It seems like it was just last year that the Gopher Spring Game got moved because of weird weather. They had to move the game from Saturday to Thursday night because of an incoming blizzard that ruined the weekend of many people. And now...here we are again. This year’s spring game has been moved indoors to the practice facility and there isn’t enough room in there for the general public or season ticket holders, so we get to watch on BTN Plus or listen on KFAN. But enough about fates worse than listening to Beez drone on and on about that one good skill position that wisconsin has. Let’s talk about a fun team (Yes, the Gophers!) and what I’m hoping to see/hear/read about later from Saturday’s spring game.
1) QB play that isn’t terrible.
So last year the Gophers had OK but not great passing numbers from a pair of freshmen in Zack Annexstad and Tanner Morgan and some wildcat from Seth Green, including 8 YPA, 20 passing TDs (for the first time since 2010), and over 300 yards and 9 TD on the ground. I doubt that we’ll get a started named by Fleck before the fall so just hope that nobody craps the bed and gives it to the other guy. While I assume that they’ll be protected a bit with the playcalling, hopefully we’ll see some decent QB play and not a repeat of Billy Cockerham’s infamous performance that earned him the nickname “The 0-fer Gopher.”
2) RBs that don’t have exploding legs.
Last year we got some great effort from Mo Ibrahim, but he didn’t show the athletic explosiveness of Shannon Brooks or the consistency of Rodney Smith. While both are hopefully on schedule to return for the fall, there were only 3 healthy RBs earlier in the week (Ibrahim, Bryce Williams, and Preston Jelen). All I want to see from the position this weekend is everyone walking off the field when it’s done.
3) OL growth continuing
The OL finished the year really strongly last year, mauling the everloving hell out of wisconsin and Georgia Tech. Everyone except LT Donnell Greene (who skipped the Quick Lane Bowl) returns, including my favorite gigantic Australian Daniel Faalele and local product Blaise Andries. The only question right now is who fills in where as depth players and if Sam Schlueter or Jason Dickson gets the nod at LT. I’d also like to see the fat kids get do some work.
4) Defense not being crap
So last year’s defense was record-breaking at times. Nebraska and Illinois (ILLINOIS!!!) put up 2 of the top 5 total yards in a single game against the Gophers in program history. So we fired our DC and replaced him with Joe Rossi and suddenly things looked much better. Teams stopped being able to run for as much as they’d like, stopping only because the rules of football say you can only go 100 yards at a time, confusing our LBs by having the audacity to move before the snap, and other things that made me utter profanity under my breath. If we can show the potential to continue the trajectory we had over the last 4 games, I’ll be rather happy. (Added bonus: I’d really like to see Antoine Winfield Jr. walking around the sidelines and looking healthy, but please keep all turtles away from him. Just to be safe.)
5) A kicker
Emmit Carpenter is gone. And so are his 3 years as our kicker. I just want to see somebody make a kick. No stupid misses, guys.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Hopefully your spring game goes better than mine, and if you see me at the Loons opener at the new Allianz Field on Saturday afternoon hopefully it won’t be for doing anything stupid.
Which Football that I watch tomorrow will be the best?
This poll is closed
West Coast Eagles vs. Freemantle (Aussie Rules, 5:10 AM God’s Time Zone)
Manchester United vs. West Ham (Soccer, 11:30 AM GTZ)
Minnesota United vs. NYCFC (Crap Soccer AKA MLS, 4:00 GTZ)
Minnesota Spring Game (Actual Football, whenever I get around to watching it on my DVR)