Gopher offensive lineman Caleb Bak announced Tuesday evening that he would not be returning to the Gopher football team for his redshirt senior season in the fall due to ongoing issues with concussions. Bak missed the last four games of last season including the Texas Bowl due to concussion related issues. According to Joe Christensen with the Star Tribune, Bak went through the first three spring practices before his concussion symptoms returned.
big thanks to everyone that has supported me over the last 4 years. Sad to say I won't be returning for my final year of football #GoGophers— Caleb Bak (@0xluc1d) May 27, 2014
Bak, a 6'3 302 pound right guard walked-on to the Gopher program in the fall of 2010 from Concordia Academy in Roseville, MN. Bak redshirted the 2010 season. In the fall of 2011 he played in five games and started last four for the Gophers as a redshirt freshman. He was part of an offensive line that that allowed Gophers to pass for season-high 295 yards vs. Michigan State and rush for a season-high 269 yards against Northwestern.
In 2012 he played in all thirteen games and started the last eleven at right guard. Finally last season he started the first nine games at right guard before getting injured in the Gophers come from behind win at Indiana.
As for what that means for the Gophers starting offensive line, where Bak was originally penciled in at right guard, it will be a mix and match in the middle of the line early in fall practice. Gopher Offensive Coordinator Matt Limegrover has a sure thing in left tackle redshirt sophomore Ben Lauer, and a probable starter at right tackle in redshirt junior Josh Campion, but redshirt sophomore Jonah Pirsig is nipping at his heels. In fact, Campion practiced some at right guard in the spring with Pirsig at right tackle. Redshirt Senior Zac Epping is the likely starter at left guard, and center is most likely senior Tommy Olson's spot to lose. Redshirt junior Jon Christenson started the season at center, but suffered a severe leg injury in the win over Indiana and missed the rest of the season. Christenson also played some left guard as well and could compete with redshirt junior Foster Bush for playing time at the right guard spot. Toss in redshirt junior Issac Hayes, the hopeful appearance of redshirt junior Brian Bobek and redshirt senior Marek Lenkiewicz and the one thing that can be said about the Gopher offensive line is that depth should not be a problem. The loss of Bak will be noticeable for the Gophers, but they do seem to have the personnel to make up for a loss of a player of his caliber, something that could not be said even two seasons ago.
So good luck to Caleb in the future with his non-football activities. I'm sure he will be cheering on the rest of his former teammates along with us this fall.