Well, by golly, we did end up losing exactly seven guys off the D.

Veritas

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Who could have forseen that? Or, more exactly to our case, who could not have seen that happening?😏
 

John Galt

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We've lost more than 7 guys: Devers, Coughlin, Winston, Renner, Martin, Barber, Winfield, CJ Smith, Roane, and possibly more. That's at least 9.
 

PitinoFan

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Other than replacing Winfield, I’m not too concerned about it. I’d be more concerned if we were losing Durr and/or St. Juste. The linebackers and DL we’re losing are replaceable with the returning roster. Williamson was an important contributor, but I’m confident they’ll figure that spot out.
 

btowngopher

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Other than replacing Winfield, I’m not too concerned about it. I’d be more concerned if we were losing Durr and/or St. Juste. The linebackers and DL we’re losing are replaceable with the returning roster. Williamson was an important contributor, but I’m confident they’ll figure that spot out.
Im excited to see the front 7. I like our depth there. I’m excited to see what Mafe and Otomewo can do. I expect zero drop off at linebacker.
 

Spoofin

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Im excited to see the front 7. I like our depth there. I’m excited to see what Mafe and Otomewo can do. I expect zero drop off at linebacker.
Seriously? Kamal was very good this year and will get a run at the next level. Barber has been a 3-year starter.
 

Spoofin

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Other than replacing Winfield, I’m not too concerned about it. I’d be more concerned if we were losing Durr and/or St. Juste. The linebackers and DL we’re losing are replaceable with the returning roster. Williamson was an important contributor, but I’m confident they’ll figure that spot out.
I have trouble seeing how losing Coughlin, Martin, Barber, or Renner is less concerning than losing St Juste would have been.
 

hungan1

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The Gophers will zig-zag their way up Fleck's chart. There will be valleys up the chart. There may be a little drop-off at the beginning of the season, but things will improve for the Defense as the season progresses.
 

#2Gopher

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We're going to lose good players every year along with many other college football teams. Not much we can do about it. I believe we will be fine. Winfield will be tough to replace, but it's next man up.
 

btowngopher

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Seriously? Kamal was very good this year and will get a run at the next level. Barber has been a 3-year starter.
He missed 5 games and was banged up in others. Both Martin and Barber finished with 66 total tackles. Oliver led all LBs with 3 sacks and Sori Marin had 42 tackles. I don't think the shoes left by Barber and Martin are that big to fill. Plus throw in Rush, Aune, Willis, and Gordon and I think we'll like how things turn out.
 

Spoofin

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He missed 5 games and was banged up in others. Both Martin and Barber finished with 66 total tackles. Oliver led all LBs with 3 sacks and Sori Marin had 42 tackles. I don't think the shoes left by Barber and Martin are that big to fill. Plus throw in Rush, Aune, Willis, and Gordon and I think we'll like how things turn out.
I’m glad you have such confidence in SM and Oli. When KM played this year he was as good as anyone on our D. NFL LBs are not so easy to replace. Fingers crossed for me.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Some of that you can adjust for with schemes. If LB X does not drop back in coverage well, then don't ask him to drop back in coverage. If LB Y is a good blitzer, then have him blitz more often.

if you have good athletes, and they're willing to adapt to coaching, there should not be a huge drop-off from year to year. Even with losing Winfield, I maintain there are adjustments you can make to minimize the impact -as long as the coaches don't get stubborn and try to shove a square peg into a round hole.

The way teams make situational substitutions these days, you really don't have one starting lineup. you have a 1st down lineup, a 2nd-and-long lineup, a 2nd-and short lineup, etc. It's up to the coaches to put the players in the position where they have the best chance of success and the lowest chance of failure.
 

MNVCGUY

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Some of that you can adjust for with schemes. If LB X does not drop back in coverage well, then don't ask him to drop back in coverage. If LB Y is a good blitzer, then have him blitz more often.

if you have good athletes, and they're willing to adapt to coaching, there should not be a huge drop-off from year to year. Even with losing Winfield, I maintain there are adjustments you can make to minimize the impact -as long as the coaches don't get stubborn and try to shove a square peg into a round hole.

The way teams make situational substitutions these days, you really don't have one starting lineup. you have a 1st down lineup, a 2nd-and-long lineup, a 2nd-and short lineup, etc. It's up to the coaches to put the players in the position where they have the best chance of success and the lowest chance of failure.
Rossi seems very good at using the pieces at his disposal. Without a change in personnel he took a defense that was getting gashed over and over again and turned them into a solid unit overnight.

Obviously it is concerning when you graduate a lot of players and lose a big time talent like Winfield early. But there is a lot of experience returning and there will be a lot of upper classmen on defense next year. Good programs find a way to replace players each year, and with a lot of those players having been in Fleck's system for multiple years they should be ready to step in and contribute.

I could certainly be wrong but I don't expect the defense to take a big step back next year, even early in the season. And if some of the new faces starting along the D-Line can figure out how to generate a consistent pass rush the potential exists for the defense to get even better.

Coughlin, Martin, Barber, DeLattiboudiere, Renner, and Williamson were all solid experienced players, but none of them were all-world talents at their positions. Very different to try and replace players of that caliber then it is to replace a guy like Winfield.
 

Panthadad2

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It would be reasonable to expect the defense to take a step back. I mean, when's the last time the Gophers finished in the top 10 in the nation for total defense? That probably doesn't happen again. Hopefully a very experienced offense steps it up commensurately.
 

