Actual football was played today at TCF Bank Stadium and I couldn't be happier about it. Sure, it's a Spring Game. Sure, it doesn't mean a heck of a lot. But when you've been without Minnesota Football on TV since the bowl game, it's something worth being excited about. Coach Claeys and his staff made the decision to split the Gold and White teams up fairly evenly, which made it difficult to make any broad conclusions about full units. However, there were certainly some individual performances that stood out. Below are my quick reactions to what I saw during the Spring Game. If you'd like to see the full stats for the day, go here.
- The backup QB's need to keep working. Mitch Leidner is your unquestioned starter. This was true anyway, but today's performances by Seth Green and Demry Croft should make clear that Mitch is going to be a step above his backups going into the fall. Neither QB stood out above the other. Not a huge concern, but if you were hoping for one of the backups to set the world on fire you certainly didn't see that.
- The talent at running back tho. Seriously, you have to love the players Minnesota has lining up in the backfield. Rodney Smith played well and Shannon Brooks had his moments but the standout RB of the day was definitely James Johannesson. JJ took advantage of some nice holes on the right side opened up by the Gold offensive line and racked up 130 yards on 22 carries (5.9 ypc). If the full offensive line can gel like the Gold line did, Gopher fans should be pretty happy with the team's running game this season.
- Seriously, the Gold offensive line looked really good today. Especially Vincent Calhoun and Jonah Pirsig who combined to open some really nice holes throughout the game. In total, the Gold line helped JJ and Rodney Smith rush for a combined 184 yards on the day.
- Receivers still have some drop issues. ALL OF THE DROPS. Sure, small sample size is small but the Minnesota passing game will struggle if these issues aren't ironed out.
- Jaylen Waters stood out. The redshirt freshman linebacker had a huge day, including a big pick six off Seth Green that gave the White team it's only points of the game.
- Mitch, Tommy, and Maxx on the mike. I refused to let my enjoyment of the game get LaPanta'd, so I muted BTN and turned on the KFAN stream. While I don't think any of this trio of Gophers has an immediate future in sports broadcasting, their off the cuff storytime moments were fun to listen too. Hats off to Mike Grimm for letting them go while still making sure to make it possible to understand what was happening in the game.
- THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE LEARNED TODAY.
Heart you Woz.