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Athlon's Big Ten and Minnesota Preview

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Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

In their Big Ten preview they predict a 6-6 finish for the Gophers, 2-6 in the Big Ten again. But we do finish ahead of 1-7 Iowa!

When it comes to the team profile here are a few selected clips.

Offense

The offensive line is deep and feisty, and Donnell Kirkwood (926 yards) and Rodrick Williams (261) give the Gophers two solid if unspectacular tailbacks. But no returning Gopher receiver caught 20 passes last year, and the wideouts as a unit have four touchdowns among them. Nelson may be a passing savant and an elusive scrambler, as the Gophers believe, but he needs to find a go-to target right away.

Defense

By moving Derrick Wells from cornerback to safety, the Gophers turned an overmatched defense into a competitive one. This year's plan: Take another step forward - by moving Wells from safety back to corner.

These are both pretty quick reads and are enough to at least get a little excited about the season. Their final analysis points out Kill's previous successes in year three. Personally I think that the big jump will come in 2014, but another baby-step this year.