Section2

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I’m glad you have such confidence in SM and Oli. When KM played this year he was as good as anyone on our D. NFL LBs are not so easy to replace. Fingers crossed for me.
Kamal was just ok his sophomore and junior years. He was much improved this year for sure, but not healthy.
Barber was the opposite, pretty damn good as a soph and seemed to get worse over time, assuming injuries or something. I'm sure he was good at the unseen things, leading the defense, calls, etc. But in terms of play, pretty invisible.
Carter took a big step back this year, and we can be confident that was because of injuries. Still very good, but had he made noticeable improvement this year, should have been a force.
Renner was the best of the bunch this year, and was really disruptive and will be the biggest loss from the front 7.
Devers and Winston were serviceable but not standouts.
Boye is more explosive than Carter was this year IMO. And still young and growing.
Count me as excited to see Schad, who really flashed this year and could take a big step.
Sori Marin and Oliver both improved immensely by the end of the year. Oliver is really explosive. And the strength of our recent recruiting might be LB. Not at all worried at that position. Rush kind of disappeared but got the most praise from Fleck.

Bottom line, the guys we are worried about missing, are guys in general who either regressed this past year, or improved substantially from the previous year. No reason the guys behind them can't make a similar leap. And the guys who regressed have productivity that won't be hard to replace.
 

Bob_Loblaw

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I’m glad you have such confidence in SM and Oli. When KM played this year he was as good as anyone on our D. NFL LBs are not so easy to replace. Fingers crossed for me.
If KM was healthy and played all year, I would think our LBers would take a drastic step down. When healthy, he is really good.

However, the expected progression from a number of LBers in years 2/3 (Oliver, SMM, Rush, Aune, Gordon, Willis) might make up for what we got out of Barber and 1/2 Martin.

I do not think there will be a giant drop off from TB to SMM.
 

Bob_Loblaw

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We're going to lose good players every year along with many other college football teams. Not much we can do about it. I believe we will be fine. Winfield will be tough to replace, but it's next man up.
I'm not super concerned with losing good players, we can replace them. I am concerned with losing special players (Winfield). Those are pretty rare and as much confidence that I have in Nubin, I'd be foolish to think he is going to be as good as Winfield. I hope I'm wrong.

I also think our offense in 2021 will have a really difficult time replacing Bateman.
 

MNVCGUY

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I'm not super concerned with losing good players, we can replace them. I am concerned with losing special players (Winfield). Those are pretty rare and as much confidence that I have in Nubin, I'd be foolish to think he is going to be as good as Winfield. I hope I'm wrong.

I also think our offense in 2021 will have a really difficult time replacing Bateman.
Will be interesting to see who emerges to fill in for TJ. CAB is obvious first choice but there will be some pretty highly touted WR on the roster and WR is a position where players can make an immediate impact if they are good enough.

WR has become an exciting position to watch on our roster.
 

Spoofin

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Coughlin, Martin, Barber, DeLattiboudiere, Renner, and Williamson were all solid experienced players, but none of them were all-world talents at their positions. Very different to try and replace players of that caliber then it is to replace a guy like Winfield.
2 of the guys you listed are likely to be drafted to the NFL. I didn’t realize we were at the point we would yawn at losing those players.

SMM looked incredibly lost and slow to start the year. Better by the end for sure. Still a ways to go and no guarantee.

Oliver is really explosive, but has basically been a Blitz type guy thus far. They did put him coverage vs Auburn and he got burned for 6. High ceiling with this guy (I’m higher in him than SMM), but no guarantee either.

Now I’m reading posts that losing CC45 is not a major concern either. Huh?

I will just have to disagree with the whole premise of this discussion.
 

MNVCGUY

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2 of the guys you listed are likely to be drafted to the NFL. I didn’t realize we were at the point we would yawn at losing those players.

SMM looked incredibly lost and slow to start the year. Better by the end for sure. Still a ways to go and no guarantee.

Oliver is really explosive, but has basically been a Blitz type guy thus far. They did put him coverage vs Auburn and he got burned for 6. High ceiling with this guy (I’m higher in him than SMM), but no guarantee either.

Now I’m reading posts that losing CC45 is not a major concern either. Huh?

I will just have to disagree with the whole premise of this discussion.
CC didn't have the same impact this pass year as he has in the past. Probably due to playing hurt for a good portion of the year. Similar could be said for Martin. Both are very solid players, both will get a shot in the NFL, neither was a superstar that can't be replaced.

Never easy to replace good players but we have a lot of experienced players in the pipeline and hopefully next year is where we start to see the defensive recruiting pay dividends the way it has on offense.
 

hungan1

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Sad that Fleck lets kids graduate or go pro early. Bad coaching philosophy, IMO
Or good for the program and recruiting when prospects see how many players are getting drafted. They see a coach look after his players'best interest and help them make an informed decision. IMHO, it is good for Winfield to leave early and not risk injury playing an extra year.

Let's start seeing multiple players landing in the NFL.
 

Plato

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None of the players leaving have been drafted yet.
And the future is in the future. Not one person on this board can predict it.
All the other chatter is just chatter. Come fall and the conference games it all will become clear.
 

50PoundHead

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In terms of raw athleticism, I think we'll be fine next year, but what impressed me most about the defense since Rossi took over is that the unit became much more assignment-sure and that is a combination of coaching and experience. When you take this much experience out of a unit, there's bound to be a question mark as to how they will perform. I'm optimistic, but there will likely be a hiccup or two along the way.
 
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