howden were our no. 2 and 3 tacklers last year. Good for them, but not impressive for the team, as neither Nubin or Howden made a lot of Winfield-like tackles at the line of scrimmage. MSM was the leading tackler, but had almost no TFLs. Good laterally, but not so good at plugging (or finding) holes? There are, therefore, some very clear ways the defense can improve markedly, just by finding a way to be average. I'm sure the coaches are focused on it, and that is why we saw imported personnel on defense. I am fairly optimistic our defense goes from really ineffective last year to serviceable and average this year, which will win us a few games. Icing on the cake if the defense finds a way to become above average (with some interceptions and such).
 
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MplsGopher

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Many of our opponents weren't great deep passing teams, other than maybe Purdue (again no data to back this up), and also I think most opponents realized they didn't really need to throw deep passes to score on us.
Purdue should have won the game on that last second deep pass. I didn't see any issue with it frankly, from what I recall. But refs said it was against the rules. So it goes in the statistics books as the Gophers having successfully defended a deep pass attempt.
 






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